Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities are being encouraged to support the Change4Life movement, which today launches its drive to help families in Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups eat well, move more and live longer.
Change4Life is a society wide movement headed by the Department of Health, which aims to encourage at risk communities to change their attitudes to food and exercise, in an attempt to halt the rising tide of childhood obesity.
Physical activity and a healthy diet are essential to leading a long and healthy life and Change4Life has devised eight easy ways for families to work these into their day. There are suggestions on how to cut back fat, how to get 5 -A-Day and fun ways that children can get their recommended 60 minutes of activity a day.
The campaign kicks off with a series of TV commercials featuring Change4Life’s ambassadors and will be aired on Bangladeshi and Pakistani channels during March.
TV and radio presenter Murtaza Ali, Salma Bi – winner of this year’s Change4Life British Asian Sports Awards and celebrity chef and entrepreneur Tommy Miah – feature in the commercials and will be sharing simple tips which they have incorporated into their own lives, to help motivate others.
Salma Bi, one of the UK’s only Pakistani female professional cricket coaches hopes to motivate families into increasing their physical activity levels. She said:
I want to show families that you don’t have to take up a sport to get active – it can be as simple as swapping the car for walking, replacing some of the time children spend watching television with a game of catch in the garden, or even getting family and friends together for a simple game of cricket.
Research shows that an alarming 90 per cent of children today will grow up with dangerous levels of fats in their bodies if they don’t make a Change4Life.
The Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities are two of the communities at highest risk when it comes to obesity and the associated health risks, including type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.
Murtaza Ali adds: Change4Life is about families making small changes in their lifestyles. I know that most men tend to take a back seat when it comes to meal times, but I realised that unless every member of the family gets involved and accepts that we need to make a change, our children face an unhealthy future.
England cricketer, Adil Rashid, professional footballer Zesh Rehman, entrepreneur and star of BBC 2’s, The Apprentice Syed Ahmed, top British Asian singer Mumzy and celebrity chef Shahena Ali, are also amongst the celebrity ambassadors who will be encouraging families to make a Change4Life.
Adil Rashid said: I am delighted to support the Change4Life campaign. As professional sportsmen, we know better than anyone the value of a healthy diet and regular exercise and I would urge as many people as possible to follow our lead.
Shahena Ali talks about how hard it can be to make time for a healthy diet when there are so many other things that take our attention every day, she said:
I am thrilled to be part of the Change4Life campaign! These days, everyone leads a busy life; but whatever our age and no matter how different our lives are, it’s of great importance for each of us to try and make some changes for improvement, however big or small, in our diets and our lifestyles.
Consultant nutritionist, registered dietician and best-selling author, Azmina Govindji is also a supporter of the campaign. She said: We often think that taste will be compromised if we use less oil, sugar and salt, but my job is to take the traditional and make it healthy and tasty! These small, easy to adapt steps will go a long way to improving long-term health."
Every member of the family including fathers, mothers, grandparents, uncles and aunties can be a part of the society-wide movement.
Families can call 0300 123 1099 for a free Change4Life information pack, which provides more ideas and simple tips on how to make a Change4Life.