More than 80% of people are either drinking too much, are inactive or overweight

By Sam Acourt in Health

MORE than 80 per cent of middle aged people are either drinking too much, are inactive, or overweight according to Public Health England.

People in Devon smoked less than the average across England, were more physically active and were slightly less likely to be overweight, but the survey showed that only 60.7 per cent of adults were physically active, 63.8 per cent were overweight or obese and 12.2 per cent smoked.

When it comes to alcohol, South West residents had the lowest number of non-drinkers - 12 per cent - with 64 per cent drinking up to 14 units a week, a low risk amount, 21 per cent drinking between 14 and 50 units, an amount with increasing risk, with three pre cent drinking more than 50 units a week, a higher risk amount.

The survey showed that across the country, 83 per cent of adults between the ages of 40 and 60 are either drinking too much, are inactive or are overweight or obese. With a 16 per cent increase in the number of obese or overweight adults in the last 20 years.

Public Health England is urging adults in the South West to take action about their health, citing figures which show they are taking many unnecessary risks.

Kingsbridge Town Councillor Sandy Gilberts said: ‘The figures are depressing, especially in light of the fact that there has never before been in history so much advice disseminated through newspapers, TV, the radio and social media. This is all well and good read from the comfort of a sofa.

‘I have worked for many years in the fitness industry with the very special remit of engaging with clients referred by their GP, physio, or nurse. The aim is to give encouragement, guidance and motivation in undertaking exercise that is safe and enjoyable for each individual.

‘Many different conditions of health present, but, unsurprisingly as the figures relate, many are overweight or diabetic, or both.

‘GPs and our hard working nurses don’t always have time to spend talking to the client in depth about exercise specifically, so at Quayside Leisure Centre, Kingsbridge, we invite each individual referred to come and have a private chat about how to improve their own health and quality of life.

‘I have met so many lovely people over the years. It is a privilege to listen to personal goals and to play a small part in helping them to "get going".

‘It is tough if you have had a hard working life, raised a family and had little time to think about yourself, yet research shows that life expectancy is reduced by nine years through obesity. To be seriously overweight is like lugging two heavy suitcases around all the time, putting strain on the knees and the heart.

‘If you haven’t had experience of using a fitness suite or knowledge of what would be safe exercise to undertake, the mountain is too hard to climb. Personal health inevitably becomes worse. Statistically, the biggest health risk to your heart is not smoking, not stress, not cholesterol, not even overweight, it is INACTIVITY.

‘The message is “more active, more often” and help is out there locally.

‘To summarise, if you want help addressing any of these matters talk to your local surgery at Norton Brook Kingsbridge, Chillington, Modbury or Salcombe and ask about the "Exercise on Recommendation" scheme. It is not free, there is a small price to pay, and is partly supported by SHDC, but what price your health?

‘Asking will cost you nothing. You can call me at the leisure centre on 01548 857100 or your doctor.’

PHE is particularly encouraging those aged 40-60 to take its One You campaign’s How Are You quiz, which will give a live assessment of their current health and wellbeing.

The How Are You quiz, takes lifestyle information, gives a health score and then links to free localised information and tools for making positive improvements. You can find it here:

The online quiz was introduced last year to replace the NHS health check programme, offered by invitation through GP practices for people aged between 40 and 74.

Devon County Council suspended the programme, blaming the cut on a poor public health funding settlement from the government, stating they had to find £2.5 million of savings form the department’s budget.

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