Members of the Gurkha and Nepalese community who traditionally suffer from specific health problems recently received an award for taking action to improve their own health.
More than 80 members of the Gurkha and Nepalese community received Bronze and Silver medals for successfully walking the Gurkha Marathon Challenge which started in Spring 2014.
The Gurkha Challenge was organised by Dr Vinod Patel and the Diabetes team at the George Eliot Hospital in partnership with Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council. The aim of the project is to improve the health and wellbeing of the local Gurkha community and to encourage them to take more physical exercise such as walking/running, eating a healthy diet and losing weight, which would help to reduce the risks of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and many cancers.
The project was started with the local Nepalese group last April coinciding with the 2014 London Marathon. The project was planned with the Nepalese community leader, Om Gurung and also involved Surinder Jassi, Health Inequalities lead for Nuneaton Borough Council, Amanda Campbell-Baker from Nuneaton & Bedworth Leisure Trust, Jane Wright, Health & Wellbeing Manager for Community Services and Rikesh Mistry from Warwickshire Race Equality Partnerships.
Participants in the challenge were encouraged to walk a mile each day to help improve their health.
Those that walked 26 miles within a month completed the Gurkha Challenge. Everyone taking part also received healthy eating advice and tips to get fitter.
Bronze and Silver medals were awarded at the event to those that completed the challenge. Bronze Awards were given to everyone that completed 26 miles of walking within a month. Silver Awards were given to over 60 people that incredibly completed five separate 26 mile challenges over the last few months.
Many of the Gurkha community were already noticing a difference to their health. Some reported that they had lost weight and others had seen a difference with stiff joints. Many had just had fun enjoying the challenge.
Om Gurung, a Gurkha Veteran who helped organise the challenge said: “The event was originally set up to help community members with Diabetes but it has also been about keeping fit and healthy.”
George Eliot Hospital Diabetes Consultant, Dr Vinod Patel said: “Well done to everyone that received a medal. This is the first initiative of its kind in the country to support our Gurkha Community.
“It was so fantastic to see so many people turn out to receive their awards and more importantly tell us how the Gurkha Challenge is making a difference to their health.”
A third phase is to take place this summer. The challenge will be to complete the 26 miles, 10 times. Everyone will have their weight, blood pressure and blood sugars checked again and awarded with Gold Medals if they complete this phase.