Nutrition and well-being
Dimensions Nutrition and Well-being project aims to improve the health and well-being of people we support and increase the nutritional knowledge of our staff. With the input of over 50 nutrition volunteers since November 2020, the nutrition and health of the people we support has been improved through one to one plans and webinars for staff.
“Men with learning disabilities live 23 years less than the general population, and women with learning disabilities live up to 29 years less (hqip.uk).”
Research shows that eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, lean protein and minimal sugar reduces the risk of developing conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Regular exercise is also vital to reduce inflammation and promote well-being.
By pairing Nutrition Volunteers with people we support they have received personalised advice. Volunteers send our colleagues recipe suggestions or meal plans that are easy to follow and specific to that person.
So far, 80 people have received nutritional resources through these pairings and we are seeing amazing changes in the health of the people we support.
Over 200 colleagues have attended Nutrition Webinars on diabetes, constipation, heart disease and obesity, and we’ve received great feedback from colleagues on how this will help people we support across the Dimensions group.
“We support someone with diabetes who also suffers from constipation, and these webinars have highlighted the importance of a good diet in promoting people’s health. It will help me to monitor closely what could the cause of constipation and also support the team and the individual with improving his diet, whilst still making the food attractive to him. The webinars have also made me more aware about certain medications that could potentially cause constipation.”
“Martin lights up the gym when he arrives”
In June, Martin was diagnosed with diabetes and his GP prescribed a Mediterranean diet with a reduction in refined carbohydrates. Nutrition volunteer, Jordan, incorporated this into Martin’s meal plan and based his dietary recommendations on Martin’s favourite meals.
By adding healthy swaps, to avoid being too prescriptive, Martin still had choice about what he eats each day and he’s now more involved in what he is eating and will chop his fruit.
“It’s been tremendously successful because it’s been easy for the team. It works with Martin rather than dictating to him. He is losing weight slowly every week, which is perfect. Jordan has made sure that the information is easy for his support team to follow”. – Di Trigger, Locality Manager
This has also made Martin more outgoing.
He used to go shopping and would be uncomfortable and want to leave. Now he’ll browse and use the self-checkout till. And he goes to the gym regularly.
“Martin has been an absolute pleasure to work with. I understand there’s prejudice regarding people with learning disabilities in a gym but there really shouldn’t be. Martin has made many friends with members and lights up the gym when he arrives! The progress he’s made with his strength, boxing and coordination is fantastic.” – Craig Reaney, Martin’s Personal Trainer
In the press
Learning Disability Today featured the success of the project on their website in March 2021 and we’re thrilled to be able to make the information available to more people.
“Paul Bown, Dimensions’ Volunteer Officer, is responsible for co-ordination of the project across Dimensions Group. He has already seen its real-life benefits: “The project has been incredibly successful and is moving at a pace we were not initially expecting. There’s been lots of interest both within Dimensions as well as among volunteers.”
You can make a difference too!
Support our campaign against health inequality
Our #MyGPandMe campaign has been working with GP surgery staff to help tackle these issues at a primary healthcare level, and by working with their patients and support teams preventive measures can help tackle these shocking early death statistics.
There are lots of ways you can help, so please visit the webpages and see what you can do.
Watch and share our video playlist
At the top of this page there is a YouTube playlist with lots of informative and interesting videos from our Nutrition Volunteers available for you to use for free. Please watch and share these.
Share your stories and advice
We are @DimensionsUK across the major social media networks so please follow us and tweet, post, message, or tag us so we can see your success too. Our national health campaign hashtag is #MyGPandMe.