A health scheme that was trialled in Rutland has been deemed a success and is being launched nationwide.
Two hundred people took part in the Flora pro.activ It Takes Rutland challenge in a bid to lower their cholesterol.
The challenge lasted for three weeks and included one-to-one healthy eating consultations, healthy recipe tips and a range of group fitness activities, offered by Uppingham School Fitness Centre and Rutland Cycling.
The organisers were delighted with the results as 82 per cent of the participants lowered their cholesterol.
The scheme is now being rolled out across the country in the hope that the county has inspired everyone to improve their health.
The programme was launched in January, with the slogan “smallest county in England making the biggest difference”.
Dietitian Jacqui Morrell, who advised the community on how to adapt their diets during the challenge, said: “Cutting back on saturated fats, introducing cholesterol-lowering foods into your diet and being more active is easier than people think, and fun when you do it together.
“A healthy community is a strong community, and we hope Rutland will inspire the nation to take up the Flora pro.activ cholesterol challenge.”
Janet Whitfield, who took the challenge in Rutland, said: “I had no clue what my cholesterol number was. Cholesterol is just one of those things that isn’t talked about.
“When I found out it was raised, I was shocked, so I joined the challenge.
“I thought the challenge might be quite time-consuming and hard work, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that just simple changes to diet and lifestyle made a big difference.
“Now my cholesterol level has been reduced, I will be continuing with the programme to maintain a healthy heart.”
Six out of 10 adults in the UK have raised cholesterol, one of the main causes of coronary heart disease.
TV chef, Phil Vickery, TV personality Andrea McLean and interiors expert Linda Barker are all working with Flora pro.activ after being inspired by Rutland.
Phil said: “I had no idea what my cholesterol level was until I was tested, but learning about the results achieved in Rutland has been interesting and inspiring.
“As I now know my number, I am taking on the Flora pro.activ It Takes a Village challenge myself; cooking heart-healthy dinners for myself and the family.
“I will also be encouraging friends and family to do the same now I know how simple it can be to get your number down.”
For more information on the It Takes a Village challenge and to download the three-week challenge, visit www.floraproactiv.com
You can order a free cholesterol-lowering starter kit which includes support and motivation, recipe ideas and Flora pro.activ coupons to help on your cholesterol-lowering journey.