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Cookery experts sought for NHS project

Cookery experts are current being sought to share their knowledge, skills and passion as part of programme sponsored by NHS Norfolk which aims to provide cooking courses dedicated to simple, healthy and cost effective food.

It is hoped that trainers for the not-for-profit Joy of Food scheme will inspire others while offering advice and practical support on simple ways to enjoy a more balanced and varied diet.

The cookery courses, which are currently taking place on a regular basis throughout the county, aim to demonstrate how to use a wide range of techniques and ingredients.

Whilst a number of trainers have already volunteered, more trainers are required especially in west Norfolk. Each volunteer is being asked to commit to a minimum of one three-hour session per week. Anyone can apply to become a trainer, from keen amateurs to professional chefs; the only requirement is a love of cookery and a genuine passion for food.

Trainers will be required to teach small classes in community venues, such as village halls, pub kitchens and children’s centres.

A spokesman for the project explained that they are aiming to recruit individuals who possess a good knowledge of food and cookery and who are comfortable standing before a group of people and passing on what the know. The trainers will also be passionate about cookery and be keen to inspire others.

Organisers are planning to launch more specialist cookery courses to supplement the basic workshops. These are expected to include courses devoted to chicken, fish and bread making as well as a workshop dedicated specifically to cooking on a tight budget.

A public health official for NHS Norfolk explained that a well-balanced diet plays a really important role in helping to prevent poor health. It is hoped that the programme inspire a variety of different people who have never taken responsibility for cooking their own meals.

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Unhealthy diets cost the NHS £12bn every year

A recent study has identified that poor diets cost the NHS almost twice as much as the combined effect of alcohol and cigarettes.

The research, which was conducted by the WHO and Oxford University, concluded that, of the various lifestyle choices, poor diet and obesity now place the biggest economic load on the NHS.

Whilst experts acknowledged that the health risks associated with excess drinking and smoking are high, because a much higher proportion of the population have unhealthy diets, the overall impact on the NHS is much larger.

Whilst the proportion of adults that smoke has fallen by 50% in the last 40 years, the levels of obesity have increased four-fold, with 25% of adults now considered obese.

Poor diet and obesity have been linked to a number of different diseases including, most cancers, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The problem is being blamed on the erosion of basic cookery skills and an over-reliance on junk food. The average diet now contains excess levels of sugar and fat and this has increased the risk of acquiring many diseases.

For many people, the issue is that they eat too much and this leads to obesity which is related to a variety of health issues. However, there are also those who look healthy and slim, yet the fat and salt content in their diet places them at high risk of heart disease, stroke and other health conditions associated with elevated blood pressure

The research, which was financed by the British Heart Foundation, estimates that the cost of alcohol related diseases is £3.3bn, which is roughly the same as the cost of treatments associated with alcohol.

A spokesperson for the National Obesity Form explained that the staggering cost of managing diseases related to Britain’s poor diets was threatening to breach NHS budgets.

Those looking to improve their cookery skills can book themselves onto a cookery course.