Large health inequalities across England revealed

New report shows there are stark differences in how long people in different parts of England can expect to live a healthy life. | ONS | via Cancer Research UK

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report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that people in areas with the highest healthy life expectancy will live longer without health problems than people in areas with the lowest expectancy.

Life expectancy in England has been increasing consistently since 1951, but varies by location. Men living in the least deprived areas live on average 9.2 years longer than men living in the most deprived areas. For women this gap is 7.1 years. There is an even greater difference in the quality of those years lived. Healthy life expectancy (HLE), or the number of years one could expect to live in good health, in England is 64.1 years for women and 63.4 for men.

Men living in the most deprived areas of England can expect to lead a healthy life for nearly 19 years less than men living in the least deprived.  The difference for women is 19.6 years. Heath inequalities between the north and south of England were also highlighted, as 6 of the top 7 areas with the highest healthy life expectancy were in the south, and all of the top 6 areas with the lowest expectancy were in the north.

The report looked at information on health-related lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity, physical activity and diet.

Full report: An overview of lifestyles and wider characteristics linked to Healthy Life  Expectancy in England: June 2017 | ONS

Negotiating nature: gardens and wellbeing

Negotiating nature: gardens and wellbeing | Centre for Mental Health

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In this article, Andy Bell of the Centre for Mental Health talks of his hope to build up an evidence base on gardening and mental health from a wide range of stories and experiences.  The Centre for Mental Health is wanting to inspire 1,000 conversations about mental health, and would like to hear from anyone who has experience of working or being in a garden about the impact it’s had on their mental health and wellbeing. From urban balconies and suburban back gardens to community projects, hospital or prison gardens, they want to know what growing plants and negotiating with nature means to people across the country.

Full article at the Centre for Mental Health

TVs in the bedroom linked to childhood obesity, study finds

Scientists say there is a clear link between having a TV in your bedroom as a young child and becoming overweight later in childhood | | International Journal of Obesity | Story via The Guardian 

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Children who have TVs in their bedrooms are more likely to be overweight than those who do not, a study by University College London scientists suggests.

Sitting still for long periods watching TV has long been thought to be one of the changes in behaviour of the last few decades that could be contributing to the obesity epidemic. It has been suspected that having a TV in the bedroom might exacerbate the problem. Children or adolescents might be snacking unobserved, they could be exposed to advertising for junk food while watching adult programmes and they may not sleep as well, which is also linked to putting on weight.

Published in the International Journal of Obesity, the research used data on more than 12,000 children born in 2000/2001 who were recruited to the UK Millennium Cohort Study, set up to look at the influences on children’s development into adulthood. They investigated the data from the age of seven to 11. More than half had a TV in their bedroom.

They found that girls who had a TV in their bedroom at age seven were at an approximately 30% higher risk of being overweight at age 11, compared to children who did not have a TV in their bedroom. Boys were 20% more likely to become overweight.

Full story : The Guardian

See also: TVs in children’s bedrooms ‘increase risk of obesity’ | BBC

Full reference: Heilmann, A et al. | Longitudinal associations between television in the bedroom and body fatness in a UK cohort study | International Journal of Obesity | article preview 1 June 2017

Physical Inactivity

Report from The British Heart Foundation (BHF) suggests that large numbers of people in the UK are still failing to meet recommendations for physical activity, putting them at greater risk of heart and circulatory disease.

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The British Heart Foundation has published Physical Inactivity Report 2017. This report provides an overview of the levels of physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour in adults across the UK.

The Government recommends that adults undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week and strength activities on at least two days a week . It is also recommended that adults minimise their levels of sedentary behaviour.
The data in this report suggests that large numbers of people in the UK are failing to meet these recommendations for physical activity.

The statistics also show that levels of sedentary behaviour in the UK remain high. This is of particular concern as evidence is growing which shows that sedentary behaviour  – time in which energy expenditure is very low – is an independent risk factor to physical inactivity.

The impact of physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles also weighs heavily on UK healthcare, estimated to cost as much as £1.2 billion a year.

The report suggests that making physical activity easier and more accessible for all is of paramount importance if we are to reduce the burden of inactivity-related ill health and improve the future cardiovascular health of our population.

Read the full report: Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour Report 2017

Combating high blood pressure

Health matters: combating high blood pressure | Public Health England

Health Matters – Combating high blood pressure

Image source: http://www.gov.uk 

 

With only half the adult population knowing their blood pressure, Public Health England (PHE) is encouraging all adults over the age of 40 to get it tested as part of the NHS Health Check, a simple measure that could save their life. If found to be at risk, high blood pressure can be managed and reduced by making simple lifestyle changes.

High blood pressure increases the risk of:

  • heart failure
  • coronary artery disease
  • stroke

It can also increase the risk of chronic kidney disease, peripheral arterial disease, and vascular dementia.

This professional resource outlines how providers and commissioners can reduce the population average blood pressure through improved prevention, detection and management.

Health Matters – Combating high blood pressure

Image source: http://www.gov.uk

 

Changing risk behaviours and promoting cognitive health in older adults

A summary of reviews supporting the commissioning of interventions across a range of health behaviours for older adults. | Public Health England

This resource is intended for local authority and clinical commissioning groups to identify what types of interventions they should focus on to help the uptake and maintenance of healthy behaviours and promote cognitive health among older adults living in the community.

It is also intended for providers of lifestyle behaviour change programmes to support the development of evidence-informed prevention packages for older adults.

It is produced in a way that makes it accessible to public health managers and practitioners working in the public, private and third sector.

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Image source: http://www.gov.uk

Public unaware of the factors that increase the risk of dementia

Just 2% of people in Britain can identify all the health and lifestyle factors that can increase risk of developing dementia. | Public Health England

More than a quarter (28%) of the British public is unable to correctly identify any potentially modifiable risk factor for developing dementia, according to new findings from the British Social Attitudes survey, which was commissioned by Public Health England (PHE).

The survey, carried out by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), asked the public if they could identify any of the following risk factors: heavy drinking, smoking, high blood pressure, depression and diabetes as well as the protective factor of taking regular exercise and found just 2% of the public is able to identify all of them.

Also, more than 1 in 4 people (27%) in Britain incorrectly believe that there is nothing anyone can do to reduce their risks of getting dementia. There is growing evidence that a third of dementia cases could be a result of factors potentially in our control, and actions like taking regular exercise and not smoking can reduce your risk of developing it. This means there is huge potential for prevention.

Full report: Attitudes to dementia: Findings from the 2015 British Social Attitudes survey