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(From August 2013) Slimmers Niamh O’Neill-Munro and Hayley Russell have lots of reasons to celebrate after losing over 3 stone between them.

As well as looking great and feeling fitter, Niamh 18 and Hayley 17 have been named Young Slimmers of the Year 2013 at the Hoo St Werburgh Slimming World group in Hoo. Now their win could see them reach the national finals of the competition, where they will be in with the chance of winning £2,000.

The competition celebrates Slimming World’s bright young things, recognising 16-21 year olds who’ve transformed their lives by adopting healthier eating habits and getting active. Obesity is a huge problem for the younger generation and research shows that overweight teenagers are likely to continue to struggle with their weight as adults and develop weight-related conditions including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol*. So Niamh and Hayley’s weight loss and healthy lifestyle isn’t just great for their health now but for their future wellbeing too.

Life was very different for Niamh and Hayley just a few months ago. They were unhappy with their size, their self-confidence had taken a knock and sometimes they felt like the odd one out with their friends. But Niamh and Hayley joined their local Slimming World group at the Jubilee Hall in Hoo, which is run by Ash O’Neill, and began their transformation.

Hayley says: “I started going to group with my Mum 8 weeks ago and I was really nervous the first time I went, I felt a bit embarrassed and I thought everyone would judge me for being overweight at such a young age. But I couldn’t have been more wrong, everyone was really friendly and kind. I settled in quickly and I’ve made lots of friends – of all ages. I love going to group and seeing everyone each week now and I’m nearly a stone lighter too!”

Niamh and Hayley began following Slimming World’s Food Optimising healthy eating plan, which encourages slimmers to fill up on healthy foods and make small changes to the way they shop, cook and eat that make a big difference to their waistline, like swapping white bread for wholemeal or fast food burgers for homemade. They say: “The eating plan was completely different from what we’d expected. We thought losing weight meant not eating very much or cutting out your favourite foods. Talking to other members in group and sharing ideas, we’ve learned a lot about food and can cook lots of recipes ourselves now. Being hungry isn’t a worry and we can still enjoy favourite meals like burger and chips or Sunday roast, just cooked more healthily.”

Niamh who starts university in September has blossomed since dropping from 12 stone 5lb to 10 stone and she no longer feels like ‘the odd one out’. She says: “I love being able to wear the same clothes as my friends having dropped from a size 16 to a size 10 and enjoy going out with them more now I’ve lost weight. I’ve got so much more energy, I walk everywhere and am looking forward to doing lots of swimming on holidays this summer. I used to feel self-conscious about doing anything physical like that in public but I don’t anymore – I’m too busy having fun!”

Ash O’Neill who runs the group, says: “Everyone in the Hoo St Werburgh group is so proud of Niamh and Hayley. They’re a huge inspiration. They’ve learned healthy habits that will stay with them for life so worrying about their weight is definitely a thing of the past. Obesity in young people is such a huge problem and it affects how they feel about themselves as well as their physical health. Now Niamh and Hayley have the skills to make healthier choices and are much more confident too. I hope they’ll inspire other young people in the area by showing them that there’s no better time to take control of their weight than right now.”

Everyone from the age of 11 upwards is welcome at the Hoo St Werburgh Slimming World group at the Jubilee Hall, Pottery Rd every Thursday at 5.30pm and 7.30pm and young people aged 11-15 can attend for free when they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian and have the approval of their GP. It’s a great way for the whole family to feel healthier. For more information visit www.slimmingworld.com or call Ash O’Neill on 01634 250170 07733 264751.

main copy.qxdWith Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s time to think about your heart.

NHS Medway Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging people to consider their lifestyles during February’s Healthy Heart Month. Making simple changes to diet and exercise can reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease. In Medway there are 7,500 people diagnosed with the disease, but it’s thought to affect many more.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is usually caused by a build-up of fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries that surround the heart. This can make coronary arteries narrower and restrict the flow of blood to the heart which increases the risk of heart attack. People are at higher risk if they:

• Smoke
• Have high blood pressure (hypertension)
• Have a high blood cholesterol level
• Do not take regular exercise
• Have diabetes

Other risk factors include being obese or overweight and having a family history of CHD. This risk is increased if someone has a male relative with CHD under the age of 55 or a female relative under the age of 65.

People from an African Caribbean background have a higher risk of high blood pressure than all other ethnic groups in the UK. Coronary heart disease rates are at their highest in South Asian communities.

The CCG’s clinical lead for long-term conditions, Dr Chris Markwick, said: “We’re urging everyone to think about their lifestyle and their heart in February.

“Are there things you can change to help you have a healthier heart? Can you quit smoking, lose weight, or be more active? How about trimming the fat from meat or grilling instead of frying? If so, there’s no better time to do it than now.”

Things you can do to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels include:

• Eating a balanced and healthy diet – and going easy on salt
• Avoiding eating too much food that contains saturated fat, such as cakes and biscuits, cream and hard cheese
• Being more physically active
• Keeping to a healthy weight
• Quitting smoking
• Reducing alcohol consumption and sticking to recommended guidelines
• Keeping blood pressure under control
• Cutting down on sugar – too much sugar in the diet can increase the chances of diabetes which will, in turn, increase the chances of developing CHD.

Healthy Heart Month runs from 1 to 28 February. For more information about heart disease, visit the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk or the British Heart Foundation website www.bhf.org.uk.

If you’re concerned about your heart, visit your GP.

All rights reserved by Gravesham Borough Council

All rights reserved by Gravesham Borough Council

NBC Ltd and NRG Gym who helped cover the cost of 5 new defibrillators for use in Gravesham were delighted to formally present the Defibrillators to Cllr Dhesi and David Hughes, Chief Executive from Gravesham Council . The total cost was £4,200 and following an appeal to local businesses Nick Sidhu of Nick Building Construction, NBC Air Conditioning and NBC Diamond Drilling in Northfleet offered to donate £2,000 and Shafiq Ahmed of NRG Gym, based at the former Gala Bingo Hall, Gravesend Town Centre donated £100. The Council covered the remaining £2,100 and are ensuring staff are trained in first aid and know how to use the defibrillator. Read More

Around 40,000 people across Medway are diagnosed with high blood pressure, and the NHS believes many more may not know they suffer.

NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) predicts there may be as many as 65,000 people in total with high blood pressure across the Medway towns and is urging people to get tested and ‘know their numbers’. Read More

28 People that completed a Healthy Weight programme in June 2013, lost a collective 60kg and shaved 97cm of their waists.

The Gr@nd’s Healthy Weight team have been supporting adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 28 or above on a 12 Week programme .Participants learned about nutrition and tried a variety of exercise taster sessions, which has helped them to make little changes to lead a healthier lifestyle. Read More

healthy foodWould you like tips on making family meal times healthier? If you are a parent or carer with children aged 2-4 there are free advice sessions taking place near you from September.

The MEND 2-4 Programme, run by Medway Council’s Public Health Team offers a great chance for local families to learn about healthy lifestyle choices in a fun and creative way.

The course involves children and a parent or carer taking part in a 90-minute session, once a week for 10 weeks. Each session deals with issues that many parents face from fussy eating to temper tantrums.

There is also advice on reading food labels and encouraging children to try new fruit and vegetables, all of which builds a foundation for lifelong healthy living habits. Read More

John Getley with wife Katrina Getley and granddaughter Olivia aged 13Local man John Getley who has recently recovered from a stroke is encouraging other stoke survivors to attend a new support group which meets for the first time in Medway in September. More

Calling all families who want to get healthier and more active – healthy lifestyle course MEND starts again this September – sign up today.

As part of National Child Obesity Week (1-7 July), the Public Health Team is encouraging families to join the free MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition… Do it) course. The 10-week course takes place at various venues around Medway and supports children aged between five and 13, who are above a healthy weight, and their families to become fitter and healthier. More

A free Pregnancy Information evening will be held at All Saints Sure Start Children’s Centre, Chatham on Thursday, 16 May.

The event is for women in all stages of pregnancy, as well as their partners and family. Anyone who would like advice and information can attend any time between 6pm and 8pm.
There will be information from midwives and health visitors as well as organisations including Breastfeeding Peer Supporters and NCT. There will also be advice about healthy eating in pregnancy, cloth nappies and slings, osteopathy for mother and baby, hypnobirthing, homeopathy, oral health and more.

Entry is free and there will be a chance to enter a free prize draw. Refreshments will also be available from the café.

For more information contact the Children’s Centre on 338833

Tai Chi Classes are now available at Cross Park Allhallows every Thursday at 2pm and also in Hoo at the Village Institute on Tuesdays at 11am. With a Qualified Tutor classes are suitable for people with arthritis, osteoporosis and other movement limiting conditions, but please discuss your circumstances with the instructor first so she can help you get the maximum benefit from the exercise 07734 258095.

sw2A super slimmer is proving to be a winner at the losing game after shedding 6 ½ stone and being named Strood Slimming World ‘Greatest Loser’, with the emphasis well and truly on Greatest! More

A super slimmer is proving to be a winner at the losing game after shedding 4st and simonbeforebeing named Hoo St Werburgh’s Slimming World ‘Greatest Loser’, with the emphasis well and truly on Greatest!

In June 2012, the 42year-old weighed 17st 2lb and his size was affecting every aspect of his daily life. Since joining his local Slimming World group in Hoo St Werburgh Simon Carter is 4st lighter. Not only has he won the best prize of all – a fitter, healthier, happier future altogether – he’s also won the 5.30pm group’s Greatest Loser 2013 prize for the member who’s lost the most weight – and all in just 8 months.

Simon says: “I feel like a new man since losing weight – in fact, I look so different that people I haven’t seen for a while say they don’t recognise me! I feel happier and healthier, I’ve got more energy and I’m much more confident now too. More

P1000652Two super-slimming couples from Hoo St Werburgh have discovered a new zest for life after winning a weight loss competition.

Carol and Tom Shave and Jill and Malcolm Smith’s success has transformed their lives and seen them crowned Hoo St Werburgh Slimming World Couples of the Year 2013.

The couples, decided to join the Hoo St Werburgh Slimming World group after realising that their weight was putting their health at risk.
They say, “We didn’t suddenly wake up with a weight problem, like most people our weight crept up gradually. I think it’s easy for couples to become comfortable with one another, and meals out and nights in with a takeaway or a bottle of wine take the toll on the waistline over time. But we realised that our size had reached a point where it was making us unhappy and we knew it would affect our health.” More

A Better Medway’s Healthy New Year campaign has received over 1500 health pledges since its launch in November, and there is now only a few days left for people to make a pledge for the chance to win an iPad 3.

During the last 10 weeks, residents have vowed to improve their health and well being in 2013 by making a health pledge. Pledges include giving up smoking, eating healthier foods, cooking more meals at home and getting more active. More

Romantic slimmers wanting to cook their way to their honey’s heart this Valentine’s Day can spoil the apple of their eye without spoiling their successful slimming campaign, says a Hoo St Werburgh weight loss expert.

Ash O’Neill who runs a Slimming World group in the Jubilee Hall on Pottery road in Hoo says it’s understandable when people are bananas about their partner that they want to celebrate Valentine’s Day in style and losing weight doesn’t have to mean missing out.

She says: “The calendar is full of dates that can distract slimmers from their weight loss dreams, but at Slimming World members share ideas to prepare for challenges like birthdays, parties and events like Valentine’s Day and when following our healthy eating plan no food is banned. So, at Slimming World having fun and losing weight at the same time really can be a piece of cake!” More

A free 12-week healthy lifestyle course will be launched in January for young people in Medway aged 13-17 years old, run by A Better Medway health improvement services.
Designed to help young people work towards a healthy weight, the ‘Fit Fix’ course will encourage healthy eating and physical activity to improve their health and well-being. The course will also give participants the chance to cook healthier versions of their favourites.
The young people that take part will receive one-to-one support for up to one year, as well as gaining a Level 1 Award in Personal Well-being.
Dr Alison Barnett, Director of Public Health said: “This initiative gives us an opportunity to work with the teenage population in Medway, educating them in sustainable healthy behaviour.
“With this 12-week course we hope to provide them with the skills, knowledge and tools needed to make healthier choices around healthy eating and physical activity.”
To request an application form phone 01634 333101, email
or visit website

A new winter campaign run by A Better Medway health improvement services is giving Medway residents the chance to win an iPad, simply by setting a health pledge for the New Year. More

The NHS in Medway is supporting Self Care Week (Monday, 12 to Sunday, 18 November), which encourages people to take greater control of their own health and well-being.
Self care refers to the types of things people can do themselves, with help and support from the right health professionals, to stay well and look after themselves if they become ill. This includes keeping fit and healthy, treating minor ailments effectively, taking prescribed medicines correctly, and seeking help when needed from the right place. More

Diet isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when asked about minerals, aren’t they something you find in rocks? TV commercials for breakfast cereals are constantly talking of fortifying with vitamins and minerals, but are most of us really aware of what exactly minerals are and how important they are to good health? More

There are many things that contribute to our general health and well being, everything from diet and exercise to stress at home and at work. It is not always an easy balance to strike either, watching what we eat, making sure we find time to go to the gym all have to be fitted in around home and work life. More

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