Feast your eyes, not your waistline, say GPs in new art exhibition

Publication date: 19 December 2018

Patients are being encouraged not to over-indulge this Christmas with the unveiling of a thought-provoking art installation at the Royal College of GPs.

'Feast' is a jacket made entirely from the leftover packaging from an average family Christmas Day dinner.

The meal typically contains around 7,000 calories - more than double the recommended daily allowance for men and women.

With millions of families indulging this Christmas, the College hopes the exhibit will serve as a reminder of the importance of eating healthily in the New Year, particularly as obesity and it’s related health problems threaten to overwhelm an already over-stretched NHS.

Feast is accompanied in the exhibition by another piece, Steve's Scarf, which is made of thousands of pills used by a patient to help treat his multi-morbidities, some of them as a direct result of poor diet and overeating.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Christmas is, of course, a very special time for celebration with our loved ones and a bit of indulgence every now and then is fine.

“GPs aren't killjoys but we do want our patients to live long, healthy lives and as a nation we're already eating more now than ever before, which is having a serious impact on the health and wellbeing of millions of people.

"GPs and our teams, and indeed the entire NHS, are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of patients presenting with complex conditions, including obesity, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes, caused by lifestyle factors such as bad diet and lack of exercise.

"Small lifestyle changes can often have the biggest impact, and we know that introducing some gentle exercise into a patient’s routine, eliminating a few unhealthy foods, or just getting more sleep each night can make a massive difference."

The 'Feast' dress is part of the What Once Was Imagined (WOWI) collection created by textile artist Susie Freeman and her long-time friend GP Dr Liz Lee - together known as Pharmacopoeia.

Working for more than 20 years, the pair have collected thousands of pills, drugs and tablet packets to illustrate the advancements of modern medicine, as well as its pitfalls and society's over-reliance on medication. The exhibition is free to view and will run in the public areas of the headquarters of the RCGP, 30 Euston Square, until May 2019.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, added: "It's a superb, thought-provoking exhibition, which explores several pertinent issues for general practice, one being the rising problem of multi-morbidity.

"It's so important that we continue to face these challenges head on as society, and realise the crucial part that each and every one of us plays in protecting and maintaining our health and wellbeing."

Further Information

For more information about the exhibition, visit the Exhibitions at RCGP page.

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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