It’s Spring and sunny – we have no doubt that we Brits will have been out and about making the most of the beautiful weather over the long weekend.
With warm weather comes a change of wardrobe, excited children and flocks of people descending on our nation’s parks and beaches. Alternatively, it brings anxiety and panic that summer is round the corner and you might not be in your best shape for that strappy top or for a game of shirts versus skins footie.
With our minds turning to weight and shape, let’s take a look at this month’s top stories where obesity and children’s health feature in third and fourth spot in the UK’s health news.
Over the past month we have seen an increase in the number of stories concerning the level of obesity in children, the focus less on the number of children but more on their escalating weight. The National Child Measurement Programme recently identified a 10 year old primary school pupil who weighed almost 20 stone (~127 kilograms) – eight stone (over 50 kilograms) heavier than the top healthy percentile for an average adult male.
For many years, the topic of obesity has surrounded diet, most recently with the harmful levels of sugar and fat in school meals, cereals, fast food, ready meals and fizzy drinks, which is reflected by nutrition making a re-entry into the Top 20 in seventh place. Although it’s important that we reduce intake of these types of foods, we need to concentrate on the key element – BALANCE – eating a healthy nutritional diet and taking part in daily physical activity. We talk about our current times being the ‘golden age of discovery’ for medicines, but perhaps we need to go back to basics when it comes to our weight…or do we?
It’s apparent that unhealthy behaviours have become engrained in peoples’ lives so it’s important that we seek to change these. At Aurora, we use a stages of change model derived from Prochaska and DiClemente’s Transtheoretical Model in our health behaviour change campaigns, where we:
• INITIATE − Provoke change through awareness messages utilising media with which the audience is already engaged. For example via social networks, radio, TV and web (PR, advertising and direct marketing)
• INFORM − Drive reassessment of their situation to recognise whether change is required though informative materials at trusted destinations, including pharma-owned websites
• PREPARE − Help them prepare for change, for example by providing diet and exercise information via websites, assessment tools and calculators
• ACT – Provide knowledge, tools and support that enable people to make the appropriate therapeutic and lifestyle changes for example websites, SMS, apps and programmes
• MAINTAIN − Wrap this up with support systems to help maintain the change including websites, social media, quantified self apps and customer relationship management, aka CRM
• ADVOCATE − Allowing people to put the cherry on the cake by sharing their positive stories and advocating the benefits they’ve experienced through social media, campaigning tools for example Facebook and donation pages
If you are interested to hear Aurora’s thoughts on changing behaviours, please do not hesitate to give us a call.
On a final note, with all the talk about whether we should eat 5, 7 or 10 fruits and vegetables a day or whether we should ban adverts that promote fast food or fizzy drinks, just think ladies, what would we do without our diet coke man fix! We certainly wouldn’t want that to happen in the Aurora office.
So on the discussion of health and happiness, hopefully you all ventured out into the parks, seasides and gardens, turned off those computer games, increased your vitamin D level and importantly had family and friend time and celebrated the sunny weather as only Brits can!
Welcome back everyone!