Healthy shopper? Blood pressure testing in a shopping centre Pop-Up in England

Eureka Alert | January 2019 | Possible link found between cases of high blood pressure and ‘unhealthy’ shopping centers

A study that used ‘Pop up health stations’ in shopping centres in England Invited passers-by to have a test to screen for signs of the eye disease, glaucoma, eye test and in half of cases a blood pressure test was also offered to  shoppers. 

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The researchers from City University London classed outlets in shopping centres across 7 different shopping centres. This included the ‘unhealthiest’ shopping centres and the three ‘healthiest’ shopping centres corresponding with a a Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) report ranking UK town and city shopping centres based on their ‘unhealthy’ and ‘healthy’ retail outlets.  Shopping centres were considered ‘unhealthy’; if these outlets were a fast-food takeaway, a bookmaker, a tanning salon or a payday loan business.

The researchers also produced a basic score of each shopping centre’s ‘unhealthiness’, which was the proportion of ‘unhealthy’ retail outlets open on the day of testing relative to the total number of retail outlets open in the shopping centre.

At the three ‘healthy’ shopping complexes (Bristol, Cambridge and Nottingham),  13 per cent of adults (20 out of 152 adults) were flagged as having readings of high blood pressure on repeat testing.

In the ‘unhealthy’ shopping centres (Coventry, Preston, Northampton, Stoke-on-Trent), over 22 per cent of adults (45 out of 199 adults) had high blood pressure readings.

The study has identified an association between instances of ‘suspected hypertension’ and the unhealthiness of the shopping centre, with people with BP of 140/90 mmHg (Source: Eureka Alert).

Eureka Alert Possible link found between cases of high blood pressure and ‘unhealthy’ shopping centers

The article is available to read and download from Public Health BMC 

Abstract

Background

Improving detection of elevated blood pressure (BP) remains a public health need. We present results from a Pop-Up health check stationed in shopping centres in England. We hypothesise the rate of case detection is related to measurable ‘unhealthiness’ of the shopping centres.

Methods

A Pop-Up health check was sited in four and three shopping centres sampled from the top ten unhealthiest and top 15 healthiest shopping regions respectively, following a report ranking towns/cities based on their unhealthy and healthy retail outlets. On one day in each shopping centre, people were approached and consented to BP testing. Outcome measure was people flagged with BP ≥ 140/90 mmHg (cases).

Results

We detected 45 (22.6%) and 20 (13.1%) cases from testing 199 and 152 adults in the unhealthy and healthy locations respectively . A measure of unhealthy retail outlets (e.g. fast-food outlets) within each shopping centre was associated with detection rate.

Conclusion

An association exists between cases of suspect hypertension found in a health check Pop-Up and measured ‘unhealthiness’ of the shopping centre site. Results hint at strategies for public testing of BP, potentially in the context of reducing health inequalities.

Improving detection of elevated blood pressure (BP) remains a public health need. We present results from a Pop-Up health check stationed in shopping centres in England. We hypothesise the rate of case detection is related to measurable ‘unhealthiness’ of the shopping centres.

Methods

A Pop-Up health check was sited in four and three shopping centres sampled from the top ten unhealthiest and top 15 healthiest shopping regions respectively, following a report ranking towns/cities based on their unhealthy and healthy retail outlets. On one day in each shopping centre, people were approached and consented to BP testing. Outcome measure was people flagged with BP ≥ 140/90 mmHg (cases).

Results

We detected 45 (22.6%) and 20 (13.1%) cases from testing 199 and 152 adults in the unhealthy and healthy locations respectively. A measure of unhealthy retail outlets (e.g. fast-food outlets) within each shopping centre was associated with detection rate.

Conclusion

An association exists between cases of suspect hypertension found in a health check Pop-Up and measured ‘unhealthiness’ of the shopping centre site. Results hint at strategies for public testing of BP, potentially in the context of reducing health inequalities.

 

Full reference:

Edwards, L.A., Campbell, P., Taylor, D.J., Shah, R., Edgar, D.F., Crabb, D. P.| 2019| Healthy shopper? Blood pressure testing in a shopping centre Pop-Up in England | BMC Public Health|1942 |https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-6370-0

Rural health care: A rapid review of the impact of rurality on the costs of delivering health care

Nuffield Trust | January 2019 | Rural health care: A rapid review of the impact of rurality on the costs of delivering health care

The Nuffield Trust was commissioned by the National Centre for Rural Health and Care to explore the key issues around the impact of rurality and sparsity on the costs of delivering health care.

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Image source: nuffieldtrust.org.uk

 

 

The aims of the review were to:

  • outline the policy considerations around accounting for unavoidable costs in providing health care in rural areas
  • review and summarise key evidence on the additional costs of delivering health care in rural areas
  • describe, quantify and critique current NHS allocation formulae in the four UK nations with respect to adjustments for rurality.

Their analysis suggests that while the association between rurality, overstretched services and financial pressure are unclear, NHS trusts with ‘unavoidably small’ sites do appear to underperform: as well as having generally longer waiting times and lengths of stay, they are also in greater financial difficulty.

The report can be downloaded from Nuffield Trust

Rural health care: A rapid review of the impact of rurality on the costs of delivering health care [Press release]

Chief Medical Officer annual report 2018: better health within reach

Department of Health and Social Care |December 2018| Chief Medical Officer annual report 2018: better health within reach

The Chief Medical Officer- Professor Dame Sally Davies- has written her 10th annual report: Annual report of the Chief Medical Officer 2018: health 2040 – better health within reach. This report considers what  the state of the public’s health in England in 2040 could look like.

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Image source: assets.publishing.service.gov

There are 4 main sections in the report, discussing:

  • health as the nation’s primary asset
  • the health environment we live in and build together
  • using emerging technologies to improve health for everyone
  • effective planning for the future

The report has been developed with the help of expert academic input, it is independent of government but its intended audience is government, regulators, policy-makers and healthcare professionals. With each of the report’s recommendations targeted at specific organisations.

The report concludes that greater effort to improve the health environment is required – it should be easier to take the healthy option (Source: Department of Health and Social Care).

Annual report of the Chief Medical Officer 2018: health 2040 – better health within reach

Clean Air Strategy 2019

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, Department for Transport, Department of Health and Social Care, HM Treasury, and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy| January 2019| Clean Air Strategy 2019

A new strategy sets out our plans for dealing with all sources of air pollution, making our air healthier to breathe, protecting nature and boosting the economy.

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Clean Air Strategy 2019 sets out the comprehensive actions required across all parts of government and society to improve air quality.

The strategy sets out how the Department  for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and others will:

  • protect the nation’s health
  • protect the environment
  • secure clean growth and innovation
  • reduce emissions from transport, homes, farming and industry
  • monitor our progress

(Source: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs)

Clean Air Strategy 2019: executive summary

Clean Air Strategy 2019

Government launches world leading plan to tackle air pollution [press release]

(Over)eating out at major UK restaurant chains: observational study of energy content of main meals

Robinson, E., Whitelock, V., Mead, B. R., & Haynes, A. | 2018 | (Over)eating out at major UK restaurant chains: observational study of energy content of main meals|BMJ |363|k4982

Researchers have discovered that meals served in major UK restaurant chains are more calorific than those available in fast food chains. The study published in the BMJ, exmained main meals in 27 food outlets- a combination of 21 restaurants and 6 fast food were sampled.  The research team found that only a small proportion of meals that met public health recommendations for energy content was low. 

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Objectives To examine the energy content of main meals served in major UK restaurant chains and compare the energy content of meals in fast food and “full service” restaurant chains.

Design Observational study.

Setting Menu and nutritional information provided by major UK restaurant chains.

Main outcome measures Mean energy content of meals, proportion of meals meeting public health recommendations for energy consumption (less than or equal to 600 kcal), and proportion of meals with excessive energy content (more than or equal to1000 kcal).

Results Main meals from 27 restaurant chains (21 full service; 6 fast food) were sampled. The mean energy content of all eligible restaurant meals (13 396 in total) was 977 (95% confidence interval 973 to 983) kcal. The percentage of all meals that met public health recommendations for energy content was low (9%; n=1226) and smaller than the percentage of meals with an excessive energy content (47%; 6251). Compared with fast food restaurants, full service restaurants offered significantly more excessively calorific main meals, fewer main meals meeting public health recommendations, and on average 268 (103 to 433) kcal more in main meals.

Conclusions The energy content of a large number of main meals in major UK restaurant chains is excessive, and only a minority meet public health recommendations. Although the poor nutritional quality of fast food meals has been well documented, the energy content of full service restaurant meals in the UK tends to be higher and is a cause for concern.

Full article available from the BMJ 

In the news:

BBC News Restaurant dishes ‘contain more calories than fast-food meals’

Review of recent trends in mortality in England

A Review of recent trends in mortality in England | Public Health England

This report summarises the findings from a review of trends in life expectancy and mortality in England. It provides detail on specific population groups and specific causes of death, as well as insight into possible explanations for the trends observed.

The report shows that preventable illnesses, including heart disease and stroke, are one of several factors behind the slowing improvements in life expectancy in England.

The review concluded that a number of other factors, operating simultaneously, have also potentially contributed to the slowdown in life expectancy.

These include:

  • a large increase in deaths in the winters between 2014 and 2018, which was also seen in a number of other European countries – this coincided with the circulation of a subtype of flu, the influenza A (H3N2) subtype, known to predominantly affect older people
  • more older people living with dementia and other long-term conditions, which may make them particularly vulnerable to the effects of flu and other winter risks, and who may be particularly reliant on health and social care services
  • an increase in death rates from accidental poisoning, in particular, drug misuse – this led to mortality rates among younger adults making no contribution to changes in life expectancy trends between 2011 and 2016, in contrast to the small positive contributions seen previously

Full document: A Review of recent trends in mortality in England | Public Health England

Public Health England press release: Preventable illness is factor in slower life expectancy increases

 

Cycling and walking for individual and population health benefits

Public Health England | November 2018 | Cycling and walking for individual and population health benefits: A rapid evidence review for health and care system decision-makers

Public Health England (PHE)  has published Cycling and walking for individual and population health benefits, the publication is based on an evidence review to answer the question: What is the impact of walking and/or cycling on different health outcomes?

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  • This review found that walking and cycling benefit health in a number of ways:
    people who walk or cycle have improved metabolic health and a reduced risk of
    premature mortality
  • walking and cycling reduce the risk factors for a number of diseases, including
    cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, some cancers, and Type II diabetes
  • walking and cycling also have positive effects on mental health and general wellbeing. The mental health and neurological benefits include reduced risk of
    dementia, improved sleep quality, and a greater sense of wellbeing
  • in environmental terms, health benefits accrue for the general population from a
    reduction in pollution due to car use and a decrease in road congestion
  •  the evidence is that the health benefits of walking and cycling outweigh any
    potential health risks and harms – for example from injury or pollution (Source: PHE)

Read the evidence review in full from PHE