The Great Swapathon: trying out the Great Swapathon (fictional children not required).
|Subject:||Health promotion (Methods)|
|Publication:||Name: Community Practitioner Publisher: Ten Alps Publishing Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Ten Alps Publishing ISSN: 1462-2815|
|Issue:||Date: Feb, 2011 Source Volume: 84 Source Issue: 2|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: United Kingdom Geographic Code: 4EUUK United Kingdom|
Well, the Great Swapathon is underway and I have signed up with a
couple of fictional children to see what all the fuss is about. This is
an NHS initiative, part of the Change4Life campaign to get the country
fitter and slimmer.
First you are asked to fill in a questionnaire about your levels of activity, food and drink habits, with 'yes, no or sometimes' responses. The questions are leading--eg 'do you eat breakfast?'--and the temptation might be to foresee your downfalls and be less than honest with your answers. The results for each person come as a green 'keep it up', yellow 'could do better' or red 'be careful'.
Ideas for swaps
You are then offered a selection of 'swaps' to choose, one to follow each week, without specific reference to your answers. For example, I said in the questionnaire that I always used the stairs instead of the lift, but as my overall activity level was low, I was offered various swaps such as 'taking the stairs'.
You are also invited to leave your comments on the blog site. The blogs are relentlessly upbeat, and unlike most of the others that I have read. The system will keep in touch with you via email or SMS.
A range of tips
Most of the swaps are straightforward good ideas that anyone who has ever followed a slimming diet would be familiar with, such as getting off the bus one stop earlier and walking, or walking around when chatting on your mobile phone.
There are useful tips about eating off a smaller plate or drinking alcohol from a tall slim glass rather than from a short wide one.
There are also some that are unlikely, such as the suggestion to use a blend of tomato puree and tinned tomatoes instead of ketchup, or to swap driving your groceries home for carrying them or taking the bus. The suggestion not to use the TV remote but to get up and change the channels is good, but lots of TVs are inaccessible or do not even have buttons on the set.
There are a couple of ideas that I found poignant--to swap playing apart for playing together and swap boring housework for a housework workout. I would query the nutritional basis for the idea to swap red meat for white meat or fish. However, my favourite has to be 'swap an hour on the sofa for an hour of fun activity'.
Overall, I would recommend trying the Great Swapathon out and discussing it with clients. Every tip might not suit everyone, but it could be a good way to talk about real changes that families may consider to improve health and wellbeing.
To try the Great Swapathon, see: www.change4life.com
Professionals can register through the partners and supporters area, see: www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/ Pages/partners-supporters.aspx
Unite/CPHVA professional officer for school health and public health
|Gale Copyright:||Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.|