Cook, cut and walk – top tips for Obesity Awareness Week

Cook, cut and walk – top tips for Obesity Awareness Week

This Obesity Awareness Week (9-15 January) the Public Health Agency (PHA) is encouraging everyone to try to cook healthier recipes, cut out snacks and get a bit more active.

Caroline Bloomfield, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Senior Manager at the PHA, said: “At this time of year, many of us are looking at what we can do to be that little bit healthier, so the PHA is offering top tips on how you can make a difference with some simple steps.

“People can be put off by terms such as ‘lifestyle changes’ or ‘behaviour changes’ as they sound like massive commitments, but in actual fact we can make small changes throughout the day that can add up to make a difference to our waistlines.

“The first step is to cut out the snacks. Research has shown that eating as little as 100 Calories more than the body needs each day could add up to 10lbs of weight gain in a year.

“We probably don’t even realise the extras that we eat and how easy it is to eat too much. 100 Calories can be as little as an extra slice of bread, an extra three sweets, or an extra forkful of spaghetti. Snacks, nibbles and second helpings are things we tuck into without even thinking, but every extra bit that goes in, ends up going on.

“By cutting out the extras we can help reduce the risk of putting on the pounds.”

The Health Survey for Northern Ireland 2015/16 shows that 60% of adults here are overweight or obese, with men (65% overweight or obese) tipping the scales over women (57%).

Caroline continued: “Another way to help us eat better is by cooking healthier food. Our website has over 70 easy to cook healthy recipes to help us on our way. All the recipes are low in fat, salt and sugar and provide the right sized portions. The website also has plenty of info on healthier food swaps when we’re at the supermarket.

“As well as making healthy food choices, getting more active is a great way to manage our weight. A simple way to get started is to walk. By fitting more steps in to our everyday routine we can start to feel the benefits. For example this could mean, getting off the bus one stop earlier and walking the rest of the way or taking the stairs at work rather than the lift. By taking simple steps to move more, we can help manage our weight  as well as boosting our mental health and reducing stress and anxiety. A great way to track progress is with a pedometer or smartphone app. Measuring our steps and setting a goal is a great way to stay motivated.

“Many of us probably made New Year’s resolutions to eat better and be more active, so these tips are a great way to get started on the path to living healthier lives.”

For more information on choosing healthier food options, cooking healthy recipes and getting more active, visit

Notes to editors:

  • Having a waistline of 37 inches or more for a man and 32 inches or more for a woman can put you at a greater risk of developing heart disease, some cancers and Type 2 diabetes. Your health could be at greater risk if you’re storing a lot of fat around your waist. We store excess body fat under the skin but also around our vital organs in the abdomen and having a large amount of tummy fat could make you more likely to develop heart problems or Type 2 diabetes.
  • Stats from the 2015-16 Northern Ireland Health survey show that 60% of adults were either overweight (34%) or obese (26%).
  • The percentage of adults classed as obese or overweight has increased from the level reported in 1997 (56%), although has remained at a similar level since 2005/06 (59%).
  • 25% of children are overweight (16%) or obese (9%)
  • The Health Survey can be found at