Takeaway culture in Scotland putting families' health at risk

A major charity partnership dedicated to preventing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease is urging people across Scotland to ditch unhealthy takeaways and opt for healthier, homemade '˜fakeaways' instead.

With one in five UK adults and children reportedly eating a takeaway at least once a week1, the National Charity Partnership between Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Tesco says such regular consumption of foods that are often high in fat, salt and calories could increase people’s risk of serious ill-health.

The National Charity Partnership has developed a range of ‘fakeaway takeaway’ recipes to encourage more people to cook at home from scratch and reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease, two potentially life-threatening conditions.

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A survey commissioned by the National Charity Partnership shows almost one in five adults in Scotland (20 per cent) prefer to order out rather than cook homemade versions of their favourite takeaways. This is despite nearly two-thirds of Scots saying that homemade versions cost less (64 per cent) and taste just as good or better (63 per cent).

Alex Davis, Head of Prevention for the National Charity Partnership, said: “Millions of people already live with Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease and millions more are at risk. We know a healthy diet can reduce people’s risk of developing them, but the serious amount of calories, total and saturated fat, salt and larger portion sizes of many takeaway foods means that even one or two a week can have a serious impact on our diets as a whole.

“More people are living with either Type 2 diabetes or heart disease, which is why we’re urging people to look after their health and give homemade versions of their favourite takeaways a try instead. By making your own recipes from scratch you can ensure you still get tasty food but with much more nutritional value which will help to reduce your risk of developing long-term health problems.”

According to the survey, the most popular takeaway in the UK is Chinese food (28 per cent) followed by Indian food (19 per cent) and fish and chips (14 per cent). The partnership’s new recipes have been developed to help people find healthy alternatives.

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Research has found that a typical Chinese takeaway, consisting of a portion of vegetable spring rolls and sweet and sour chicken with egg fried rice, provides approximately 2,184 calories3. This accounts for 109 per cent of the recommended daily calories for women and 87 per cent for men in just one meal4. Results also found portion sizes to be much larger, often enough to feed two people, as well as high levels of fat and salt throughout.

Ms. Davis added: “Our results found Chinese cuisine to be the nation’s favourite so why not swap the shop-bought options for our Prawn spring rolls and Sweet and sour chicken. They can be as quick to make too, often as fast as ordering a delivery.”

The National Charity Partnership is also running Make, Move & Munch Clubs in North Lanarkshire to help families learn about healthy eating, have fun and meet other local families. The clubs are specifically designed to provide families with information, skills and support to help them reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease.

The Make, Move & Munch Clubs, which are being funded as part of the National Charity Partnership’s Let’s Do This campaign, provide fun, free activities for parents/carers and children, with a tasty meal included every time. Each session has a different activity, which can include trying delicious new recipes through food demonstrations and cooking or having a go at simple ways to get active.

For more information about Let’s Do This, please visit: http://www.lets-dothis.org.uk