Monday 22 July 2013, 12:31
Long Live Britain aims to get us all to pause and think about our health.
In the series we focused on the big causes of premature death and restricted living such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and alcohol-related liver disease, but these tend to creep up on us slowly and secretly through years of over-indulgence.
We all know that we should try to eat less, move more, not smoke and drink in moderation.
To illustrate why these things harm the body I reconstructed the effects of over-indulgence on the heart, liver and pancreas through stunts with Jodie Prenger, Crissy Rock and Ricky Grover including using footballers, dustbins and lots of lard to demonstrate how Type 2 diabetes makes it much difficult for our bodies' cells to work efficiently.
We offered a risk assessment to 400 rugby fans and Manchester locals at a rugby match, allowing us to target middle-aged men who are often the least likely to visit their doctor.
The majority of those tested were at risk of Type 2 diabetes and close to half at risk of alcohol-related liver disease. Most said they would try to make changes in their lifestyle and if they do they could add years to their lives.
We only see our GP or nurse for 10 minutes at a time so the responsibility for our health rests with us. No matter how much money we put into the NHS it will collapse under the weight of chronic disease if we keep relying on doctors to fix us and don't fix ourselves.
The simplest screening test for men is: can you see your penis? If your belly's in the way, you have a problem.
Your waist size, measured at the level of your belly button, should be half your height or less.
It is not the same as your jeans size. Many of us have 40 inch bellies poking over 32 inch jeans.
Jodie Prenger: ‘With my family’s history of Type 2 diabetes, I didn’t want to bury my head in the sand’
Our programme used more high tech screening, but work slowly on getting down your waist size and you'll reduce your risk of any number of diseases without having to visit a doctor.
Making the programme certainly inspired me. Although I've always felt healthy, my blood pressure has crept up to alarmingly high levels.
As a doctor, I initially hated being a patient but I've got a brilliant GP, my blood pressure is well controlled and by following Long Live Britain’s advice on portion size I've lost a stone.
No diets, no fasting just simply reminding myself what food my body needs and in what amounts.
A portion of food should fit in your cupped hands, and you only need three of them a day, with a balance of protein, carbohydrate, fruit and vegetables.
Stick to that, eat slowly enough to savour the taste and nearly everyone will lose weight sensibly.
But being thin doesn't make you healthy per se. Mental health is crucial to physical health and most of us need to slow down, step outside, and reconnect with the beauty, joy and peace of nature.
If your life feels empty, don't fill it with food, go to your favourite outdoor place, sit down and think it through. Then get walking. It works for me.
Long Live Britain was not broadcast on the originally scheduled date of Monday, 22 July due to extended BBC News coverage. Episode one will now be broadcast on Monday, 5 August at 9pm on BBC One and concluding with episode two at 10.35pm.
If you would like more information about the health issues raised in this programme, please see the information and support page for details of organisations which can help.
Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.
Join the discussion...
Friday 19 July 2013, 09:14
Monday 22 July 2013, 14:29