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New obesity prevention campaign launched by the PHA

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is launching a new obesity prevention campaign ahead of the New Year raising awareness about portion sizes and the impact on weight and health.

A new TV ad will be on our screens from 27 December focusing on reducing portion size as a way for anyone who is overweight or obese to reduce their weight. The public information campaign will also feature video on demand, radio, outdoor, social media and display advertising.

The most recent health survey report (2019/2020) shows 65% of adults in Northern Ireland were either overweight (38%) or obese (27%). There is also a growing body of evidence that those who are overweight or obese and test positive for COVID-19 are at greater risk of severe illness, including hospitalisation and admission to ICU, making the message of the campaign even more timely.

Colette Brolly, Joint Lead on Obesity Prevention at the PHA, said:

“We want to encourage people to make simple changes to their diet that will reduce weight and have a positive impact on their health. The New Year is the perfect opportunity to do this.

“This campaign aims to get people to think about the portion sizes of food and drinks they are consuming and reduce them as a practical means to reduce weight gain and manage their weight. It’s still the food you love, just a bit less.”

Colette said that by making a decision to eat a little less, we can take more control and improve our health and wellbeing.

“Combining healthier eating habits with being more active, like going for a walk at lunchtime rather than sitting at your desk at home or work, can combat the risk of those extra pounds. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of developing a range of chronic conditions such as heart disease, some cancers and Type 2 diabetes,” she added.

Simple healthy tips on portion sizes

Eat regularly – three meals each day, ie. breakfast, lunch and evening meal. Try to avoid nibbling in-between, but if you’ve got the ‘munchies’, go for ready-prepared vegetable sticks or fruit.

Eat slowly, to give your body a chance to tell you it’s satisfied. This can take up to 20 minutes.

Eat until you’re no longer hungry, not until you feel full.

Use a smaller plate – this can prevent you overfilling a larger plate and help you lose weight.

Don’t nibble at leftovers – you can cut down on leftovers by cooking less or using them up in another meal.

Check food labels – if you’re not sure how much of a food to eat in one serving, have a look at the food label, which appears on packaged food and drink.

Watch out for supersized portions when you’re eating out. Come up with ways to deal with bigger portions, eg. opt for a starter portion, leave out the chips, don’t force yourself to clear your plate, share a dessert between two or three people.

Try to be more active every day – remember, if you slip up one day, don’t dwell on it. Just carry on to the next day with your target in mind.

Further information on healthier portions and portion swaps can be found at:

VIDEO below.


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