SKILLS ACADEMY WALES
AN INTRODUCTION TO WELLBEING
As young people mature, there are lots of pressures relating to their personal
health which involve emotional and physical wellbeing. Skills Academy Wales
will provide you with a programme designed to help you make informed
decisions and choices about your own wellbeing.
In this booklet you will find information on, and gain knowledge and
Section 1: Healthy eating and drinking, and physical exercise that can
help you make healthy lifestyle choices.
Section 2: Different types of substance abuse and misuse, and their
consequences that can encourage responsible attitudes and behaviours.
Section 3: Mental health awareness and different types of emotional
and social health issues that can help your mental and emotional
Section 4: Sexual health issues and how to develop a responsible
attitude towards sexuality.
Suggested activities and resources to help you get the most out of this booklet
Alcohol awareness quiz
Calendar of events
Partner notice boards and displays
Partner communication systems eg moodle, e-mails
List of local clubs/societies
Links and useful contacts
A healthy, balanced diet is essential for good health and wellbeing. What can
we do to get the balance right that will make a difference to our health?
Eat the right amount of calories; if you eat too much you will put on
weight. The recommended amount for men is around 2500 calories per
day and around 2000 calories per day for women.
Choosing to eat a variety of foods not only improves general wellbeing,
but can also reduce the risk of some health conditions, including
diabetes, stroke, heart disease, some cancers and osteoporosis.
By steering clear of ready-made foods, snacks and takeaways you can
decrease the amount of salt, sugar and fat which are believed to
increase cholesterol and block our arteries.
Take a look at the “Eat well Plate” which shows how to get a balanced diet
from different food groups.
As you can see the plate is made up of five food groups:
Fruit and vegetables
Bread, rice, potatoes and other starchy foods
Milk and dairy foods
Foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar
Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
Follow the advice below:
Drink plenty of water, about 2 litres a day (6-8 glasses)
Base your meals on starchy foods such as pasta, potatoes, cereals, rice
and bread, which should take up about one third of the foods you eat.
Use wholegrain bread and keep the skin on potatoes, which increases
fibre. Don’t add fat and these foods will be relatively low in calories.
Cut down on foods which are high in fat. There are two types of fat,
saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat could increase the
risk of developing heart disease and cholesterol levels. Saturated fat is
found in pies, sausages, hard cheese, butter, lard, ghee, crisps, sweets,
cakes and biscuits. Try low-fat options and food which contains
unsaturated fats eg oily fish and vegetable oils. Try trimming off any
visible fat from meats.
Eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and vegetables a day.
A 150ml glass of unsweetened 100% fruit juice can count as one
portion. You can have fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit in its own
juice also. Add fresh or frozen vegetables to cooked dishes eg tomatoes
to pasta. Choose a variety of fruit and vegetables; as well as providing
vitamins, minerals and fibre, the natural colours and flavours add
powerful anti-oxidants to our diet.
Eat less salt and sugar! Salt and sugar can be found in foods we eat
regularly eg breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces, so don’t add
these to your food. Most people in the UK eat and drink too much sugar
as in sugary foods and drinks, alcoholic drinks, fizzy drinks as well as
cakes, sweets, biscuits and pastries.
Try to choose lean meat and remove skin from chicken. Avoid frying
were possible. Try to include two portions of fish each week, one oily
(eg mackerel, trout, sardines, kippers). Choose fresh, frozen or canned,
but always check the label on canned fish as they may be high in salt.
Dairy products provide calcium but can be high in fat. Choose reduced
fat versions when possible eg semi-skimmed milk, low fat yoghourts,
low fat spreads and half fat cheese.
Useful tips for healthier eating
Super start your day – don’t skip breakfast
Swap it – swap a big dinner plate for a smaller one
Veg-tastic – try filling up on fruit and vegetables
Hungry or thirsty – a glass of water can take away that “hungry” feeling
Watch out for TV snacking
Eat a little slower
Look at the ingredients
Check for healthier options when eating out or having takeaways
Get steamy! Swap fried rice/noodles for steamed or boiled versions
Swap white rice and pasta for wholemeal versions
Swap white bread for wholegrain versions
Swap a thick crust pizza for a thin, crispy
Try healthier alternatives to takeaways – swap a doner for a shish kebab
instead (it contains a lot less fat)
Get some pulses into your meals – swap lasagne for chilli con carne, or
try adding lentils to soups
Test your BMI
BMI (body mass index) is a measure of whether you’re a healthy weight for
Use this BMI calculator to check:
What is an “eating disorder”?
An eating disorder is a mental health condition that involves an unhealthy
relationship with food and eating, and often an intense fear of being
overweight. Anyone can develop an eating disorder, regardless of age, sex,
cultural or racial backgrounds. Most affected tend to be young women
between 15 and 25 years of age. Around 10% of people with eating disorders
are men. There are several types of eating disorder, including:
People with eating disorders may experience one or more of the following:
Eating makes you feel upset, guilty or anxious
You’re secretive about your eating habits because you know they’re
You are preoccupied about food and gaining weight
You want to lose weight even when those around you worry that you
may be underweight
You give people the impression you’ve eaten when you haven’t
You make yourself vomit or use laxatives to lose weight
There are many factors which may result in an eating disorder:
Low self-esteem/lack of confidence
Traumatic events such as bereavement, being bullied, divorce, concerns
about sexuality etc.
What should you do if you think you have an eating disorder?
Talk to someone you trust
Talk to organisations with people who are qualified to talk to you (eg
beat 0845 634 1414 and Samaritans 0845 90 90 90)
Talk to your GP
Have a healthy body through exercise!
Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and can help with
boosting your mental wellbeing.
It’s important that people of all ages take part in some physical activity. It
doesn’t have to be vigorous eg walking, however it is advised that people
should partake in about two and a half hours of moderate aerobic activity a
Some popular forms of exercise may include:
Try to minimise the amount of time spent watching TV or playing computer
games and being “a couch potato”!
Exercise Top Tips
Try to do a combination of cardio-vascular and muscle-strengthening
exercise. Raise your heartbeat and get sweaty!
Every 10 minutes counts. Gradually build up to 150 minutes a week.
Try a combination of exercises so you don’t get bored.
Try walking or cycling to work or Centre.
Activity can be fun and social if you try new ways of being active with
friends and family.
Keep dancing! This is a fun way to burn energy.
Splash out! Another fun way to get active.
How about a bowling alley with friends or family?
Try a fitness class, which could be anything from aqua aerobics to
Zumba, body pump to Bollywood dancing, boxercise to pilates. Take
Try organised outdoor challenges like Duke of Edinburgh’ Award.
What is alcohol?
To make alcohol you need to put grains, fruits or vegetables through a process
called “fermentation”, resulting in the production of ethanol and carbon
dioxide. Ethanol features in the type of alcoholic drinks we drink.
With so many different types of drinks and glass sizes, from shots to pints – not
to mention bottles – it’s easy to get confused about how much alcohol we are
To help keep track on how much we drink, alcohol is measured in “units”,
which were introduced in the UK in 1987. But how many of us know what a
unit of alcohol actually is?
One unit equals 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol, which is around the amount of
alcohol the average adult can process in an hour. The size and strength of your
drink will determine the number of units it contains.
The strength of alcohol is referred to as ABV or alcohol by volume, and you will
see this written on the label of a bottle of alcohol eg wine may state 12.5%
ABV or 12.5% vol, which means that 12.5% of the volume of that bottle is pure
alcohol, and contains 9 units.
The recommended consumption for men is 3-4 units /day, and 2-3 for women.
The risks of drinking too much
Over-consumption of alcohol, known as “binge-drinking”, is when a person
drinks more than the guided amount in a short period of time to get drunk or
feel the effects of alcohol.
Alcohol isn’t any less powerful than other drugs, and can have many bad
It is a depressant, which slows the body’s responses in all kinds of ways
Just enough can make you feel sociable; too much and you’ll have a
hangover the next day and may not remember what you got up to
Too much alcohol in a single session could put you in a coma or even kill
you from alcoholic poisoning
Cause a wide range of health problems, including cancers, high blood
pressure, stroke, liver disease, falls and other accidents
Too much alcohol in a single session can leave you feeling out of control
– slurring your words, losing your balance and vomiting. You could also
breathe in your own vomit and suffocate
Alcohol can make you argumentative and aggressive, and take risks you
normally wouldn’t take eg unprotected sex
Alcohol contributes to all kinds of problems, from violent crime to
domestic violence to car-related deaths to missing work and
An estimate of around 40% of A & E admissions are alcohol-related illnesses or
injuries, often because of binge-drinking.
What are the long-term risks of drinking too much?
Regularly drinking more than the recommended daily limits risks damaging
your health, and it’s not only people who get drunk or binge-drink who are
Alcohol’s hidden harms usually only emerge after a number of years, by which
time serious health problems can have developed:
Liver problems - cirrhosis
High blood pressure
Various cancers – mouth, neck, throat, breast
Fatigue or depression
Damage to an unborn child where alcohol reaches the baby through
the placenta called foetal alcohol syndrome or FAS. Children with
FAS have restricted growth, facial abnormalities and
As well as health problems, long-term alcohol abuse can lead to social
problems such as:
Tips on cutting down
Make a plan. Before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you’re
going to drink
Set a budget. Only take a fixed amount of money to spend on alcohol
and pace yourself
Let them know. Tell your friends and family you’re cutting down and you
should gain their support
Take it a day at a time. Cut back a little each day - that way every day will
be a success
Make it a smaller one. Try bottled beer instead of pints, or a small glass
of wine instead of a large one
Have a lower strength. Swap strong beers or wines for ones with a lower
strength (ABV in %). Check the bottle
Stay hydrated. Drink water before you start drinking, and have soft
drinks as well. Try and have a glass or bottle of water on the table as well
as your alcoholic drink – this can help you to avoid dehydration. Eating
before you go out or while you are out will definitely help
Take a break. Have the odd day each week when you don’t have an
alcoholic drink. If you have drunk too much, you should avoid alcohol for
at least 48 hours to give your body a chance to recover
Benefits of cutting down
The immediate effects of cutting down include:
Feeling better in the mornings
Being less tired during the day
Your skin may start to look better
You’ll start to look fitter
You may stop gaining weight
Long term benefits include:
Mood – there’s a strong link between heavy drinking and depression,
and hangovers often make you feel anxious and low. If you already feel
anxious or sad, drinking can make this worse, so cutting down may put
you in a better mood generally
Sleep – although alcohol can help some people to fall asleep quickly, it
can disrupt your sleep patterns and stop you from sleeping deeply.
Cutting down on alcohol should help you feel more rested when you
Behaviour – drinking can affect your judgement and behaviour. You may
behave aggressively when you’re drunk. Memory loss can be a problem
during drinking and in the long term for regular heavy drinkers
Heart – long-term heavy drinking can lead to your heart becoming
enlarged. This condition can’t be reversed, but stopping drinking can
stop it getting worse
Immune system – heavy drinkers tend to catch more infectious diseases
Getting help cutting down
It’s not all doom and gloom! For most people, if you drink within the
guidelines, you have a lower risk of health harm. For some people, however,
drinking gradually gets out of control and the increased levels place them into
high risk and, for some, leads to dependence on alcohol.
Withdrawals from alcohol can be severe, with typical symptoms including
sweating, shaking, nausea and retching, in addition to high levels of anxiety,
delirium and hallucinations. There are many websites with helpful information
(see Links at end of booklet).
A healthy diet is good for your teeth; diet, smoking and alcohol all have an
effect on dental health.
Maintaining good oral hygiene can help to prevent dental problems, most
commonly dental cavities, gingivitis, gum disease and bad breath.
Recent clinical studies suggest oral disease may be a risk factor for some
serious health conditions like heart attack, stroke, diabetes and osteoporosis.
How can we help ourselves to maintain good dental health?
The “eat well plate” shows what types of foods should make up your
diet. Eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit and
vegetables; starchy foods such as pasta, rice, potatoes and bread;
sources of protein like meat, fish, eggs and beans; some milk and dairy
products. Only eat small amounts foods high in fat and sugar.
Reduce sugar to prevent tooth decay. A lot of sugar can be found in
foods such as sweets, chocolate, cakes, pastries and biscuits, sugary
breakfast cereals, ice cream and jam, and in drinks such as soft drinks,
fizzy drinks, alcohol and fruit juice.
Smoking can stain your teeth, cause bad breath and increases your risk
of gum disease, breathing problems, lung cancer and mouth cancer. So
give up smoking if you want to keep good dental and general health.
Alcohol misuse has been linked to an increased risk of developing mouth
cancer, particularly if you are a smoker as well. Alcohol can wear away
the outer surface of the teeth.
Wine, cigarette smoke, tea and coffee are all teeth-staining culprits –
keep these to a minimum.
Taking care of your general health and your mouth is the key to making the
most of your smile.
Teeth-cleaning is the removal of dental plaque and tartar from teeth to
prevent cavities, gingivitis, gum disease and tooth decay.
Severe gum disease causes at least one-third of adult tooth loss.
Flossing is an important element of oral hygiene, since it removes plaque
and decaying food stuck between the teeth.
Tongue cleaning removes bad-breath-generating bacteria, food
particles, fungi and dead cells from the tongue.
Chewing gum can help with removing food particles between and
around the teeth and to clean the surface of the teeth. Sugar-free dental
chewing gums are suggested.
It is recommended that you brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride
toothpaste and visiting your dentist for
regular check-ups can help keep your teeth