Coventry City Council launches health campaign to help residents to get fit during COVID-19 pandemic

Published Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Coventry City Council and partners are supporting a major new, adult health campaign to help residents become more resilient to COVID-19 by kickstarting a journey to better health.

Coventry health Challenge

Coventry Health Challenge is all about empowering individuals and communities by promoting healthy behaviour choices that will reduce the risks of developing serious disease, like COVID-19 and the Flu.

It is now six months since lockdown began and there is an awareness that COVID-19 is with us for the long-term. For many, the past few months have been a wake-up call, with people realising how precious their health is and recognising that it is time to get back on track. People have also been surprised by how able they have been to change their behaviour, with lockdown showing many that they are able to make and sustain changes to their lives. 

Joining the Coventry Health Challenge can help the city’s residents and communities live in a new normal alongside coronavirus, without it defeating our health. The campaign really hopes to engage the older population and those with long term conditions and focuses on eating well to keep weight within a healthy range, being more active, quitting smoking and keeping up to date with immunisations.

Over the next 6 months we will be challenging residents to practice self-care and take responsibility for their health as we head towards the end of 2020. Each month will follow a theme:

  • diet and nutrition
  • physical activity
  • smoking cessation
  • immunisations

This will include advice and tips, checklists, case studies and signposting on social media.

Cllr Kamran Caan, portfolio holder for Public Health and Sport at Coventry City Council said:

“Coventry Health Challenge is a fantastic way to encourage our residents and communities to take ownership of their health.

“We are living in a time where being in good health is more important than ever, especially with the COVID-19 virus still circulating. Eating better, getting active, quitting smoking and keeping up to date with vaccinations, especially getting your flu jab are just a few, but effective steps that will really boost our resistance to any future diseases.

“We can all do our bit to stay fit and healthy, to help protect us from coronavirus complications and alleviate pressure from the NHS. I would urge everyone to get involved with the Coventry Health Challenge, even small changes will really make a difference.”

Dr Sarah Raistrick, GP and Chair at NHS Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are very excited about the new Coventry Health Challenge campaign and we want as many people as possible to get involved, it’s never too late to start making changes to your lifestyle. Some of the quick and easy ways of doing this are to have a smaller portion size of food, try and reduce the amount of sugar, salt and fat that you eat on a daily basis and save yourself for a treat. You can increase your activity levels in a number of different ways, such as; walking, cycling, dancing, exercising in a chair or yoga which also helps to reduce stress and anxiety.

“We already have a number of local support services in place to help you along the way, our National Diabetes Prevention Programme, the Social Prescribing team, Health Link workers, Healthy Lifestyles and Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) can all offer you a range of support. So dust down your trainers and pick up your water bottle and take on the Health Challenge to keep yourself fit and well and prevent developing a long term health condition.”

Evidence suggests that individuals who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of serious health consequences including COVID-19 complications, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and death making it more difficult to fight diseases. 63% of adults in Coventry were classified as overweight or obese in 2018/19.

61% of adults in Coventry are physically active – doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week – as compared the national average of 67%.

Whilst 91% of surveyed adults in Coventry in 2018 agreed it was important to them to eat healthy foods, only 25% of adults self-reported to consume at least five portions of fruits or vegetables in a typical day.

Smoking can lead to an increased risk of contracting respiratory infection and around 16.3% of Coventry’s population over the age of 16 smoke, compared with the national average of 15.5%.

When it comes to immunisations, cold and flu season is just ahead. For vulnerable groups such as older people and those with underlying health conditions, the flu can be fatal and develop into potentially serious complications such as pneumonia. There is a chance that the flu season of 2020 will collide with the next peak of COVID-19, so the government has expanded the eligibility for free flu vaccination in 2020 in preparation. Having the flu vaccine not only protects against flu, it also protects the NHS from being overwhelmed at a critical time.

You can find out more information about the Government’s Better Health campaign.

Coventry City Council