What makes us healthy?

The Health Foundation has published What makes us healthy?

This infographic is part of a new series of infographics and accompanying blogs and commentaries to describe and explain the social determinants of health in an accessible and engaging way. This infographic shows the extent to which health is primarily shaped by factors outside the direct influence of healthcare and invites people to look at this bigger picture.

Guide to healthy living: mosques

This guidance aims to provide mosque leaders and communities with public health evidence and recommendations, demonstrating how these recommendations link into Islamic teachings, with case study examples from local mosques | PHE

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It includes a self-assessment checklist for mosques to reflect on current initiatives, identify gaps, recognise achievement and develop plans for future projects.

Mosques in 21st century western societies are at a developmental stage in evolving to meet the needs of the communities they serve. To be at the centre of the community, mosques must be spaces for all sections of society including women, mothers with young children, elderly people, those with disabilities and young people; with specific activities and initiatives aimed to inform, educate and improve their environment, health, lives and wellbeing.

 

Cochrane reviews show impact of lifestyle changes on obesity

Two Cochrane reviews, published today, show that a combination of diet, physical activity and behavioural change interventions may reduce weight in children and adolescents | OnMedica

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The two reviews look at the effects of diet, physical activity and behavioural interventions in treating children with overweight or obesity from six years old to early adulthood. They summarise the results of 114 studies which involved over 13,000 children and young people.

Improving the implementation of childrens healthy eating, physical activity and obesity prevention programmes

Wolfenden, L. et al. (2016) Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Issue 10. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD011779.pub2.

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Background: Despite the existence of effective interventions and best-practice guideline recommendations for childcare services to implement policies, practices and programmes to promote child healthy eating, physical activity and prevent unhealthy weight gain, many services fail to do so.

Authors’ conclusions: Current research provides weak and inconsistent evidence of the effectiveness of such strategies in improving the implementation of policies and practices, childcare service staff knowledge or attitudes, or child diet, physical activity or weight status. Further research in the field is required.

Read the full review here

Genetic Risk, Adherence to a Healthy Lifestyle, and Coronary Disease

Khera, A.V. et al. NEJM. Published online: 13 November 2016

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Image source: Bill McConkey – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Background: Both genetic and lifestyle factors contribute to individual-level risk of coronary artery disease. The extent to which increased genetic risk can be offset by a healthy lifestyle is unknown.

Methods: Using a polygenic score of DNA sequence polymorphisms, we quantified genetic risk for coronary artery disease in three prospective cohorts — 7814 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, 21,222 in the Women’s Genome Health Study (WGHS), and 22,389 in the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study (MDCS) — and in 4260 participants in the cross-sectional BioImage Study for whom genotype and covariate data were available. We also determined adherence to a healthy lifestyle among the participants using a scoring system consisting of four factors: no current smoking, no obesity, regular physical activity, and a healthy diet.

Conclusions: Across four studies involving 55,685 participants, genetic and lifestyle factors were independently associated with susceptibility to coronary artery disease. Among participants at high genetic risk, a favorable lifestyle was associated with a nearly 50% lower relative risk of coronary artery disease than was an unfavorable lifestyle.

Read the full article here

Effective and feasible strategies to promote healthy eating in young children

Vandeweghe, L. et al. Perceived effective and feasible strategies to promote healthy eating in young children: focus groups with parents, family child care providers and daycare assistantsBMC Public Health. published online 4th October 2016.

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Background
The aim of the current study is to identify strategies to promote healthy eating in young children that can be applied by caregivers, based on their own perceptions of effectiveness and feasibility.

Whereas previous research mainly focused on parental influences on children’s eating behavior, the growing role of other caregivers in the upbringing of children can no longer be denied.

Methods
Four focus groups were conducted with three types of caregivers of post-weaning children under 6 years old: parents (n = 14), family child care providers (n = 9), and daycare assistants (n = 10). The audiotaped focus group discussions were transcribed and imported into Nvivo 10.0 for thematic analysis. The behaviors put forward by the caregivers were categorized within three broad dimensions: global influences, general behaviors, and specific feeding practices.

Results
Perceived effective strategies to promote healthy eating behavior in children included rewards, verbal encouragement, a taste-rule, sensory sensations, involvement, variation, modeling, repeated exposure, and a peaceful atmosphere. Participants mainly disagreed on the perceived feasibility of each strategy, which largely depended on the characteristics of the caregiving setting (e.g. infrastructure, policy).

Conclusions
Based on former research and the current results, an intervention to promote healthy eating behaviors in young children should be adapted to the caregiving setting or focus on specific feeding practices, since these involve simple behaviors that are not hindered by the limitations of the caregiving setting. Due to various misconceptions regarding health-promoting strategies, clear instructions about when and how to use these strategies are necessary.

Action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in the WHO European Region

WHO | Published online: September 2016

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Image source: WHO European Region

The World Health Organisation has published a vision for the prevention and control of long-term conditions and chronic disease in the WHO European region.

It outlines actions which can help to considerably reduce the burden of long-term conditions, improve quality of life and make healthy life expectancy more equitable. In addition to early diagnosis, the plan advocates the use of fiscal policies and marketing restrictions to promote healthy eating and reducing sedentary behaviour through the health system and environmental modifications.

Read the full report here