Leaders: ‘Health study results could be useful’

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TACKLING unhealthy lifestyles is a key priority of Lothian health chiefs. The warning signs have been flashing for long enough to know that now is the time when serious action must be taken.

Just last year, NHS Lothian’s medical director, Dr David Farquharson, warned that one person in ten may be living with diabetes within 25 years as a result of their lifestyle, placing a huge demand on the public purse.

Today we report on the beginnings of a new study which researchers hope will help authorities plan for a healthier future.

It is hoped that around 100 people referred by GPs will take part, with half allocated indoor activities such as swimming and gym classes and half given outdoor exercise such as walking or golf.

The researchers will follow the participants over the next year and evaluate which activities are the most popular and ultimately produce the best results.

It is certainly an interesting project and the results may well be useful. Whether it offers any definite conclusions from such a small sample remains to be seen.

What is obvious is that we need to encourage everyone to do some exercise in whichever way they enjoy.

For some that could be running six miles before breakfast, for others it could be as simple as walking to work instead of getting the bus.

We don’t need a university study to tell us that a healthy lifestyle is a good thing, but if it allows health chiefs to focus their activity and funding of services then this will be a worthwhile exercise.

Lothian is sitting on an inactivity time bomb and we need to get moving on tackling it.

Heroes one and all

The response to the Evening News-backed Sick Kids Heroes awards has been phenomenal.

It is, of course, no surprise that the nurses and doctors, staff and volunteers of the Sick Kids hold such a special place in so many people’s hearts.

But the number and quality of entries have been beyond all our expectations.

Every one of the stories we have read in the course of finalising the shortlist deserves recognition.

Whittling it down has been an incredibly hard task and choosing a winner will be even more difficult which is why we need your help. Details of how to take part can be found on page 10 today.

Get voting and good luck to all the nominees!