1,100 NHS staff sign up as role models for healthy living

Some of the 'Champions for Health' recruits have been put through their paces by Olympic athlete Rhys Williams Credit: ITV News Wales

1,100 NHS staff in Wales are beginning new healthy-living regimes today. They are hoping to act as role models for their patients and the wider public, in the 'Champions for Health' campaign.

The number of staff signing up has exceeded expectations. There are now workers from every health board and NHS trust in Wales, as well as the Welsh Government's health and social services department, taking part.

The campaign has earned the backing of Welsh sports stars, including double Olympic champion rower Tom James.

400m hurdler Rhys Williams is also on board. He has been sharing training tips with NHS staff - including Zoe Whale from Velindre NHS Trust - at Cardiff International Sports Stadium.

The staff taking part will be aiming to follow through on two of the following lifestyle changes:

  • Drink safely

  • Take regular exercise

  • Eat healthily

  • Stop smoking

  • Work toward a healthy weight

Each member of staff will be setting their own challenges and their progress will be tracked over the next six months.

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales' Annual Report in 2010 showed:

  • 45% of the adult population in Wales drink above the daily guidelines

  • 70% do not take recommended levels of physical activity

  • 64% do not eat five portions of fruit and vegetables per day

  • 20% smoke

  • 58% are obese or overweight

The campaign is being led by the Directors of Public Health in Wales, and supported by Public Health Wales and the 1000 Lives Plus programme.