Data from the Welsh Health Survey in 2015 shows that 59% of adults in Wales were classified as overweight or obese, including 24% obese and only around a third (32%) of adults reported eating five or more portions of fruit and vegetables the previous day. Poor diet accounts for an estimated 10.8% of total disease burden (Newton et al., 2015).
The UK Governments’ recommendations for a healthy diet are based on evidence from the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA) and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) that succeeded COMA in 2000.
The recommendations are translated into a practical tool, the Eatwell Guide, which shows the proportions in which different types of foods are needed to have a well-balanced and healthy diet over the period of a day or even a week, not necessarily each meal time.
Recommendations indicate that adults should:
- Eat a wide range of foods to ensure a balanced diet and that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.
- Eat the right amount of calories for how active you are, so that you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat or drink too much, you’ll put on weight. If you eat or drink too little you’ll lose weight.
"Are you interested in making changes to what you eat?"
- Eat well including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
- A healthy diet can reduce your risk of cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease
- Eating well can make you feel better about yourself and give you more energy
- Food plays a vital role in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
- Fruit and vegetables are part of a healthy balanced diet
- They’re a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium
- Advise your client to try the following:-
- 5-a-day: aim to eat 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day. A portion for an adult is 80g and for children a portion is roughly the amount they can fit in their hands. Try adding chopped fruit to cereal for breakfast, cucumber and tomato to sandwiches and have salad or vegetables with your main meal. Look out for fruit and vegetables that are in season, it can be cheaper
- Snack swap: swap high fat and high sugar snacks to healthier options such as fruit, diet yoghurts, vegetable sticks with lower fat dips, rice cakes with low fat cream cheese. Having fruit and vegetables as snacks can fill you up and will also contribute towards your 5-a-day
- Portion swap: reduce your portion sizes. Some people find it helps to use a smaller plate. Aim for a third of your plate to be vegetables as this will help you to feel full. It takes a while for our brains to register we are full so try eating more slowly. Choose smaller portions of take away and convenience foods.
Signpost your client to:
- Further information about how to eat well can be found on the Change 4 Life website – www.change4lifewales.org.uk
- www.cardiffhealthycity.com has lots of useful information on healthy lifestyles.
- Food Co-operatives for fresh fruit and vegetables on a weekly basis at wholesale prices. To find out your nearest fruit and vegetable co-op contact Hannah.email@example.com
- Pregnant women or women with a child under 4 years old may be eligible for Healthy Start vouchers. These can be used to purchase plain fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables. Further information can be found at www.healthystart.nhs.uk