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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.

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smokefree drop inSmokers keen to kick the habit will have an added incentive if they make the change in March.

National No Smoking Day is on 12 March and Medway residents who quit with the council’s stop smoking service during this month will be in with a chance of winning prizes donated by local businesses.

Every year more than a million smokers use No Smoking Day as their motivation to quit and it is hoped people in Medway are no exception.

Anyone who signs up to the scheme in March and reaches week five of the seven week treatment programme, will get a free day pass to a local gym.

Those who go on to quit as a result, will be in with a chance of winning a prize.

Prizes range from cinema tickets, to hair cuts, lunches for two and a signed Gillingham FC football.

To pledge to quit visit the stop smoking team in Chatham High Street on 1 or 12 March, or call 01634 334800.

Those who successfully shake the habit with the help of weekly support sessions and carbon monoxide monitoring, will be entered into a prize draw and invited to a prize giving even at Gillingham Football Club on 8 May.

Director of Public Health Alison Barnett said: “Many people like to use the national no smoking awareness day as a starting point for their journey to become smoke free.

“I think it is really good that there is now the added incentive of winning a prize for those who achieve their goal. We want to help people who want to quit as much as we can and this makes it a bit of fun and gives people a small reward.

“I would like to thank all the local businesses that have donated prizes.”

For more information about the stop smoking service visit www.abettermedway.co.uk

health checks

Is your heart healthy? Do you need a Health Check to find out?

As part of National Heart Month, Salveo Healthcare are delivering NHS Health Checks in their pharmacies in the weeks commencing 10th March. These health checks identify those at risk of heart disease and also stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and certain types of dementia. You are eligible for a free health check if you are aged between the ages of 40 and 74 and have not already been diagnosed with one of these conditions. It’s important that you find out if you’re at risk, the earlier the better and then we can help support you to stay healthier for longer!

National Heart Month is taking place during February. Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the single biggest killer in the UK and there are about 2.3 million of us living with this disease. Every single one of us has a heart which means every one of us is at potential risk.

Your local Salveo Pharmacy is working to help you find out whether you are at risk of heart disease, but also other conditions such as stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and certain types of dementia. As part of the NHS Health Checks service we are asking everyone between the ages of 40 and 74, who has not already been diagnosed with one of these conditions or have certain risk factors to come and see us. We will perform a check to assess your risk of one of these conditions and then we will give you support and advice to help you reduce or manage that risk.

We will be performing these NHS Health Checks in your local Salveo Pharmacy* in the weeks commencing 10th March. Come and see us, there’s no need to make an appointment – it’s quick and easy for you.

It’s important that you get a check sooner rather than later – the earlier the better! Once you know whether there’s a health problem then we can work with you to identify self-care tips and to signpost you to other health and social care support in the community.

Dr Bora, a local GP says, ‘Pharmacists have a huge role to play in today’s healthcare. Unfortunately to date, this has remained an underutilised resource. As a part of the joint working I would like to see the Pharmacist play a much bigger part. The delivering of NHS Health Checks is a major step in this direction. As a GP and the Chairman of the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG I am looking forward to working together for better outcomes for our patients’

Salveo pharmacies can be found at:www.salveohealth.co.uk

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.

Death is a certainty that we all face and can be a time of distress for not only the person whose life is ending, but the loved ones they are leaving behind. When asked, most people express preferences about their end of life such as wanting to die at home. But few people currently have conversations about this. A short film hopes to change that, and encourage people to let loved ones and health professionals know their wishes. Read More

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

Medway Council’s Trading Standards team are urging local businesses and residents to be extra careful when buying food supplements that claim to burn fat.

Across the country a number of deaths have been connected with the consumption of supplements containing 2,4 Dinitrophenol, sometimes referred to as ‘DNP’. This is a product unfit for human consumption and should not be sold as food.

However, it is available online and has been found being sold under the counter at some gyms in other parts of the UK. 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

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

A free 30-minute health check could change your life – that’s the message from Medway Council’s Public Health Team, which is promoting the NHS Health Check programme in Medway. More

(L-R) Lee Broadhurst, Pat Maltby, Sam PearceA woman from Chatham who suffered a heart attack at a phlebotomy (blood testing) clinic has returned to thank the phlebotomists who saved her life. On 2 May 2013, Pat Maltby, 70, who regularly attends the blood testing clinic at Lordswood Healthy Living Centre, suddenly collapsed. Pat explained: “I managed to walk to the lift to go up to the clinic but felt absolutely dreadful. My chest felt really tight and I couldn’t catch my breathe. More

A new committee that will play a major role in ensuring Medway residents have the access to the best possible health and social care will meet for the first time on Tuesday (18/6) afternoon.

Nationally Health and Wellbeing boards have been established in all County Councils and Unitary Authorities. Read More

Free bike rides will be available this weekend in celebration of National Bike Week (15 – 23 June).

A Better Medway health improvement team is aiming to get Medway cyclists on their bikes across Medway with free, guided rides for adults available in Rainham, Cliffe Woods, Lordswood and Hoo. More

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

The Ramblers will be hosting Great Britain’s biggest ever short walks festival from 4 – 11 May in a drive to get more people discovering the wonder of walking in 2013. This festival is supporting Britain on Foot, a campaign to encourage more people in Britain to get active in the great outdoors. More

The Stroke Association is calling on South East people to get their nominations in for the Life After Stroke Awards (LASA) before the closing date on 1 March. With over 170,000 people living with the effects of stroke in the South East, the charity is seeking nominations to honour the stroke survivors, carers, organisations or groups who have shown dedication, determination and courage in the world of stroke.

The ceremony will take place at London’s Dorchester Hotel on 26 June 2013. Nine categories including Adult Courage, Creative Arts and Fund-raiser of the year will be presented by a host of celebrities.

This year the charity is welcoming the first patron of the awards, ‘Apprentice’ star Karren Brady. Karren said; “I was in danger of having a stroke myself and so this is a cause that is very close to my heart. I’m still at very high risk and know how frightening the condition can be. A stroke happens in instant but its effects last a lifetime. The Stroke Association is doing great work supporting people affected by the condition and celebrating life after stroke. “I am thrilled and delighted to be the first LASA Patron and am calling on everyone affected by stroke to nominate someone they know for these very special awards.”

Celebrities attending the event included TV’s Angela Rippon, rugby star and stroke survivor Michael Lynagh and Olympic medallist Shelley Rudman. Katherine Staley, from the Stroke Association said: “As stars of stage and screen are being honoured for Oscars, BRITs, Grammys and BAFTAs, this is the chance to shine the spotlight on stroke survivors, their carers and professionals working in the world of stroke to celebrate some of the amazing achievements made.”

You can make your nomination online at http://www.stroke.org.uk/LASA. Alternatively, you can call 0207 566 1540 or email lasa@stroke.org.uk and we can send you a form in the post.

Yoga classes start next month with Medway Community Learning. Yoga for all (progression) starts Tuesday, 5 February at 1.30pm. Yoga for all starts on Tuesday, 12 February at 7.30pm. Both classes are at Rochester Adult Education Centre. To book and for more details phone 01634 338400.

A total of 1,200 people have signed up to A Better Medway’s Healthy New Year campaign since November, and there’s still two events left for people to make a health pledge.

Make a pledge at either Chatham High Street on Thursday, 24 January or Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre on Thursday, 31 January to be in with a chance of winning some great prizes. More

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