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 

Abstract

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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

Challenges facing mental health and wellbeing services for children

This guide provides an overview of the challenges facing mental health and wellbeing services for children and young people | Local Government Association

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Image source: https://www.local.gov.uk/

At least one in 10 children and young people are affected by mental health problems, and the unreported figures are likely to be even higher. Young people are increasingly struggling with problems like anxiety, depression and self-harm, with nearly 19,000 young people admitted to hospital after harming themselves in 2015 – a 14 per cent rise over three years. This guide provides an overview of the challenges facing mental health and wellbeing services for children and young people.

 

Full report: Don’t be left in the dark: children and young people’s mental health

Child and maternal health statistics

Updated statistics to support improvements in decision making when planning services for pregnant women, children, young people and families | Public Health England

Contents include:

  1. Overview of child health and child health profiles
  2. Pregnancy and birth statistics
  3. Breastfeeding statistics
  4. Early years statistics
  5. School-age children statistics
  6. Young people statistics
  7. Health visitor service delivery metrics
  8. Child development outcomes at 2 to 2 and a half years metrics

Full detail at Public Health England

 

Community-based interventions for the treatment of overweight and obese adolescents

This systematic review aims to evaluate recent effective and scalable community-based weight management programs for adolescents (13–17 years) who are overweight or obese | Obesity Reviews

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Adolescent obesity is a risk factor for obesity and other chronic disease in adulthood. Evidence for the effectiveness of community-based obesity treatment programs for adolescents is required to inform policy and clinical decisions.

Eight databases (Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Informit, and Scopus) were searched for studies published between January 2011–2 March 2017 which are scalable in a community setting and reported primary outcome measures relating to weight.

Following deduplication, 10,074 records were screened by title/abstract with 31 publications describing 21 programs included in this review. Reduction in adolescent BMIz ranged from 2 to 9% post-program and from 2 to 11% after varied lengths of follow-up. Study quality varied, and findings are limited by the risk of selection and retention bias in the included studies. Factors including the effectiveness and acceptability to the target population must be considered when selecting such community programs.

Full reference: Moores, J. et al. | A systematic review of community-based interventions for the treatment of adolescents with overweight and obesity | Obesity Reviews | 17 January 2018

Improving the wellbeing of young people

This report highlights associations between health behaviours, other self-rated life factors (such as bullying and body image) and wellbeing | Public Health England

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The 2014 What About YOUth? (WAY) survey included measures of wellbeing which can be analysed to examine the relationships between health behaviours and attitudes on the wellbeing of 15-year-olds.

This report highlights 4 main findings:

  1. Young people who engaged in behaviour which might harm their health such as drinking and smoking, having poor diet or exercising rarely, or who had negative feelings towards their body size reported lower wellbeing than those who did not.
  2. Self-reported wellbeing varied depending on the relative affluence or deprivation of the family, with those whose families were in more affluent groups and living in the least deprived areas reporting higher average wellbeing.
  3. Young people who stated that they had a disability, long-term illness or medical condition reported lower wellbeing than those who did not.
  4. Young people who described their sexual orientation as gay, lesbian, bisexual or ‘other’ were more likely to have lower wellbeing than those who declared themselves heterosexual. On average these young people also reported lower life satisfaction and happiness, and higher anxiety.

Commissioners and providers of health, social care and education can use this information to target local resources where they are likely to have most impact in terms of improving the wellbeing of young people.

Full document: The wellbeing of 15-year-olds: analysis of the What About YOUth? survey

Transforming children and young people’s mental health

Ways for schools and colleges to support pupils’ mental health are set out in a green paper, as well as plans for new mental health support teams.

The government has published proposals to improve mental health support for children and young people in England. Over £300 million has been made available to fund them.

The government is asking people for their views on the planned measures, which are set out in a green paper. The measures include:

  • encouraging every school and college to have a ‘designated senior mental health lead’
  • setting up mental health support teams working with schools, to give children and young people earlier access to services
  • piloting a 4-week waiting time for NHS children and young people’s mental health services

Other proposals in the green paper include:

  • a new working group to look at mental health support for 16 to 25-year-olds
  • a report by the Chief Medical Officer on the impact that technology has on children and young people’s mental health, to be produced in 2018

The consultation on the green paper will run for 13 weeks until 2 March 2018.

Full paper: Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper

This short video describes the main proposals in the green paper.