Infant feeding: commissioning services

Public Health England and UnicefUK have published ‘Infant feeding: commissioning services’.

Commissioning local infant feeding services
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This guidance to support the commissioning of evidence-based interventions to improve breastfeeding rates across England is presented as a toolkit, and is divided into 3 parts:

  1. infographics which highlight the key issues
  2. good practice guidance for commissioners
  3. guidance on effective data collection, monitoring and reporting

Read more here


Years of good life based on income and health: Re-engineering cost-benefit analysis to examine policy impacts on wellbeing and distributive justice

The Centre for Health Economics at York University has published ‘Years of good life based on income and health: Re-engineering cost-benefit analysis to examine policy impacts on wellbeing and distributive justice’.

Years of Good Life
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This paper proposes a practical measure of individual wellbeing to facilitate the economic evaluation of public policies. The researchers propose to evaluate policies in terms of years of good life gained, in a way that complements and generalises conventional cost-benefit analysis in terms of money, and to show how years of good life could be measured in practice by harnessing readily available data on three important elements of individual wellbeing: income, health-related quality of life, and longevity.

This approach can also be applied to public policies which are not primarily designed to impact upon people’s income, health and longevity – including policies on social care, education, transport, social protection and so on. These policies are currently evaluated using conventional cost-benefit analysis, based on a diverse range of policy outcome metrics converted into monetary values, usually without any underpinning economic-epidemiological model of impacts on income, health and longevity.

Read more here

Patients as Partners

The Kings Fund has published ‘Patients as partners: Building collaborative relationships among professionals, patients, carers and communities’.

Patients as Partners
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This report suggests that collaborative relationships among health and care professionals, patients, service users, carers and communities are essential for the future of the NHS, but  also ask what helps to build effective relationships?

The guide suggests five approaches to developing an effective relationship:

  • find your collaborative partner: this, together with identifying funding and a real task to work on, marks the first important stage of beginning a collaborative relationship
  • invest in developing leadership and collaborative relationships
  • make time for learning: set aside time for reflection, record learning and share that learning with peers and those you hope to influence
  • go where the energy is: sometimes this means working under the radar for a while until you are ready to share your results, your approach and your learning
  • embed collaborative activity at all levels in your system or organisation.

Read more here

A survey of sports drinks consumption among adolescents


British Dental Journal 220, 639 – 643  Published online: 24 June 2016

image source: Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr// CC BY-ND 2.0

Background Sports drinks intended to improve performance and hydrate athletes taking part in endurance sport are being marketed to children, for whom these products are not intended. Popularity among children has grown exponentially. Worryingly they consume them socially, as well as during physical activity. Sports drinks are high in sugar and are acidic. Product marketing ignores the potential harmful effects of dental caries and erosion.

Objective To investigate the use of sports drinks by children.

Method One hundred and eighty-three self-complete questionnaires were distributed to four schools in South Wales. Children in high school years 8 and 9 (aged 12–14) were recruited to take part. Questions focused on use of sports drinks, type consumed, frequency of and reason for consumption and where drinks were purchased.

Results One hundred and sixty children responded (87% response rate): 89.4% (143) claimed to drink sports drinks, half drinking them at least twice a week. Lucozade Sport was the most popular brand. The main reason for consuming the drinks was attributed to the ‘nice taste’ (90%, 129/143). Most respondents purchased the drinks from local shops (80.4%, 115) or supermarkets (54.5%, 78). More boys claimed to drink sports drinks during physical activity (77.9% versus 48.6% girls, P <0.001). Whereas more girls claimed to drink them socially (51.4% versus 48.5% boys, NS).

Conclusion A high proportion of children consumed sports drinks regularly and outside of sporting activity. Dental health professionals should be aware of the popularity of sports drinks with children when giving health education advice or designing health promotion initiatives.

Full reference: Broughton, D et. al.  A survey of sports drinks consumption among adolescents BDJ Published online 24th June 2016

Related: NHS Choices:  Sports drinks may have adverse effects on teens’ dental health

Physical Activity and Lifestyle announced as a clinical priority by the RCGP

The RCGP has announced that Physical Activity and Lifestyle will be a clinical priority for the next three years, running from 2016-2019.

Physical Activity and Lifestyle is the latest clinical priority to be announced by the Royal College of GPs, aiming to support primary care professionals with reliable, evidence-based information to prevent and manage lifestyle-related diseases.

The new three-year programme aims to support GPs and their teams – who deal with 90% of NHS patient contacts – to help manage their patients’ physical health, and ultimately reduce long-term pressure on the health service.

Find out more about the RCGP’s Clinical Priorities Programme

Parents fear mental health ‘life sentence’

Story via OnMedica

A new survey reveals that many parents fear a diagnosis of mental illness will amount to a “life sentence” for their child. The research commissioned for MQ Mental Health, a new charity which supports and funds research into mental health, reveals that 67% of parents who took part in the survey said they would worry that their son or daughter might never recover from a mental illness. And 74% were concerned that mental health issues might get worse over time.

The survey also indicates support for greater investment. More than four in five adults agree that “more should be done to tackle mental illness for the future”, rising to 97% among those with lived experience of mental illness. Some 68% of adults surveyed believe that the current proportion of funding for mental health research is too low and, on average, respondents think 20% of the total UK medical research budget should be spent on mental illness.

Child poverty rate over time

Child poverty fell between 2008 and 2013 both Before and After Housing Costs but now shows signs of increasing  | Joseph Rowntree Foundation

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The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have produced the above graph which shows nineteen per cent of children are currently living in poverty Before Housing Costs are taken into account (29% after housing costs). The gap between the two poverty measures has grown which reflects the rising housing costs over the past decade, pushing more people into poverty.

Related: How can we tackle child poverty? The JRF looks at creating an anti-poverty childcare system, special educational needs, and poverty and children’s relationships.