Hospital vending machines: helping people make healthier choices

Public Health England | July 2018 | Hospital vending machines: helping people make healthier choices

Public Health England (PHE) findings from research into how changes to vending machine product availability and positioning across Leeds Teaching Hospital altered purchasing choices.
vending machine

Behavioural Insights experts in DHSC (Department of Health and Social Care) and Public Health England collaborated with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Selecta to run a trial in 17 cold drink and mixed snack vending machines. The trial tested in 2 phases: whether changing the availability or positioning of products within the vending machines could encourage healthier choices and whether that was economically viable (Source: Public Health England).

The analysis is available from Public Health England (PHE)

Mothers who follow five healthy habits may reduce risk of obesity in children

Science Daily | July 2018 | Mothers who follow five healthy habits may reduce risk of obesity in children

Mums who adhere to five healthy habits may help to reduce their children’s risk of obesity, finds a new study published in the BMJ. Reserachers examined the association between maternal healthy lifestyle  and the risk of developing obesity in offspring.

The Harvard study found that mothers who eat healthily, maintain a healthy body weight, exercise regularly, drink alcohol in moderation and do not smoke have a reduced risk factor (75 per cent less likely) of becoming obese when compared with peers who did not follow such healthy habits (via Science Daily).



Objective To examine the association between an overall maternal healthy lifestyle (characterized by a healthy body mass index, high quality diet, regular exercise, no smoking, and light to moderate alcohol intake) and the risk of developing obesity in offspring.

Design Prospective cohort studies of mother-child pairs.

Setting Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII) and Growing Up Today Study (GUTS) in the United States.

Participants 24 289 GUTS participants aged 9-14 years at baseline who were free of obesity and born to 16 945 NHSII women.

Main outcome measure Obesity in childhood and adolescence, defined by age and sex specific cutoff points from the International Obesity Task Force. Risk of offspring obesity was evaluated by multivariable log-binomial regression models with generalized estimating equations and an exchangeable correlation structure.

Results 1282 (5.3%) offspring became obese during a median of five years of follow-up. Risk of incident obesity was lower among offspring whose mothers maintained a healthy body mass index of 18.5-24.9 , engaged in at least 150 min/week of moderate/vigorous physical activities , did not smoke, and consumed alcohol in moderation, compared with the rest. Maternal high quality diet (top 40% of the Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 diet score) was not significantly associated with the risk of obesity in offspring. When all healthy lifestyle factors were considered simultaneously, offspring of women who adhered to all five low risk lifestyle factors had a 75% lower risk of obesity than offspring of mothers who did not adhere to any low risk factor. This association was similar across sex and age groups and persisted in subgroups of children with various risk profiles defined by factors such as pregnancy complications, birth weight, gestational age, and gestational weight gain. Children’s lifestyle did not significantly account for the association between maternal lifestyle and offspring obesity risk, but when both mothers and offspring adhered to a healthy lifestyle, the risk of developing obesity fell further.

Conclusion Our study indicates that adherence to a healthy lifestyle in mothers during their offspring’s childhood and adolescence is associated with a substantially reduced risk of obesity in the children. These findings highlight the potential benefits of implementing family or parental based multifactorial interventions to curb the risk of childhood obesity.

The full article is available from the BMJ 

Full reference:

Klodian, D. Haines JessLiu GangZhangCuilinWang XiaobinField Alison E et al.| 2018| Association between maternal adherence to healthy lifestyle practices and risk of obesity in offspring: results from two prospective cohort studies of mother-child pairs in the United States 


Second’s out, round two: Is the government’s latest childhood obesity plan a knockout?

The King’s Fund | June 2018 | Second’s out, round two: Is the government’s latest childhood obesity plan a knockout?

A new blog post on The King’s Fund website reviews the Government’s Obesity plan, chapter 2.  It questions whether it is any better than the first. It uses the Health and Social Care Committee’s refreshed recommendations to assess it.  The blog post includes a table that shows how the updated plan measures up against the Committee’s key asks (Source: The King’s Fund)

 The post can be read in full here 

Related: Childhood obesity: a plan for action Chapter 2

Healthy weight, healthy futures: Local government action to tackle childhood obesity

Local Government Association|  June 2018 | Healthy weight, healthy futures: local government action to tackle childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is one of the biggest health challenges of the 21st century. At the start of primary school one in 10 children are obese and by the end, that has increased to one in five.

Healthy weight, healthy futures
Image source:

The Local Government Association (LGA)’s publication of Healthy weight, healthy futures: Local government action to tackle childhood obesity’ updates the earlier, 2016 edition (February 2016).

This publication showcases the wide variety of ways, that the sector is working with their colleagues in planning to not only restrict takeaways, but also working proactively to ensure new developments take into account health and wellbeing. Some are focussing on getting children physically active and the latest figures suggest less than a quarter of children are achieving the required levels.

Meanwhile, others are concentrating on food and diet. In doing so, they are forging important partnerships with early years settings, schools, community groups and local businesses (Source: LGA).

Studies from Sheffield, Leeds and Wakefield City Councils are included

Healthy weight, healthy futures: local government action to tackle childhood obesity can be downloaded from Local Government Association

Healthier weight promotion

A set of training tools providing evidence-based healthy weight messages for health and social care professionals to give to children, young people and families | Public Health England

The resources consist of:

The target audience for these resources is health and care professionals but they will be accessible to the wider public health workforce. This suite of resources is part of Public Health England’s All Our Health ‘call to action’ for health and care professionals.


Researchers predict almost 1 in 4 people worldwide to be obese by 2045 if current rates continue

University College London| June 2018 | Almost 1 in 4 people worldwide to be obese by 2045

Research presented in Austria at the recent European Congress on Obesity in Vienna, Austria (23-26 May) indicates that if obesity levels continue at their current rates, 25 per cent of the population will be obese by 2045.


Researchers from University College London (UCL), Medical Anthropology, were involved in the discovery that to prevent of type 2 diabetes from going above 10% in 2045, global obesity levels must be reduced by 25%, from 14% to just over 10%.

For example, in the United Kingdom, current trends predict that obesity will rise from 32% today to 48% in 2045, while diabetes levels will rise from 10.2% to 12.6%, a 28% rise. To stabilise UK diabetes rates at 10%, obesity prevalence must fall from 32% to 24% (via UCL).
The full news item is available from UCL