Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

Asian Network investigates Asian health with a month of dedicated programming

The BBC Asian Network has announced that it is to investigate Asian health with a month-long programme of specialised content. From Monday 9 May to Sunday 5 June, the schedule, which will include documentaries, outside broadcasts and specialised news reports, will look into the current state of health among Asian communities. The programmes will include interviews with a range of experts and address the big problems, as well as offer advice to encourage improved health and better living.

The month-long programme is split into four key weeks, Eat Healthier Week (9-15 May); Exercise More Week (16-22 May); Asian Health Check (23-29 May), rounding off with Tommy Sandhu's Presenter Challenges (30 May–5 June), with the on-air content being supported by a strong online mini-site at

Husain Husaini, Head of Programmes, Asian Network, says: "We know that Britain's South Asian communities suffer more from many preventable diseases. It's a subject we have come back to many times in our news and discussion programmes. So this year, we want to try and help our listeners 'Get Healthy'.

"Our aim is to pull together all the health issues affecting our communities and help our listeners and their families understand what they need to do to avoid becoming another health statistic."

Eat Healthier Week: Monday 9 to Sunday 15 May

Breakfast Show presenter Tommy Sandhu (7-10am) kicks off the week on Monday with his health challenge to get himself and fellow presenters Murtz, Dipps Bhamrah and Sohail Sahi in tip-top shape. Armed with a range of health experts, they will spend the month changing their lifestyle and eating habits with the hope of improving their health.

Later in the day, the station brings listeners an Asian Network Reports Special: The Asian Death Wish (6pm). Presented by actor Hari Dhillon (Holby City's Dr Mark Spence), the programme delves into the current state of Asian health, discovering a multitude of negative statistics.

Hearing from Professor Mike Kelly, Director of NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), the programme explores the ideas that British Asians are getting diseases younger, are ill for longer and have higher death rates compared to the white population. It also investigates the notion that Asians are reluctant to change their lifestyles to become healthier.

On Tuesday 10 May, Sonia Deol (10am-12.30pm) broadcasts live from the Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sikh Temple in Wolverhampton, in conjunction with the British Heart Foundation. This Gurdwara has already changed their menu in order to cook healthier food and Sonia will be exploring these changes and the reasons behind them.

Also this week, Gagan Grewal (6.30-8pm) will be keeping a food diary which will be analysed by a nutritionist and each day. His show will also look at specific problems, from the stop smoking and chewing tobacco campaign in Tower Hamlets on Tuesday, to a guest doctor in the studio advising on cholesterol, obesity and heart disease.

Sunny and Shay will round off each week with Weekend Breakfast (9am-12pm) as they take the health month literally into their home to improve their family health. From a 'ghee free' Grewal dinner to following doctor's orders, listeners will find out how the couple progress every Saturday and Sunday morning.

Also this week, Sonia Deol (10am-12.30pm) speaks to a listener who is turning 50 in May and has decided that she needs to improve her health. Sonia will be talking to her about her food habits and especially her exercise plan to get back into shape.

Exercise More Week: Monday 16 to Sunday 22 May

All week, Gagan Grewal (6.30-8pm) will be speaking to Asian sporting figures about how vital exercise is in daily life.

On Monday, he catches up with Indian badminton star Saina Nehwal, current Commonwealth Gold Medallist and a favourite for the 2012 Olympic Games. She talks to Gagan about how she travelled 15 miles every morning at the age of eight to practise her game, about her current gruelling eight hour a day exercise regime and her tireless work with cancer awareness.

On Tuesday 17 May Gagan speaks to India's most successful female tennis player and the only one to win a Grand Slam title, Sania Mirza. She talks about her struggles against injury and the pressures of being role model for a more than a billion people in India and how, as a Muslim, she manages to fit her sporting demands around her religious commitments.

On Wednesday, he speaks to legendary Pakistani cricketer and coach Wasim Akram. Diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 30 when at the height of his career, Wasim talks about how he avoided going to the doctor for treatment because he became depressed, his reliance on his wife to pull him through, and how he now still has an active sports career despite having to inject with insulin everyday.

On Friday, Tommy Sandhu (7-10am) takes the Breakfast Show to train with younger brother of Amir Khan, Haroon. Haroon recently took his first serious step in a boxing ring and came out with the first Bronze medal for Pakistan (in the Delhi Commonwealth Games). The Bolton teenager trains with Tommy in the gym and he chats about how being healthy helps him stay at the top of his game. The cousin of England cricketer Sajid Mahmood also speaks frankly of how and why his family have improved their health.

Also this week, Noreen Khan (3-6pm) literally takes the exercise week to the Public Space at BBC Birmingham when she has hosts a live Zumba class. The afternoon presenter will be working out with a range of celebrities and finding out all about their exercise plans.

Asian Health Check: Monday 23 to Sunday 29 May

Health Check Week kicks off with another Asian Network Reports Special: The Toxic Takeaway on Monday (6-6.30pm).

The World Health organisation lists it as a toxic product and it has also been called 'killer fat'. It is considered more dangerous than some pesticides, yet British Asians are still selling it and eating it. This documentary special investigates Asians' relationship with trans fats and explores the idea that obesity within the Asian community is a huge problem.

This programme investigates how a number of countries have banned the trans fats, most often found in processed foods and takeaways, and also hears from the people whose diets have put their lives at risk, the takeaway owners who are churning out potentially life threatening meals and the campaigners who want to see a change.

On Wednesday, the station tackles the taboo of sexual health in Bobby & Noreen's Sexual Health Surgery (10pm-midnight). The pair will be joined by experts to discuss the most pressing sexual health issues, from contraception to sexually transmitted diseases.

Friday sees Dr Ranj Singh from Newsround join Noreen Khan (3-6pm) in the studio to talk health issues around children and, once again, Shay and Sunny will be giving us a health update in Weekend Breakfast (9am-12noon).

Tommy's Presenter Challenges: Monday 30 May to Sunday 5 June

This week will reflect on the month's programming but will also focus on Tommy Sandhu's Presenter Challenges.

Since the start of health month, Tommy, along with fellow presenters Murtz, Dipps Bhamrah and Sohail Sahi, have been getting into shape.

This week's Breakfast Show (7-10am) will reflect on their efforts and their eating and exercise habits and how these changes have improved their health. Health experts Omar Rasul (Sports Nutritionist) and Kyle Prime (Personal Trainer) will also be giving their advice and verdicts on their improved health and fitness.


The Asian Network website ( will support Get Healthy Month with a mini site dedicated to the month's content.

In addition to highlighting the on-air content, there will also be a range of photo galleries, useful links and further resources surrounding health and a range of interactive health tools.

The site will also host links to special podcasts and the public will have access to previous Asian Network documentaries surrounding health.


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