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Issue:-  16/17June 2010

British Red Cross launches Facebook poll campaign to end destitution

THE British Red Cross has launched a social media online poll campaign to highlight destitution among refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.

The “Look Beyond the Label” campaign urges people to call for an end of destitution among asylum seekers in the UK, by registering a vote on the charity’s website.

The campaign is fronted by an interactive viral video featuring Hollywood stars Dougray Scott (Mission Impossible II, Desperate Housewives and new ITV1 series, Father & Son); Karen David (Waterloo Road, Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior, Waterloo Road, upcoming BBC series Game Over and singer whose new single Hypnotize is doing well on the charts) and stand up comedian Stephen K Amos whose new show starts on BBC 2 this summer.

Karen said:- “As an actress and musician I am constantly aware of the world around me as I draw inspiration from my experiences. It pains me that in this day, in our country there are thousands of people seeking refugee in the free world, yet denied of proper housing, healthcare, food and employment.”

The launch of the British Red Cross initiative comes ahead of this year’s Refugee Week. The Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrates the contribution of refugees in the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.

Margaret O'Donnell, British Red Cross head of digital media said:- “Our campaign seeks to harness the power of social networks and address real issues on digital media platforms.  This year we are asking people to look beyond labels like 'refugee' and 'asylum seeker' and use their online networks to advocate for an end to destitution in the UK.   Now, more than ever, people can make their voices heard by taking a stand using social media. Sharing, tweeting and discussing the issues of destitution and asylum, allows people to speak out in their own digital communities to ask for change to a process that results in thousands of people each year living in destitution."

The launch of the social network campaign also coincides with the publication of a British Red Cross survey which shows that 25% of British people still believe asylum seekers come to Britain to claim benefits.  According an ICM poll for the British Red Cross, even though 89% correctly said the definition of an asylum seeker is someone fleeing persecution in their own country, 28%still thought an asylum seeker is someone who has come to this country to illegally look for work.

The results of the poll – which surveyed over 2,000 people - show conflicting opinions and a lack of knowledge about the legal definition of asylum.  The results of the ICM poll for the British Red Cross have been published ahead of this year’s Refugee Week (14 June to 20 June 2010). The Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrates the contribution of refugees in the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.

The 10 minutes that could save men’s lives

A city medic is urging men across the region to take 10 minutes a week to think about ways in which they could improve their health in the run-up to Men’s Health Week.

Dr Jim O’Connor, Medical Director for NHS Liverpool Community Health, believes men could go a long way in protecting themselves against obesity and cardiovascular disease if they regularly took 10 minutes to think about ways in which they could improve their health. 

He says:- “These days, most people are so busy, both at home and at work, that we adopt a ‘head in the sand’ attitude to our health.  But people who are overweight or obese are more at risk of developing high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your health. Losing just 10 per cent of your current weight will go some way towards lowering your risk of developing those diseases in the future.”

Dr O’Connor suggests sitting down with a pen, paper, and a calculator and working out the following calculations:-

1) Body Mass Index:- “Have you calculated your body mass index lately?

It’s easy to do – just follow these three easy steps:-

a) Work out your height in metres and multiply the figure by itself;

b) Measure your weight in kilograms;

c) Divide the weight by the height squared (i.e., the answer to point a). The figure you’re left with is your body mass index." 
says Dr O’Connor.

2) Waist Circumference:- “Your waist circumference is another way of measuring your risk of factors for heart disease and other conditions,. To measure your size, place a measuring tape snugly around your waist. If your waist circumference measures more than 40 inches, your risk of illness increases and you should seek advice from your GP.” says Dr O’Connor.

3) Waist-hip ratio:- “Another way of measuring your risk is to look at the ratio of your waist circumference to your hip circumference.  If the ratio is more than 1.0 for a man, again the risk of obesity and some of the problems associated with it are increased.”  said Dr O’Connor.

Anyone who finds their calculations mean they may be at risk is advised to try and adopt a healthier lifestyle including appropriate diet and exercise.

If unsure about steps to take seek advice from your Practice Nurse or GP.

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