Guest Blogspot: Gail Beer – Making healthy choices

At 2020health we are concerned with examining the impact that  decisions about health  and healthcare  make on society and the economy.  These decisions are not just about the government, policy leaders and health experts, but about the decisions you and I make everyday regarding how we live  our lives. Do we choose to smoke, drink too much alcohol,  eat too much salt, drink enough water, eat five times a day and exercise for 30 minutes?   We are bombarded daily with information about what we should and should not do to stay healthy.  It is difficult enough keeping up with all the advice, let alone trying to implement it in our time-poor, information overloaded society. Is it any wonder that many people are confused?

This morning I went to the launch of the Sainsbury’s Wells Project,  a year long programme that aims to show how community pharmacists can work alongside NHS services  to provide  a resource for advice guidance  and support in making healthy life style choices, like those above.  Ten families, all called Wells, will be encouraged and supported in making healthy choices by their pharmacist.  We at 2020 will be helping in the evaluation of the programme and we are excited about working on a project  that we feel is important given the enormity of the public health agenda and the anticipated impact of  unhealthy decisions on our future finances

Here at 2020health our research often leads us to explore the results of these  poor health decisions,  or we  recommend  to policy makers how to improve  health outcomes.  As a health think tank we thought about our own lifestyles and wondering how well we lived up to those ideas we espouse.   So, the team here have undertaken a programme  to walk the recommended 10,000 steps a day.  Over the next few weeks at the end of each blog a member of the team will reflect on how well they are doing in achieving this goal and review the  highs and lows.  So beginning tomorrow 2020health Pedometer Watch will make its first appearance. Stay tuned!

About Julia Manning

Julia is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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