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A new campaign launched today (Tuesday 22 September) aims to support Essex residents to get moving and get healthy, to prevent serious illness from a second wave of coronavirus.

Better Health Greater Essex campaign offers a wealth of ideas and resources at www.activeessex.org/better-health/ (live from 8am today) to inspire people to kick start and maintain a healthier lifestyle.

It builds on the national Better Health campaign by providing local and targeted help to those most at risk from coronavirus and other health conditions in Essex, Southend and Thurrock.

The launch coincides with the inaugural Great British Week of Sport, 19 to 27 September and Healthy Eating Week next week, 28 September to 4 October.

Better Health Greater Essex offers:

COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for us all. People who are at greater risk of being admitted to hospital if they contract COVID-19 include:

  • those who are inactive and overweight
  • older people
  • Black, Asian or from an ethnic minority
  • those who live in more disadvantaged areas
  • those who are clinically extremely vulnerable or with long term health conditions[1].

In Essex, 63% of adults are overweight or obese[2], just above the national average of 62%.

Evidence shows that keeping moving builds your resilience against COVID-19, other winter illnesses and diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

And many people are keen to get active. Sport England says 70% of adults used activity to manage their physical health during lockdown[3]. A national social study found 35% would like to exercise more once the pandemic is over[4].

Better Health Greater Essex is run by Active Essex and Essex County Council.

Cllr John Spence, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “With coronavirus cases on the rise and winter on its way it is now more important than ever that we all stay as healthy as we can. The campaign will help Essex residents understand the opportunities to get moving and ways to eat healthier. Small lifestyle changes, such as watching what you eat and moving more can make a big difference.”

Dr William Bird, national physical activity expert said: “Now is the time for inactive people to start moving to prevent serious illness from a second wave of Covid-19. The huge benefits that come from an active lifestyle are proven and evidence across the world is indisputable. Physical activity is for everyone, it can be fun and inexpensive. We want to help prepare people for winter and kick start Essex’s healthier and more active lifestyle.”

Mrs Taylor attends online classes in Epping Forest. She said: “I wasn’t interested in doing exercise for quite a while but doing it at home means I can move at my own pace and it feels personalised to me. I have improved each week and am now doing things I couldn’t do at the start of the sessions. I’m also motivated to keep doing it, which is a first for me!”

[1] Public Health England: COIVD-19 Review of disparities in risks and outcomes, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-review-of-disparities-in-risks-and-outcomes

[2] Public Health England data profiles: obesity, 2018-19, https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/search/overweight#page/0/gid/1/pat/6/par/E12000006/ati/302/are/E10000012/cid/4/tbm/1/page-options/ovw-do-0

[3] https://www.sportengland.org/know-your-audience/demographic-knowledge/coronavirus?section=at_a_glance#page

[4] COVID-19 Social Study, University College London: www.covidsocialstudy.org