Last Updated: 18 October 2010
Created: 18 October 2010
This week I met representatives from the British Heart Foundation, a charity I’ve supported for many years. My own family has a history of heart disease, with my father, uncle and grandfather all dying at a relatively young age following heart attacks. I am determined to help make a difference on this issue, and will be focusing on a number of areas.
Firstly, in schools, much more can be done. As part of the National Curriculum I would like to see Emergency Life Saving (ELS) skills made compulsory. I know myself, having found my father after a heart attack, just how important this is. I would also like to see this included in our planned National Citizens Service. I also believe we need to focus on basic cookery classes, giving youngsters the skills to follow a balanced diet when they leave home. It is also essential that sport is encouraged in schools, and I believe the planned annual School Olympics will help increase the numbers of young people becoming active.
Secondly, active leisure is not just for youngsters, but for people of all ages. Therefore I will continue to push for more accessible open spaces suitable for ‘jumpers for goalposts’ kick-a-rounds, and for continued improvements to Coate Water, Mouldon Hill and Lydiard Park to provide areas for enjoyable walks or bike rides. I am also supportive of the excellent ‘Masters’ programmes provided by Swindon Borough Council’s leisure centres aimed at getting older people more active.
Thirdly, it is essential to encourage people to have regular health checks, in particular cholesterol tests. By identifying potential issues earlier, much can be done. I myself was recently checked as part of the Heart UK programme and my cholesterol level was high, so having spoken to my doctor I have taken on board advice to tackle this before it becomes a long-term problem.
Finally I am pushing hard to make changes to food labelling. I am determined to see clearer labelling to highlight trans fats - all too often a secret hidden killer in processed food - and for a consistent ‘traffic light’ system so we can all make informed decisions on the food we eat.
Finally on a lighter note I was at the Arts Centre on Saturday night, so I was able to view the excellent new combined library service, which I thought was first-class. I attended a comedy “mock seminar” on ‘How to survive a Zombie Apocalypse’. It was great to see the Arts Centre packed and I am delighted to say I was one of seven members of the audience who were left standing, although I’m not sure how just how useful this new found ‘skill’ will prove!