Guide for healthy lifestyles switch

Health and social care workers should take advantage of life-changing moments in people's lives to help them live healthier life styles, new guidance suggests.

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Nice suggests that new parents could be targeted to change unhealthy lifestyles

Health and social care workers should take advantage of life-changing moments in people's lives to help them live healthier life styles, new guidance suggests.

The National Institute Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said people who are "open to change", such as new parents or those diagnosed with an illness, should be introduced to services that could help their health or well being, such as smoking cessation services.

The new guidance urges health and care workers to "recognise the times when people may be more open to change, for instance at a life changing moment (such as becoming a parent) or when hearing a medical diagnosis (such as heart disease or diabetes)".

Nice said the guidance aims to support people to be healthier by eating well, being more active, stopping smoking and sticking to safe drinking limits.

It has been created for health services and local authorities to "make the most of their resources" to promote a culture of health in their areas.

Professor Mike Kelly, director of the Centre of Public Health at Nice, said: "The way each person lives from day to day has long-term implications for them personally as well as the rest of society.

"Although the causes of disease are not straightforward, they are often avoidable. This guidance is aimed at helping people to stay healthy by making changes to the way they live.

"The guidance is wide-ranging: it will help health and social care professionals to find out what works to improve health where they are and to ensure that individuals make resolutions that last for their lifetime not simply a few days or weeks."

Paul Lincoln, chair of the Programme Development Group and chief executive of the UK Health Forum, added: "This new guidance from Nice is aimed at one simple idea: helping people to live healthier lives by ensuring that health and social care budgets are spent on activities that work.

"The guidance advises people whose job is to help all of us live more healthily - from national policy-makers to health or social care professionals. Improving health is complicated; it can range from tailoring healthy eating programmes to suit a person's individual needs, to national initiatives aimed at improving everyone's health such as banning smoking in workplaces."