Heart in hands

Take care of yourself

Look after yourself, look after the NHS

Today in England, people are living longer, but often they are living in poorer health, with multiple long-term conditions.

The NHS has a critical role in treating illness and in keeping people well, but to help make the NHS sustainable for future generations, people need to be more proactive about prioritising their health and wellbeing to reduce their risk of developing lifestyle related health conditions.

The choices we make matter. Everyday habits and behaviours, such as eating too much unhealthy food, drinking more than is recommended, continuing to smoke and not being active enough, are responsible for around 40% of all deaths in England, and cost the NHS more than £11 billion a year.

Modern day life makes it hard for people to live healthily, with bigger portions for everything we eat, a desk-bound job or a long commute.

The good news is that prevention really is better than cure, and there is plenty we can all do to improve our health starting in childhood right through into adulthood.

Let’s take obesity for example. A third of children leaving primary school are overweight or obese. Public Health England is tackling obesity through a range of actions, including working with the food industry to cut 20% of sugar from the products children consume most by 2020.

But as individuals we can all play our part. Parents have a key role to play and the new Change4Life campaign encourages them to look for ‘100 calorie snacks, two a day max’ to help them purchase healthier snacks than the ones they currently buy.

It’s never too late to make healthy lifestyle changes no matter how old you are. Giving up smoking or cutting down on alcohol can have an enormous impact on your health and wellbeing. It can improve your sleep, boost your mood and leave you feeling energised.