Why we’ll be seeing a little less of Basil

LAGAN Valley MLA Basil McCrea could soon be fading away - but all in a good cause.

The UUP representative is among a cross party group of more than 20 MLAs who have signed up to an eight-week programme to lose some weight and improve their lifestyles.

The initiative was organised by safefood, the body responsible for promoting healthy eating and food safety, and forms part a major two-year, all-island awareness campaign called ‘Stop the Spread’, which urges people to measure their waist to see if they are overweight. At present, almost 60% of adults in Northern Ireland are carrying excess weight.

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The Assembly members, who also include Jim Wells of the DUP and Sinn Fein’s Michelle Gildernew are among the first MLAs to put their names forward in a bid to raise awareness of the serious health epidemic associated with being overweight.

Safefood is asking adults to measure their waist and know what their true waist size is – having a waist size greater than 32 inches for a woman or 37 inches for a man is a clear indication that a person is carrying excess weight.

“Working long hours, the stress of balancing a job with finding time to fit in be active and eating at irregular times are all issues facing many people right across society today,” safefood’s Director of Human Health and Nutrition, Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, said.

“It’s wonderful to see this group of well-known faces in Northern Ireland politics agreeing to participate. Not only will this group hopefully lose weight and become healthier, they are sending out the message to everyone that reaching a healthy weight is extremely important and achievable.”

As well as attending a weekly ‘weigh-in’ where they will receive health tips and nutritional advice from safefood experts, participating MLAs are also being encouraged to use safefood’s free online weight loss website, Weigh2Live and participate on the Weigh2Live Facebook (www.facebook.com/safefood.eu) page and connect with others trying to lose weight.

For more information, visit www.safefood.eu or call 0800 085 1683.