Watching football can be healthier today

FOOTBALL fans can combine cheering on their team with a health check-up in Colchester today.

Annie Davidson

FOOTBALL fans can combine cheering on their team with a health check-up in Colchester today.

Health trainers from NHS North East Essex will be at the Colchester United home game against Brighton offering a free consultation.

The newly-appointed health trainers are part of an initiative which aims to target people with unhealthy lifestyles and encourage them to make changes.

The team, which is working in partnership with Colchester United Community Sports Trust (CUCST), will be on hand before the 3pm match at the Weston Homes Community Stadium in Colchester and again after the game.

Sue Felgate, health trainer service lead at NHS North East Essex, said: “Football crowds still tend to be dominated by men so this is an opportunity for members of our team to talk to men, who are often reluctant to visit their GP, about their health and offer a number of checks for things such as cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels.”

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Natalie Blyde, health lead for CUCST, explained: “This is a great opportunity for people to spend just a few minutes to find out how healthy they are and get advice and support from health professionals.

“Fans keen to make some health changes will be able to find the support they need with the help of the free community health trainer programme.

“This service provides individuals with one to one support to help them achieve their goals, be it quitting smoking, losing weight, alcohol issues, getting active or managing stress or other lifestyle factors.”

NHS North East Essex has recruited an initial team of six health trainers and co-ordinators and is in the process of seeking 450 volunteer health trainers to work in the community by 2011.

The key target areas the Health Trainer initiative aims to tackle are:

* smoking

* low levels of physical activity

* alcohol and substance abuse

* obesity

* poor mental health and emotional well-being

* poor sexual health

* long-term conditions such as cardio vascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and high blood pressure.

As well as recruiting volunteers who will work in the community, workplace champions are being sought.

Anyone interested in seeing a health trainers or in becoming a volunteer health trainer should call 0800 7313 133 for further information.