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Our Health is Really Shaping Up Nicely

September 15, 2008

By KAREN McLAUCHLAN

DID you sign up for the Get A Better Life challenge?

If so, health experts at Teesside University want to hear how you’re getting on.

Almost 1,100 people signed up for the online challenge, which was launched by the Evening Gazette in conjunction with the university and Middlesbrough Primary Care Trust.

At the start of the year people pledged to change their diet – by decreasing their fat intake or increasing their fruit or vegetable intake – as well as increasing their activity levels.

Health experts at Teesside University are carrying out the pounds 500,000 research project, funded by the Food Standards Agency, to gain a detailed insight into the lifestyle of Teessiders.

The data collected will then be used to work on improving the long-term future of the region’s health.

People who signed up provided key data, which will reveal how our region is shaping up on the health front.

The survey needs to be completed after six and 12 months and with people now passing the half way mark in the challenge, it’s time for an update.

Mum-of-three Ann Willers of Marton is already half way to meeting her target of dropping two dress sizes.

The retired primary school teacher said: “My weight continues to drop and my dress size has gone one size down. I am certainly eating far more fruit and veg, mostly fruit, and most weeks I get to the gym at least twice but mostly three times.”

Mum-of-two Kay Coleman of Ingleby Barwick pledged to do more exercise to improve her asthma.

Today the senior administrator said: “I have stuck to my pledge and I’m feeling a lot better.

“I have been exercising more and eating better and now my asthma has stabilised so I will be continuing to keep up my pledge.”

Student Helen Costello of Linthorpe completed this year’s Race for Life and is now in training for the Middlesbrough Tees Pride 10k.

She said: “I naively thought I could carry on eating pretty much what I wanted as long as I kept up the running.

Nothing happened and the weight didn’t start dropping off as I’d hoped. So both him indoors and me have resolved to be stricter with ourselves and refocus the diet.”

Lynne Blackburn of Eston, who manages Middlesbrough’s Life Store, pledged to get fit by swimming and eating “five a day”.

She said: “I have started to exercise a lot more. I go swimming three times a week and have started pilates as well. I’m feeling much better and have lost about a stone.”

To complete the six-month questionnaire people need to: Log onto Get a Better Life website – www.getabetterlifecampaign.co.uk – using your email address, (username) and password.

Click on SNAPA Account icon in menu on the left of page.

Click on ‘Proceed to SNAPA tool’ to access and complete the questionnaire.

Everyone who completes the questionnaire after six and 12 months will be entered in the Get a Better Life grand prize draw.

Prizes including a signed Boro shirt, healthy eating hampers from Marks and Spencer and hair and beauty treatment vouchers.

I’m feeling much better and have lost about a stone – Lynne Blackburn, above

It’s not too late to join IT’S not too late to take part in Get A Better Life.

Recently the research team launched a new strand of the initiative in Middlesbrough – working with people face-to-face rather than online.

The community project has now been extended until the end of September with the team now looking for recruits in Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland as well as Middlesbrough.

People who decide to take part will have a consultation with a lifestyle expert, which will take about 45 minutes.

They will get the option of having their weight, height and waist circumference measurements recorded. They will then complete the questionnaire which will be repeated over the telephone within a week of the first consultation.

Consultations take place at locations including the Life Store in Middlesbrough, the university or in people’s homes.

Volunteers also repeat the process at six and 12 months.

If you are interested in taking part in this new Get A Better Life initiative, contact the Get a Better Life Team at: University of Teesside, Parkside West Offices, 2.12, Middlesbrough, TS1 3BA, email enquiries@ getabetterlifecampaign.co.uk or call 01642 384143.

Follow Helen and Ann’s progress at http:// betterlifeblog.gazettelive.co.uk/

(c) 2008 Evening Gazette – Middlesbrough. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.




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