Skip to main content

Many of us take the opportunity of the New Year to think about how we want to improve our health and wellbeing in the year ahead.

First published:
31 December 2019
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, says the key to lasting change is to get support, whether from friends and family or from the many programmes designed to help. 

Dr Atherton said:

One of the top new year’s resolutions is to quit smoking, which we know is really difficult habit to break, but it is one of the best things you’ll ever do for your health. We know that you’re up to four times more likely to succeed in your efforts to give up smoking with free NHS support than you are by going it alone, so take your first step towards a healthier 2020 by contacting Help me Quit, the free NHS Wales service.  Call 0800 085 2219, Text HMQ to 80818 or visit for free, effective and tailored help and support. 

We know that physical activity is hugely beneficial to our health, both in terms of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and contributing to our happiness and wellbeing. Even relatively small increases in physical activity can improve our health and quality of life, and it doesn’t have to be working out at the gym or running marathons, unless that’s enjoyable and achievable for individuals. Gardening, walking, carrying shopping all count, so try to incorporate more activity into everyday life wherever possible and you’ll feel the benefit.

He added:

The start of a new year is often a time when we think about our weight, and it’s a fact that achieving a healthy weight is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of long term health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancers. Changing daily lifestyle habits can be challenging, but it can be done, and our new plan to tackle obesity sets out the ways in which we will help people to break old habits and create healthy new ones. Embedding healthy behaviours from a young age is key, so if one of your resolutions is to help your children live a healthy life, Every Child Wales provides lots of ideas to get you on the right track. 

The new year is also a good time to think about how we can reduce our alcohol intake in order to reduce the risks to our health.  With January just around the corner, giving up alcohol for just one month can have some amazing health benefits including better sleep, more money in your pocket, healthier insides, more energy, brighter skin and much more.