Northern Ireland news

Pharmacists to 'advise customers on weight and healthy eating'

Nearly two-thirds of adults in Northern Ireland are overweight or obese. Picture by Gareth Fuller, Press Association

PHARMACISTS are to advise customers on weight concerns and healthy eating as part of a new scheme.

Nearly two-thirds of adults in Northern Ireland are overweight or obese and the Public Health Agency (PHA) said weight issues are "becoming the norm".

As part of the Living Well service, run by the (PHA), the Health and Social Care Board and Community Pharmacy NI, pharmacists will speak to customers about health issues including high blood pressure, smoking, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diets, sexual health and drug abuse.

Around 500 pharmacists will also take part in a two-month campaign aimed at preventing obesity.

According to the Northern Ireland Health Survey, 27 per cent of adults in the north are obese while 37 per cent are overweight.

Caroline Bloomfield from the PHA said the number of overweight people has gradually risen so it "is now the norm, rather than the exception, to be overweight in Northern Ireland".

"It is estimated that around one in ten of us visit community pharmacies every day," she said.

"We want to increase patient and public knowledge and understanding of the importance of a healthy weight, heighten awareness of the health impacts of being overweight or obese, and highlight how making small changes every day, like eating healthier meals and moving more, can make a big difference."

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