Background

The Welsh Assembly Government’s consultation document ‘Well Being in Wales’ emphasised that the health of the nation is not just the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government and the NHS. Everyone has a part to play in improving health in Wales, in short: health is everybody’s business.

This idea of organisations and individuals sharing responsibility was reinforced by the 2003 ‘Review of Health and Social Care in Wales’, which showed that the demand for health and care services is unsustainable in the longer term. Therefore greater emphasis needs to be placed on preventing ill health in the first place, which will in turn free up our health service to treat unavoidable disease.

The importance of general healthy lifestyle messages covering physical activity, nutrition, alcohol and smoking was reinforced by the 2006 Norfolk Study [as part of the 10-nation European Prospective Investigation of Cancer].  

This showed that small changes in health behaviour could lead to significant increases in life expectancy.  Giving up smoking was shown to add up to five years to life expectancy. Taking moderate exercise and eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day could add a further three years.

Health Challenge Wales has been developed to help contribute towards this aim. It signposts members of the public to information or activity to help them improve their own health. It also engages with organisations to look after the health of their staff and customers.

Norfolk Study

The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) is a large, multi-centre cohort study looking at the connection between diet and cancer.
EPIC-Norfolk is part of this Europe-wide programme and its findings can be found on the EPIC-Norfolk Study website (external link, English only)

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