We are a nation united by the fight against Covid-19 right now and drastic measures are in place and are completely necessary.

But this isn't New Zealand's sole health crisis. We lose too many Kiwis through heart disease, suicides and obesity-related causes, just to name some.

For the last two weeks, I've been among a dozen Kiwi celebrities and influencers participating in the MoveMeant Challenge on behalf of Diabetes NZ and Fitbit NZ.

The point was to compete and do as many steps as possible to raise awareness around diabetes in this country. The aim too was to inspire Kiwis to get outdoors and get moving for the sake of their health (with appropriate social distancing, of course).


By the way, I came third, but the bigger idea was to raise awareness. So I'll let go of my bruised ego from being beaten!

Let me just bring the spotlight briefly on diabetes.

There are 250,000 Kiwis who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (20 per cent) and type 2 (80 per cent). There are believed to be about 100,000 people living with undiagnosed type 2. So that's a lot of Kiwis living with this health crisis right now.

Type 2, by the way, can often be prevented or cured by a healthy lifestyle, while type 1 is an autoimmune disease that can occur in anyone, any time, that cannot be prevented.
Type 2 diabetes also has serious complications. It can do serious damage including blindness, kidney damage, stroke and limb amputations.

"During a five-year period, 4388 amputations were performed," says Diabetes NZ spokeswoman Jo Chapman.

So, while I was doing my daily steps these past two weeks, it got me thinking that our health really is our true wealth. If we don't have our health, we don't really have anything. If we aren't healthy it makes us susceptible to more disease and more disability too.

While you are all in lockdown in your homes, I urge you to kick-start your health journey. Do it in some small way. But do it because you realise this life you have is precious and you want to be able to make the most of it. Here are some tips to start:

* Try walking in your neighbourhood with appropriate social distancing, or on a treadmill, for 5-10-minute blocks. Build it up by a few minutes each day. You'll love seeing how you feel stronger quite quickly.


* Vow to eat a pile of green leafy vegetables at least once daily. You can put this in a green smoothie or it in a meal.

* Better still, kick-start a healthy habit with a mate. You can keep each other inspired and accountable and share your success.

— Rachel is a wellness expert and author of the science-backed wellness book Balance: Food, Health and Happiness. inspiredhealth.co.nz and Instagram @rachelgrunwell