31 Dec 2020

As this most challenging of years comes to an end, get your New Year off to a healthier start by making some small changes to your lifestyle which can have a big difference to your health and wellbeing.

Dr Mike Ejunoeatse, local GP and Medical Director for NHS St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We recognise that people have been impacted differently by the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions, so it is important to ask for help if you need it. It has also understandably been hard to stay motivated and to stick to healthy routines.

“People have been staying at home so much more of course, but it’s important to continue to get outdoors for fresh air and exercise. Making the most of the daylight hours can also boost your Vitamin D levels, but you might also consider taking supplements during the winter – they are widely available from supermarkets and pharmacies.”

Vitamin D helps to control the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies – needed for healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. It can be found naturally in oily fish, red meat, liver and egg yolks, plus fortified foods like breakfast cereals and fat spreads.

Public Health England says that adults and children over the age of one should have 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D every day. It is difficult to get this much vitamin D from food alone – roughly one in five people has low vitamin D levels[1].

Taking a vitamin D supplement and eating healthily, combined with getting active and getting enough sleep can all help to improve your health – both physically and mentally.

According to Public Health England[2], a quarter of Covid-19 patients who died in England had diabetes, and people who are obese or who smoke have a much higher risk of being seriously ill with the virus; needing treatment to manage their symptoms. Nearly 2 in 3 adults in the UK are overweight or living with obesity, but there is lots of support available to help get more active and improve your diet.

Cllr Anthony Burns, St Helens Borough Council’s cabinet member for public health, leisure, libraries and heritage, said: “As you ring in the New Year, reflect on what 2020 has shown you is important, like your health and staying connected to those you love. A healthier lifestyle can also help with mental health self-esteem and anxiety.

“Another benefit of improving your fitness levels and eating healthily is that this can reduce your chances of becoming seriously unwell with Covid-19. We’re still fighting to beat this virus, so there’s no better time to make these changes.”

The following resources and services can help you get started:

 

[1] https://www.nhs.uk/news/food-and-diet/the-new-guidelines-on-vitamin-d-what-you-need-to-know/

[2] https://www.sthelensccg.nhs.uk/news-and-events/st-helens-ccg-supports-better-health-campaign/