Video: MLAs join Safefood 'stop the spread' campaign
A cross-party group of MLAs have signed up to an eight-week programme to lose some weight and improve their lifestyles.
The initiative was organised by safefood, the body responsible for promoting healthy eating and food safety, and forms part a major two-year, all-island awareness campaign called “Stop the Spread”, which urges people to measure their waist to see if they are overweight. At present, almost 60% of adults in Northern Ireland are carrying excess weight.
The Northern Ireland Assembly members, which includes Jim Wells of the DUP, Sinn Fein’s Michelle Gildernew and the UUP’s Basil McCrea, are among the first MLAs to put their names forward in a bid to raise awareness of the serious health epidemic associated with being overweight.
Michelle Gildernew, Chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly Health Committee, said:
“Obesity and excess body weight is a significant public health issue in the six counties today. Politicians, as well as the public, need to be aware of the dangers associated with being overweight, including the risk of long-term conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
“Achieving or maintaining a healthy weight should be a long-term goal and not just about fad diets. By coming together as a group and with one another’s support, we can work together towards a common aim – to lose weight and become more aware of our diet and physical activity.”
Jim Wells, Deputy Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, said:
“As politicians, we can all play our part in promoting public health in Northern Ireland, including addressing the issue of weight and this starts at our own table. We urge every adult in Northern Ireland to wrap a tape around their waist and find out how they measure up.”
The “Stop the Spread” campaign is a two-year, all-island initiative by Safefood and comprises television and radio advertising. Thousands of free measuring tapes will also be made available over the next few weeks.
As well as attending a weekly ‘weigh-in’ where they will receive health tips and nutritional advice from safefood experts, participating MLAs are also being encouraged to use Safefood’s free online weight loss website, Weigh2Live and participate on the Weigh2Live Facebook page and connect with others trying to lose weight.