Small change from government

Small change from government

The government is launching another new campaign to encourage people to eat more fruit and veg to improve their health.

Launched this week by prime minister Tony Blair, the Small Change Big Difference campaign is urging people to eat an extra bit of fruit or get off the bus a stop earlier.

The idea behind the scheme is that by making a number of small changes, people can add years to their lives. It aims to show people how they can improve their future health and well-being by making small, achievable changes to their lifestyles.

Blair said: “What the research shows is if you take a bit more exercise, so you're doing something, you pay attention to your diet, it actually makes a big difference to the way that your own personal health is and actually how you feel.''

The campaign is backed by research from Cambridge University, which shows the impact dietary changes and increased physical activity can have on major causes of death and ill-health.

Improved diet and increased physical activity, as well as stopping smoking, could add up to 11-12 years to a person's life expectancy, it found.

Caroline Flint, public health minister, added: “We all know that we should eat more fruit and veg and get more exercise to improve our health but sometimes improving our own health can be daunting.

"Small Change BIG DIFFERENCE is about showing people that there are everyday, simple choices they can make in their lives which will have a direct impact on their health. Eating an extra piece of fruit or walking up the stairs can help people add years to their lives."

The study, by Professor Kay-tee Khaw from Cambridge University School of Clinical Medicine at Addenbrooke's Hospital looked at over 30,000 people aged from 45 to 79 living in Norfolk.

While eating the recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day could give someone the life expectancy of someone three to four years younger, the research found, even one additional serving of fruit or vegetables would increase the chances of staying alive longer.

The research also suggested that the results for increasing physical activity were similar. Even very moderate amounts of physical activity at work and during leisure time can add up to three years.

Taken together improved diet and increased physical activity, as well as stopping smoking, could add up to 11-12 years to an individual's life expectancy, the research claimed.

Professor Khaw said: "Many of us find it difficult to change our usual lifestyle. However, there is increasing evidence that even relatively small changes can make a big difference to our health and well being."