Health – Global and Local
Throughout the year there are a number of special days or weeks when we are prompted to remember or fund-raise or celebrate particular health-related themes. Some are more well-known than others. Here are a few for April from the serious to the frivolous, to provoke some thinking!
World Health Day – 7 April
Over the last two years we have heard more about the World Health Organisation (WHO) than ever before. WHO declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020, and a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Since then it has overseen research and development of all aspects of the disease, to support countries in their actions. However WHO has been engaged in many different programmes of work since its formation on 7 April 1948, as a specialized agency of the United Nations. WHO’s core aim is to ‘Work for better health for everyone, everywhere’. Globally, life expectancy has increased by 25 years since 1950. In 2016, 6 million fewer children died before they reached their fifth birthday than in 1990. Smallpox has been defeated and polio is on the verge of eradication. Many countries have successfully eliminated measles, malaria and debilitating tropical diseases. So there is much to celebrate on 7 April this year. For 2022 WHO has set theme of: ‘Our planet, our health’. WHO will focus global attention on the interconnectedness between the planet and our health. For more information go to https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2022
For more information about what the WHO does go to https://www.who.int/about/what-we-do/who-brochure
International carrot day – 4th April
Who knew there was a day to celebrate the humble carrot! We certainly eat a lot of them in the UK, with the carrot being second to the potato as the most loved vegetable (according to Yahoo News). With so many being eaten it would be good to know that carrots are a good source of essential elements of nutrition. Perhaps some of us have been told that they help us to see in the dark. This myth was propaganda used by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War to explain why their pilots had improved success during night air battles, but it was actually used to disguise advances in radar technology and the use of red lights on instrument panels. Find out more on this story here… However there is a reason that this myth was believed. Carrots contain beta carotene and this is used to produce Vitamin A in our bodies. According to the NHS, Vitamin A is essential for eye health, in particular to produce the pigments at the back of the eye and to help us see in dim light. Vitamin A is essential in keeping our immune system in good order (an advantage in the last 2 years) and also good for the skin.
Day of the mushroom – 16 April
And another surprise – there’s a Day of the Mushroom! At one time a mushroom just meant the round white button version, but now there are many types, with exotic names eg – crimini, maitake, enoki. Mushrooms are fungi and not vegetables and have some real health benefits. They are a good source of Vitamin D, also reputed to be good for our immune system. When they are grown, exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, either from sunlight or a UV lamp, mushrooms increase their concentration of vitamin D. In fact, according to BBC Good Food, you can even increase the amount of Vitamin D by leaving mushrooms out on the counter in direct sunlight for 15-120 minutes. They also contain Vitamin B, of which there are many types, with a range of health benefits, including heart health and helping our bodies use the food we eat to produce energy. (NHS) Mushrooms are low in calories but high in taste and also contain some protein.
So in April perhaps we should celebrate improvements in global health, but also improve our own health with plenty of carrots and mushrooms!
Wedmore Health & Wellbeing Project