Local pharmacies to offer advice on maintaining a healthy weight

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Friday, August 9th, 2019

With nearly two-thirds of adults being overweight or obese, over the coming months more than 500 community pharmacies across Northern Ireland will be encouraging people to think about their weight and raising awareness of healthy eating and physical activity to help improve health.

This is part of the new Living Well service which offers advice to pharmacy visitors on public health issues.

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There are two elements to Living Well. Firstly, opportunistic interventions to help reduce key risk factors which cause illness. Issues covered will include high blood pressure, tobacco use, harmful misuse of alcohol, unhealthy diets, sexual health and substance misuse.

Secondly, there will be targeted campaigns within pharmacies over the coming year. ‘Choose to Live Better’ is the second of five public health campaigns in 2019/2020 and will run throughout August and September.



The Northern Ireland Health Survey shows the proportion of overweight and obese adults was 64% in 2017/18 (27% obese; 37% overweight).

Caroline Bloomfield, the PHA’s Lead on Obesity Prevention, said, “In recent years the prevalence of overweight and obesity has gradually risen and it is now the norm, rather than the exception, to be overweight in Northern Ireland.

“It is estimated that around one in ten of us visit community pharmacies every day. We want to increase patient and public knowledge and understanding of the importance of a healthy weight, heighten awareness of the health impacts of being overweight or obese, and highlight how making small changes every day, like eating healthier meals and moving more, can make a big difference.



She added, “Delivering these messages through pharmacies is a great way of reaching people.”

Joe Brogan, Assistant Director of Integrated Care and Head of Pharmacy and Medicines Management at the HSCB, said, “It is recognised that community pharmacies are well placed to provide a focal point for the provision of health advice, information and services to help people live longer, healthier lives.

“Community pharmacies are often open when other healthcare providers are unavailable and they offer convenient access to a trained healthcare professional without an appointment. Studies show that people interact with community pharmacists at an average of 12 to 15 times a year, often using the same pharmacy each time,” he added.

For further information visit www.choosetolivebetter.com



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