Gap between rich and poor has widened since 2001 according to new report

The Longevity Science Panel  (LSP) have published the latest health inequality figures.The LSP looked at data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for 33,000 residential areas in total.

The data show the increasing difference between the life expectancy of males in the least advantaged fifth of the population, compared to the most advantaged fifth.

  • Males aged 60 to 89 from the least advantaged fifth of the country were 52% more likely to die in 2001 than men in the most advantaged fifth. By 2015, the death rate for the least advantaged was 80% higher.
  • Similarly for women, the least advantaged fifth were 44% more likely to die in a year than the most advantaged fifth in 2001, but 81% more likely to die in 2015.
  • Baby girls born in the most advantaged fifth of neighbourhoods could expect to live 5 years longer than the least advantaged fifth in 2001, increasing to 5.8 years longer in 2015.
  • Although mortality rates have fallen across all groups, the most advantaged fifth have experienced a greater fall in death rates than their less advantaged counterparts

The full report can be read here

The following article may also be of interest:

BBC News Life expectancy gap between rich and poor widens


US research underlines the importance of screening for risk factors earlier in life

According to US research published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, obesity and other cardiovascular risk factors may have a greater role in cardiac arrest in the young than previously understood. 

While sports activity often garners attention in cases of sudden cardiac arrest in younger patients, it was cited only in a small percentage of those ages 5 to 34 in the study, published in Circulation, a journal from the American Heart Association.

heart-2211180_1920Instead, investigators found an unexpectedly high prevalence of standard cardiovascular risk factors among the young who suffered from sudden cardiac arrest, a disorder that can cause instantaneous death. Combinations of obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking were found in nearly two-thirds of cases studied.

Full story at Science Daily 


Running helps brain stave off effects of chronic stress

Study finds that exercise protects vital memory and learning functions | Neurobiology of Learning and Memory | via ScienceDaily


Whilst it is widely acknowledged that getting a little exercise helps when dealing with stress, a new study discovers exercise — particularly running — while under stress also helps protect your memory.

The study, published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, finds that running mitigates the negative impacts chronic stress has on the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.

Lead author Jeff Edwards, states “Exercise is a simple and cost-effective way to eliminate the negative impacts on memory of chronic stress.”

Further detail at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Running exercise mitigates the negative consequences of chronic stress on dorsal hippocampal long-term potentiation in male mice.  | Neurobiology of Learning and Memory |  2018

Participation in exercise programme improves BMI of US school children

School children in the US, (n= 707) who participated in an short-term  exercise programme experienced  improvements in  their body mass index (BMI) scores,  significantly different than the comparison group. This group also had higher odds of being in a lower BMI category at follow-up; significantly different than the comparison group.

running-2837486_1920The 12-week initiative ran for an hour three times a week.  Each session started with a warm-up, followed by a running activity, and incorporated a skills-based approach to teach a new skill each week. During the cool- down session there was discussion on nutrition for pupils.

By the end of the the programme the child participants had better body mass index scores, than the non- participants in the control group.  There was also an additional benefit for those children who participated three times a week as their focus on schoolwork improved, and those who attended two sessions a week also had notable improvements in their mood and energy levels.

The full story can be read at Science Daily 

The journal article is published online and is available here 

Full reference: Whooten, R. C. et al. |Effects of Before-School Physical Activity on Obesity Prevention and Wellness | American Journal of Preventative Medicine | 2018|  doi:  10.1016/j.amepre.2018.01.017

Suicide Prevention: Policy and Strategy

This House of Commons Library briefing paper examines suicide prevention policies and strategies throughout the UK. It outlines national and local approaches to prevention policy in England, as well as Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

suicide prevention
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This briefing paper begins with a statistical overview of suicide rates throughout the UK over time, using the latest data from the Office of National Statistics, which were published in September 2017. These show that in Great Britain in 2016 there were 5,668 recorded suicides which represented a slight fall since 2015 and the lowest overall number since 2010.

Also provided is an overview of suicide prevention policies and strategies in the UK, as well as their various updates; the latest of which from the UK Government is the Third Progress report, published in January 2017.

Full report: Suicide Prevention: Policy and Strategy

The role of communities in improving health and wellbeing

Communities and Health, an explainer released by the King’s Fund, explores the many approaches to working with communities, recognising the role they play in improving health and wellbeing. communities

It considers community-focused organisations and partnerships and through national programmes and policies; alongside this it provides examples of community involvement in health, through community development and community commissioning in addition to other approaches.

The full explainer can be read here 

As it is intended to be a starting point, the King’s Fund have also provided a list of further resources in a reading list, many of which are available online .