Department of Health and Social Care| January 2019 | Funding for councils to develop local solutions to childhood obesity
The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that 13 local authorities will receive funding and support to develop innovative plans to reduce childhood obesity that can be shared across the country.
The work is part of the government’s Trailblazer programme, in partnership with the Local Government Association (LGA) supported by Public Health England. The programme will focus on inequalities and work closely with local authorities to:
test the limits of existing powers through innovative and determined action to tackle childhood obesity
share learning and best practice to encourage wider local action
develop solutions to local obstacles
consider further actions that government can take to support local action and achieve large-scale changes
The 3-year programme forms part of the second chapter of the government’s childhood obesity plan, launched in the summer.
This included the aim to halve childhood obesity and significantly reduce the gap in obesity between children from the most and least deprived areas by 2030. One in 3 children leaves primary school overweight or obese and children from the most deprived areas are more than twice as likely to be obese (Source: Department of Health and Social Care).
New report says the Government has failed to recognise and respond to the issues of hunger, malnutrition and obesity in the UK and should appoint a minister to ensure cross-departmental action. | Environmental Audit Committee
A new report finds that food insecurity in the UK, defined as “limited access to food … due to lack of money or other resources”, is significant and growing. Levels are among the worst in Europe, especially for children, with 19% of under 15s living with an adult who is moderately or severely food insecure.
The Committee heard how food insecurity can lead to both malnutrition and obesity, with people forced to rely on the very cheapest foods, which are often nutrient-poor but calorie-rich. The Government’s obesity strategy makes no mention of food insecurity and only the Department for International Development mentions hunger in its Single Departmental Plan.
Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Creagh MP, said “Instead of seeing hunger as an issue abroad, the Government’s New Year resolution should be one of taking urgent action at home to tackle hunger and malnutrition. This can only be addressed by setting clear UK-wide targets and by appointing a Minister for Hunger to deliver them.”
NHS Digital | December 2018 | Health Survey for England 2017: Summary of key findings
The majority of adults (64%) in England in 2017 were overweight or obese reports the UK Health Survey for England 2017. It finds that males were more likely to be overweight (but not obese) compared to females, but females were more likely to be obese.
There was an association between the weight of the parents and children. Offspring of obese mothers were 28 per cent more likely to be obese, almost a quarter (24 per cent) of children of obese fathers were obese.
Current cigarette smoking among adults has steadily declined between 1993 and 2017 (from 27% to 17%). Adults that have never regularly smoked cigarettes increased from 46% to 57% over the same period. 6% of all adults were current users of e-cigarettes. 15% of current cigarette smokers were using ecigarettes. Although 38% of current smokers had never used an e-cigarette.
Fewer than a third (29 per cent) of adults ate the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables in 2017; with less men than women eating the recommended amount.
Average alcohol intake was 11.8 units a week- with men on average consuming more alcohol than women. (Source: NHS Digital)
NHS England | November 2018 |Very low calorie diets part of NHS action to tackle growing obesity and Type 2 diabetes epidemic
NHS Chief executive Simon Stevens has announced that people recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes will be trialled as part of a new NHS long term plan, which will increase the focus on prevention as well as treatment.
As well as improving the health of patients,this will also save the NHS money that can be reinvested in frontline care. Currently, the health service in England spends around 10% of its budget on treating diabetes.
The scaling up of the NHS DPP scheme, the first in the world to become available country-wide, comes after it proved even more successful than planned with patients losing on average a kilogram more than expected.
The nine month programme helps people to:
achieve a healthy weight
improve overall nutrition
increase levels of physical activity
Online versions of the DPP, which involve wearable technologies and apps to help those at risk of Type 2 Diabetes, will also be provided for patients who find it difficult to attend sessions because of work or family commitments (Source: NHS England).
Tyrell, J. et al | 2018|Using genetics to understand the causal influence of higher BMI on depression |International Journal of Epidemiology| dyy223| https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyy223
UK and Australian researchers used data from the UK Biobank, as part of a randomization study involving 48 791 individuals with depression and 291 995 controls participants aged between 37 and 73 recruited in 2006-10. The team looked at a number of genetic variants associated with a high BM, that are also linked with a higher risk factor for diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. In conjunction they looked at a further 14 genetic variants associated with a high percentage of body fat but also with a lower risk of such health problems.
The team then looked at participants’ hospital data and responses given by participants to a number of questionnaires – some of which included self-reports of seeing a GP or psychiatrist for anxiety or depression. From this the team spotted about 49,000 participants whom they were confident had depression.
The team found participants with a higher BMI were more likely to develop depression.
Depression is more common in obese than non-obese individuals, especially in women, but the causal relationship between obesity and depression is complex and uncertain. Previous studies have used genetic variants associated with BMI to provide evidence that higher body mass index (BMI) causes depression, but have not tested whether this relationship is driven by the metabolic consequences of BMI nor for differences between men and women.
We performed a Mendelian randomization study using 48 791 individuals with depression and 291 995 controls in the UK Biobank, to test for causal effects of higher BMI on depression (defined using self-report and Hospital Episode data). We used two genetic instruments, both representing higher BMI, but one with and one without its adverse metabolic consequences, in an attempt to ‘uncouple’ the psychological component of obesity from the metabolic consequences. We further tested causal relationships in men and women separately, and using subsets of BMI variants from known physiological pathways.
Higher BMI was strongly associated with higher odds of depression, especially in women. Mendelian randomization provided evidence that higher BMI partly causes depression. Using a 73-variant BMI genetic risk score, a genetically determined one standard deviation (1 SD) higher BMI (4.9 kg/m2) was associated with higher odds of depression in all individuals and women only. Meta-analysis with 45 591 depression cases and 97 647 controls from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) strengthened the statistical confidence of the findings in all individuals. Similar effect size estimates were obtained using different Mendelian randomization methods, although not all reached P more than 0.05. Using a metabolically favourable adiposity genetic risk score, and meta-analysing data from the UK biobank and PGC, a genetically determined 1 SD higher BMI (4.9 kg/m2) was associated with higher odds of depression in all individuals, but with weaker statistical confidence.
Higher BMI, with and without its adverse metabolic consequences, is likely to have a causal role in determining the likelihood of an individual developing depression.
Public Health England | October 2018 |Record high levels of severe obesity found in Year 6 children
Data published earlier this week in the national child measurement programme (NCMP), shows the rate of severe obesity among year 6 children (aged 10 to 11) has increased by more than a third since 2006 to 2007 to 4.2%, its highest rate ever.
The latest data from the overseen by Public Health England (PHE), also shows stubborn inequalities persist, with obesity in deprived areas more than double that of more affluent areas.
The NCMP provides the most comprehensive picture of the state of childhood obesity for the 2017 to 2018 school year in England. It found:
the proportion of overweight and obese children in reception year (aged 4 to 5) has remained stable at 22.4% (equal to 136,586 children)
for year 6 children, it is 34.3% (equal to 197,888 children) compared to 31.6% in 2006 to 2007
in the most deprived areas, 12.8% of children in reception year are obese, compared to 5.7% in the least deprived areas
in year 6 it is 26.8% in the most deprived areas, compared to 11.7% in the least deprived areas
in both age groups, severe obesity is 4 times higher in deprived areas (Source: PHE)