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#WeActiveChallenge - Leading by Example: Reducing Health Inequalities - Pauline Watts

As we focus this month on the importance of being active and being involved and their importance on both our physical and mental health, let us just pause for a moment and think of the most vulnerable people in the places that we live, where we work and in our communities.

As well as considering what we can do to personally get involved and to get active, even to try something new, think about and encourage others to do the same.

As nurses we all have a responsibility to Prevent, Protect and Promote…

So what does that mean:

Preventing ill health – not just by detecting health problems early and taking action or preventing deterioration in long term conditions, but also supporting communities to be healthier places to live, social engagement and reducing loneliness.

Protecting people’s health and wellbeing – not just from disease through immunisation programmes, AMR awareness raising, but also ensuring that people feel and are safe, supporting access to safe places where people can join in with activities.

Promoting healthier lifestyles – not just through healthier choices such as: diet; exercise; alcohol; smoking etc. but also on supporting access and advocacy and making reasonable adjustments alongside making every contact count.

In short, you play your part in increasing life expectancy and reducing inequalities for yourself and those that you came into the profession to help. Please use your expert knowledge and skills to really focus on being active this week and supporting others in the community to get active!

Take a moment to consider what is going on in your neighbourhood and tweet away!!! Share experiences and photos of you, and your clients/patients/friends getting involved in sport, a walk with the dog, a ramble in the wood or a walk round the park.

Talk to others about things that you are doing or have done to support being active and being involved, your contribution to a healthier society. No contribution is too small as together we can remove barriers and make a difference. Together we can reduce the health and wellbeing gap and health inequalities.

One last request, take a look at the All Our Health Framework. It is a toolkit that will provide you with everything that you need to support you in contributing to prevention, protection and health promotion, extending and embedding what you know already!

It provides information on a number of health topics, it supports engagement through examples of what you can do as practitioners, leaders and educators and it brings information together into one place for ease and consistency of message.

It doesn’t matter how you enter it as it will link you to other sections/chapters/topics; place based or life course based. There is lots of cross referencing!

It is a Call to Action - So please get busy and get active this week more than ever and tweet your messages using the hashtags #WeActiveChallenge #NursesActive #AllOurHealth

Pauline Watts is Lead Nurse Quality, Learning Disability, Mental Health & Dementia at Public Health England

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