Clubs bid to tackle obesity

The cooking club at Blackpool Wellness Service in action
The cooking club at Blackpool Wellness Service in action
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A Blackpool health expert is on a mission to boost the resort’s ailing health – by showing residents how to eat healthier food for less.

It comes as alarming new research reveals more than a third of people in the North West say they cannot afford to eat healthily and around 27,000 people in Blackpool – around a fifth of the town’s population – are classed as obese.

Now Tracie Hutchieson, manager of Blackpool Wellness Service – a free council-backed service which offers adults in the resort help and advice on being healthier – is running regular cooking clubs to help people make nutritious food for less.

She said: “I’d say 60 to 70 per cent of the people we support is for their diet and healthy eating, and what we are doing is trying to reeducate people on how to eat well for less.

“Even if you don’t have a lot of money you can still make changes towards a healthy diet.

“People buy jars of sauces which cost a couple of pounds and are full of sugar and salt, but a can of chopped tomatoes and some herbs are cheaper and can go a lot further.

“People also think they need to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, which can be expensive, but actually frozen vegetables can last for several meals and you can buy tinned fruit which is just as healthy.”

It comes after research from UK health charity Nuffield Health shows that 30 per cent of people in the North West do not eat healthily because it’s too expensive, and 14 per cent say they do not have time to prepare healthy meals.

Of the people polled from the region, 40 per cent said they had accepted they would always be overweight because of a lack of willpower.

More than one in five said they would rather be overweight than have to watch what they ate.

Tracie said: “We run 100 cooking sessions a year and people are quite surprised when you give them the ingredients to make a meal how few there actually are and how much they can make.

“I think a lot of the problems we see is portion control and people eating food containing energy-dense fat.”

Blackpool Wellness Service, based at Stanley Park, helps to keep residents well over a period of 12 months with healthy eating, exercise and stress relief.

It is open to Blackpool residents aged 16 or over, call (01253) 304066.

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