Health and weight

Sean - Interview 37

Age at interview: 20

Brief outline: Sean said that he needs to lose weight and after searching the web for information he started a training routine that consists of running and cardio exercises. He tries to do it four times a week. Sean thinks that the NHS needs to do more to help overweight young people like him to get the advice and help they need to lose weight. Ethnic background: Black Caribbean.

Background: See 'brief outline'.

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Sean is 20 years old and is currently on a gap year before going on to university to study law. He works as a volunteer with a charity named Tower Hamlets Summer University as a youth ambassador and a peer motivator. The charity run free courses for young people during the summer. After he graduates he wants to become either a full-time lawyer, journalist or go into business.
Sean came to Britain from the Caribbean 5 years ago and says that since coming here he has put on weight because he walks less than he used to and is eating less healthy food. Back in Caribbean he used to snack on fruit and eat at home after school, but here he tends to go with his friends from college to buy lunch from take away places. He admits that he had a more active life when he was living in the Caribbean. When he started college here he found that activities like PE were not compulsory and that unlike Caribbean students here were able to opt out.
For several months now, Sean has been trying to lose weight. He is exercising and trying to eat healthier food. He went to his doctor hoping to get advice on nutrition and to find out where he could go to seek help with losing weight but his doctor provided him with information he already had obtained from the internet. So, he found his GP not that helpful and says that one of the problems faced by young people who are overweight is that there seems to be no help or support out there for them.
He thinks the NHS needs to do more preventative work with the overweight young people by providing the support and information that will enable them to lose excess weight. He says that there seems to be enough help for the people who have gotten too obese but not for young people like him.
Sean sees the need for a campaign to advertise what is available for overweight young people. He thinks that the NHS should start a texting campaign informing young people about weight management programmes in their area.
Sean has found useful information on the internet about how to motivate himself to get up an exercise but says that there are also plenty of other sites on the net that are only interested in selling you their gym equipment. It can be discouraging to be given the message that unless you have money you can’t do it properly. Luckily he found one particular site that encouraged people to use items easily found in the home as substitutes like cans can be use for weights.
Sean has gradually built up his exercise routine. He does cardio exercises and tries to run four times a week. At the beginning of his training he found that he could do just a few minutes before getting breathless but he has gradually increased his running time to 20 minutes. What motivates Sean to get fitter is the fact that he feels unhealthy and wants to change the way he lives. He hasn’t loss any weight but feels fitter.
Sean thinks that what is not helping him to lose his excess weight is the family diet. His mother cooks at weekends but the rest of the week they tend to rely on ready-made meals. He says that it doesn’t work to go running and then have a pizza for dinner. He basically has to eat what is in the house and sometimes the options are not very healthy
Sean has also identified eating too often when at home and spending too much time on his computer or watching television as the two main causes that have let him to put on weight.
Sean is hoping to lose 35 pounds. He went for an Army career but was told that he needed to lose that many pounds before they would considered him. So he thinks this is a good example of how excess weight can interfere with the things you want to do in life.


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