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Medical Science students' Christmas challenge - to stay off the chocs!


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Spare a thought for De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students while you’re gorging on minced pies and guzzling mulled wine over the Christmas period.
 
FOOD INSET 1 - gingerbrea
Munch a gingerbread man and you've just eaten 330 calories' worth of carbs and fat

For while most of us are enthusiastically enjoying a month of festive indulgence, third-year Medical Science students – and tutors – are carefully following a strict regimen as part of a challenge to gain a greater understanding of the difficulties faced by obese people.
 
Around 25 students and lecturers launched their 21-Day Healthy Lifestyle Challenge on December 5 – meaning the feat includes Christmas Day.
 
So while you’re devouring turkey legs or taking a post-dinner snooze on the sofa on December 25, DMU students will be notching up 10,000 steps or working-out to a fitness DVD.

FOOD INSET mulled wine
Each glass of mulled wine contains 227 calories

Dr Louise Dunford, a senior lecturer and the programme leader for Medical Science at the university, said: “We will all have to stay well-motivated. Recommend daily or weekly targets are not always as easy to achieve as they sound so this will be good test of willpower and discipline.”
 
The idea for the challenge came about while Dr Dunford was on a recent research visit to a Philadelphia university and an American academic explained how a similar challenge had benefited their students.
 
And Dr Dunford is joining her students for the challenge by attempting 10,000 steps a day – or 210,000 steps over the duration of the challenge, the equivalent of walking from Leicester to London (99.43 miles).
 
The NHS recommends people to do more than 150 minutes of exercise every week to stay healthy and says if you do manage 10,000 steps a day you will have exceeded that target. The average person walks around 3,500 steps a day.
 
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Other students will be maintaining the discipline of eating five-a-day of fruit and vegetables for 21 days running, while giving up crisps for the three-week period is another participant’s aim. They will be keeping food diaries to chart their progress and a Facebook group has been set up for all the challengers to share their experiences.
 
“People who are obese or morbidly obese are sometimes given these types of challenge to help them towards weight loss and we felt it would give the students a greater understanding of the difficulties faced and the emotions they go through,” Dr Dunford added.
 
American dietician and health blogger Sheryl Lozicki, who has more than 15,200 Twitter followers, has joined the Facebook group and will be offering encouragement to the students.
 
Pedometers and fitness DVDs for the feat have been provided thanks to a DMU Teaching Innovation Project grant.
 
The challenge ends on Boxing Day ­– a well-deserved second-helping of Christmas pud would surely not be begrudged?
Posted on Friday 23rd December 2016

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