The UK Department of Health has launched a campaign to emphasise that small achievable lifestyle changes can bring health benefits.

The ‘Small Change Big Difference’ initiative is designed to encourage people to make small but healthy changes to their daily routines. This could be eating and extra portion of fruit or vegetables each day, using the stairs instead of a lift, or getting off the bus a stop early and walking some of the journey, the DoH said.

Public Health Minister Caroline Flint commented: “We all know that we should eat more fruit and veg and get more exercise to improve our health but sometimes improving our own health can be daunting. Small Change Big Difference is about showing people that there are everyday, simple choices they can make in their lives, which will have a direct impact on their health. Eating an extra piece of fruit or walking up the stairs can help people add years to their lives.”

At a time when the food industry has been held increasingly accountable for rising obesity levels, the scheme has been welcomed by industry body the Food and Drink Federation.

“In recent years manufacturers have made great progress in reducing the fat, salt and sugar content of their products, but in the end the only enduring solution to the problems of poor diet is better education. Consumers need to be encouraged with practical, positive messages to take the right steps towards a healthier lifestyle. This will entail both eating sensibly and taking more physical exercise. Industry will play its part to get these messages across,” said FDF President Gavin Neath.