Previous research in 2011 has shown that being overweight in middle age increases the risk of developing dementia. Data presented today at the European Congress on Obesity suggests slowing the rise in obesity could help to cut the rising rates of dementia.
Researchers at the UK Health Forum have modelled what would happen if obesity rates stayed constant at today’s levels or increased to 46% of men and 31% of women by 2050, which has been taken as a likely prediction (24% of men and 26% of women are obese currently). Rates of dementia could rise from 4,894 cases in every 100,000 people over 65 to 6,662 cases in every 100,000 people over 65. Alternatively, it is suggested that keeping obesity levels constant at today’s rates could save approximately £940m on dementia care costs (and the many other aspects of damage to the population’s physical and mental wellbeing arising from obesity and inactivity).
Rise in obesity poses ‘dementia time bomb’. London: BBC Science News, May 12th 2013.
[A brief reference to this item features in Dementia and Elderly Care: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWNHST), Volume 3 Issue 7, May 2013].
National Obesity Awareness Week (January 13th – 19th 2014)
Moderate obesity can reduce life expectancy by three years, based on figures from the National Obesity Observatory.
Triggle, N. (2014). Obesity: How worried should we be? London: BBC Health News, January 13th 2014.
This relates to an audit of obesity in the UK, identifying policy initiatives and assessing their likely effectiveness:
State of the nation’s waistline. Obesity in the UK: analysis and expectations. London: National Obesity Forum, January 9th 2014.
Report warns of a looming UK obesity crisis. London: NHS Choices Behind the Headlines, January 13th 2014.
On Diet Fads and Fashions
Strictly on the “lighter” side:
Patterson J. (2014). The last diet you will ever need. London [Online]: NHSNetworks, January 10th 2014.
Local Authority Excess Weight Data
Regional variations in obesity are complex and influenced by a number of factors, including socio-economic deprivation and age.
England’s fattest areas: Copeland ‘most overweight borough’. London: BBC Health News, February 4th 2014.
This relates to:
PHE release local authority adult obesity data. London: Public Health England, February 4th 2014.
There is a Public Health England Obesity website.
See also the BBC’s CMO video:
England’s chief medical officer: ‘Two thirds of adults overweight’. London: BBC Health News, March 27th 2014.
This relates to the “Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer, Surveillance Volume, 2012: On the State of the Public’s Health”.
Also of relevance (possibly):
Briggs, H. (2014). Takeaway clampdowns ‘may combat obesity epidemic’. London: BBC Health News, March 14th 2014.
See also the NHS Choices coverage:
Easy access to takeaways ‘increases obesity risk’. London: NHS Choices, March 14th 2014.
This relates to:
Burgoine, T. Forouhi, NG. [and] Griffin, SJ. [et al] (2014). Associations between exposure to takeaway food outlets, takeaway food consumption, and body weight in Cambridgeshire, UK: population based, BMJ (Clinical research ed.), March 13th 2014, Vol. 348, g1464. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).
WHO Recommends a Halving of Daily Sugar Intake
The World Health Organization (WHO) points to growing concerns about consumption of sugars, particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened drinks.
WHO says halving sugar target has extra benefit. London: NHS Choices Behind the Headlines, March 6th 2014.
Possibly also of interest:
Triggle, N. (2014). Can Britain end its love affair with sugar? London: BBC Health News, March 6th 2014.
Briggs, H. (2014). WHO: Daily sugar intake ‘should be halved’. London: BBC Health News, March 6th 2014.
Sugar tax may be necessary, England’s chief medical officer says. London: BBC Health News, March 5th 2014.
Draft guidance from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) suggests sugar added to food (or naturally present in fruit juice and honey) should account for 5% maximum of energy intake; half the old 10% target.
Gallagher, J. (2014). Call to halve target for added sugar. London: BBC Health News, June 26th 2014.
This relates to:
Draft Carbohydrates and Health report. Scientific consultation: 26 June to 1 September 2014. London: Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), June 24th 2014.
The following discussion paper was commissioned by Public Health England from the UK Health Forum:
Mwatsama, M. [and] Landon, J. (2014). Options for action to support the reduction of sugar intakes in the UK: a discussion paper produced by the UK Health Forum for Public Health England. London: UK Health Forum, June 25th 2014.
Energy drinks should be banned for children under 16, according to the campaign and research group Action on Sugar.
Energy drinks ‘should be banned’ for under-16s. London: BBC Health News, February 26th 2015.
The British Medical Association has suggested imposing an extra 20% tax on sugary drinks:
Gallagher, J. (2015). Tax sugary drinks by 20%, say doctors. London: BBC Health News, July 13th 2015.
The BMA‘s “Food for Thought” report offers other recommendations on the promotion of healthy behaviours; which include improving knowledge and awareness on healthy eating, limiting the promotion of unhealthy food / drink and international cooperation on nutrition.
Food for thought: promoting healthy diets among children and young people. London: British Medical Association (BMA), July 2015.
There is also an Executive Summary.
The Commons’ Health Committee believes there is compelling evidence that a tax of 20% would reduce consumption of sugary drinks.
Triggle, N. (2015). Tax on sugary drinks backed by MPs. London: BBC Health News, November 30th 2015.
Public Health England on Sugar Reduction
Public Health England (PHE) has published a consultation document on plans for helping people to reduce their sugar intake:
Sugar reduction: responding to the challenge. London: Public Health England, June 26th 2014. PHE Publications Gateway no. 2014155.
Healthy Eating Guidance
Latest research indicates that eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day is healthier than the “five-a-day” recommended currently. “Seven a day” cut death risk by 42%, while “five a day” reduced death risk by 29%. Canned fruit appears to increase the risk of death.
The Australian government’s advice is “two-plus-five” a day; encouraging people to eat two helpings of fruit and five portions of vegetables per day.
Stephens, P. (2014). Seven a day ‘better than five’ fruit and veg portions. London: BBC Health News, April 1st 2014.
On the other hand, further research on premature mortality backs the five-a-day target for fruit and vegetables, but indicates that eating more may have no further benefits.
Briggs, H. (2014). Fruit and veg: More than five-a-day ‘no effect’. London: BBC Health News, July 30th 2014.
This relates to the following BMJ article about a meta-analysis of 16 studies confirms that higher consumption of fruit and vegetables is linked to lower risk of all cause mortality, particularly cardiovascular mortality, but there appears to be a threshold around 5 portions per day beyond which risk would not be reduced further:
Wang, X. Ouyang, Y. [and] Liu, J. [et al] (2014). Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), July 29th 2014, 349, g4490. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).
The Allure of Cheap Convenience Foods (BBC News)
The British Heart Foundation has warned that high food prices sometimes force a third of UK adults to eat unhealthily. BHF polled 2,444 adults, and found that 39% reported sacrificing health benefits on cost-grounds when grocery shopping.
A ‘third of UK adults struggle’ to afford healthy food. London: BBC Health News, April 23rd 2014.
Binge Drinking and Over-Eating?
A non-scientific Slimming World survey:
Stephens, P. (2014). Binge drinking ‘link to overeating’. London: BBC Health News, April 24th 2014.
National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS): 2008-2012
National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) data from 2008-2012 indicates that the UK population consumes too much saturated fat, added sugars and salt; but not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish and fibre
National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Results from Years 1, 2, 3 and 4 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2008/2009 – 2011/2012). A survey carried out on behalf of Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency. London: Public Health England, May 14th 2014.
There is also an Executive Summary.
This is explained further by NHS Choices Behind the Headlines:
Brits eating too much salt, sugar and fat. London: NHS Choices Behind the Headlines, May 15th 2014.
Suggestions From Consumers International and the World Obesity Federation
Stephens, P. (2014). Food should be regulated like tobacco, say campaigners. London: BBC Health News, May 19th 2014.
Obesity and Diabetes
Men who have a waist circumference over 102cm (40.2 inches) are five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes; women with a waist circumference over 88cm (34.7 inches) are three times more prone to the condition.
“Being overweight or obese is the main modifiable risk factor for type 2 diabetes”.
Adult obesity and type 2 diabetes. London: Public Health England, July 31st 2014.
The need for increased awareness about food eaten is asserted to be the single biggest cause of death / ill-health in UK. The authors of the following BMJ article suggest that responsibility for nutrition should be handed back to an independent agency unaffected by changes in government or ministers, or political lobbying.
MacGregor, GA. He, FJ. [and] Pombo-Rodrigues, S. (2015). Food and the responsibility deal: how the salt reduction strategy was derailed. British Medical Journal. April 28th 2015, 350, h1936.