According to the latest health reports commissioned by Public Health England, the North East has seen greater advances in life expectancy than anywhere else in the UK. It continues that while health outcomes remain poor compared to the rest of the UK, if improvements continue, then it could add over 400,000 years to the life expectancy of the population. There are a number of reasons why this could happen soon, and they affect all levels of the region’s population.
Popularity of The Couch-To-5k
The Couch-to-5K running plan has been a success throughout the UK as a running plan for beginners. The plan generally involves three runs a week, progressing over a nine-week programme to be able to complete a 5k run at the end of it. The North East has a great network of running clubs and Durham especially so, you can get in touch with a local running club close to you, or find a personal trainer who specialises in the sport.
What is great about the Couch-to-5k programme is that there really is no end to where it can take would-be runners. Many have taken it one step further and aimed for a 10k shortly afterwards, or for those in the North East, The Great North Run, a globally recognised half marathon, has become an achievable goal.
Reduction of Smoking Rates
One of the biggest factors of improvement has been the fall in smoking rates, greater than for any other region in the UK. While NHS no smoking services offer lots of support for people looking to quit, the rise of vaping and other smokeless forms of nicotine replacement have also contributed. These include nicotine pouches which can come in a range of flavours are completely tobacco-free and help to keep teeth white too, click here to read more.
Healthy Eating Initiatives in the North East
A joint initiative by the Health Improvement Service in County Durham and the NHS trusts of Darlington, Durham, and Northumbria Water has seen healthy eating projects appearing at local leisure centres. They aim to encourage visitors to choose and buy healthier options. Michelle Speed, a specialist working with the NHS Trust says, “Our role is to improve the health and wellbeing of the public through a range of programmes that serve the community. We have been working with a range of partners to make healthy eating choices easier for people from antenatal mums through to older people”.
Mental Health Training
Mental health continues to be an issue across the North East and, according to the Community Foundation, rates of mental health issues in the region remain a particular concern. There has been a national call for more government funding to go towards improving mental health services for the likes of MMHNE (Mental Health North East) to continue with their training programmes for young people, veterans, and those at the bottom of the social ladder.
The Outlook Looks Positive for the North East
While long considered to be the poorer sibling of the South, the North East has shown that, with enough funding commitment and support, healthier lifestyles are achievable; whether through easy to achieve fitness goals or existing services like the NHS’s successful no-smoking programme. As with all efforts to improve the life expectancy of those in the North East, when services and programmes are made available to all with positive marketing, the prospects of longer-life in the next decade can be a rewarding incentive for the region which is now more conscious than ever of the need for a healthier lifestyle.