July 15, 2014
by Kahaliah Richards
A brand new, clinician-led, community-based health initiative that firmly targets the prevention of metabolic diseases, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, was launched in London yesterday. The initiative, called Bite the Sun, aims to inspire radical changes in diet and lifestyle norms that have become customary in industrialised countries. These are now widely accepted as being among the most important contributors to the chronic disease epidemic presently threatening the function and viability of healthcare services.
“There is ever wider recognition that community engagement is needed if we’re to impact the continuing rise of preventable chronic diseases,” said Robert Verkerk PhD, science director of Bite the Sun. “Top-down policy measures serve as useful guidance, but so far they’ve had little or no impact on the spiralling incidence of so-called ‘diabesity’ in the UK and other Western countries.”
Bite the Sun offers a web-based knowledge and information gateway for members of its community, complete with built-in software to track diet, physical activity, rest and sleep patterns. A dynamic social media interface allows sharing and exchange of experiences, outcomes and information between members.
Speaking at the launch, Meleni Aldridge, nutrition and clinical psychoimmunology (cPNI) practitioner – and managing director of Bite the Sun – explained:
“One of the biggest challenges is compliance with a diet, activity and rest plan that is both optimal and sustainable for a given individual. Bite the Sun’s ethos is based on using a multi-factorial approach that puts equal emphasis on diet, activity and rest.
“Our tracking app, the Bite Monitor, is key to this. As is the use of clinically established techniques to incentivise and support people on their journey.”
Commercial director, Adele Wolstenhulme – also a nutritional and cPNI practitioner – commented:
“Today’s launch in London is just the start. We’re in the process of establishing a global community of members. We’re also building strategic alliances with non-governmental organisations and community groups, along with companies whose products have been carefully screened for compatibility with our approach.”
“We’re convinced that bottom-up, grassroots sharing of positive experiences and outcomes can be a more powerful agent of change than top-down edicts from governments,” said Aldridge.
Verkerk added: “Members who elect to share their data anonymously will contribute to powerful research on the effectiveness of our approach. We’re very optimistic, given what we’ve seen in smaller groups in recent years.”
About Bite the Sun
Bite the sun is anchored around a dynamic web hub and social media gateway. A gateway that provides people with the information, motivational tools, and community support to help combine their nutrition, physical activity, rest and peace of mind – in a way that works best for them. Bursting with easy to follow information, articles and recipes, the Bite the Sun website provides consistent advice across all three ‘Rays of Health’: food, activity and rest. It specialises in translating complex information into engaging, ‘bite-sized’ pieces for both the health novice and health nut.
The Bite the Sun team is made up of experienced healthcare practitioners and experts, who bring together the latest and most relevant science with their own clinical experience of what really works – even for those who are typically labelled as ‘non-responders’ by doctors and other healthcare practitioners. Bite the Sun addresses head-on those barriers that typically get in the way of people becoming really healthy, happy, fit or trim.
Members drive their Bite the Sun journey from their personal dashboard that allows logging and tracking of their health status, monitoring of metabolic risk and checking in with their inner guidance and emotional awareness. The heavy work is seamlessly carried out by an integral app – the Bite Monitor – that translates data entered on diet, activity and rest into easy and intuitive graphical displays. Archive views are available to see exactly what progress is being made along the way, especially if lifestyle shifts, abundant throughout the site, are being incorporated.
Members can either journey along the data-led ‘track me’ pathway to vital health, or they have the option to choose the softer, intuitive, ‘engage me’ pathway. What’s more, if members opt-in, their anonymised data will be used for research into the multi-modality diet, lifestyle and emotional shifts explored by Bite the Sun – research that could be instrumental in influencing public health policy for the better.
Bite the Sun aims to deliver the ‘holy grail’ of self-care and is about helping individuals to shift gears. With its guidance, ample explanations, groundbreaking, in-built, monitoring system, as well as its community, Bite the Sun has the power to transform lives in a way and on a scale not previously realised. The vibrant health that we’re all capable of — that’s been lost by so many — is now within the grasp of all who choose it!
About Clinical Psychoneuroimmunology (cPNI)
Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is a rapidly emerging medical and scientific discipline that studies the interactions of the three ‘super systems’ of the body, namely the mind (psycho-), the nervous (neuro-) and immune (immunology) systems. Critical to these interactions is the fourth ‘super system’, the endocrine system, that controls the interactions as well as our adaptation and resilience to our ever-changing environment. Clinical PNI (cPNI) is the application of this knowledge to a clinical setting, using ‘hard science and soft skills’ to help patients understand the relevance of particular pathways and to suggest interventions that can help to restore balance and homeostasis. PNI respects that we are unable to separate ourselves from our evolutionary and genomic heritage, and recognises the importance of epigenetics – the influence of individual environment on gene expression – on our health status at any point in time. As such, a cPNI approach centres on patient engagement with interventions that focus on nutritional, psychological and lifestyle modulation. The approach aims in particular to broaden the adaptive, psychological and metabolic flexibility and resilience of each individual within the bounds of his or her epigenetic capacity.
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