Child under nutrition project: A report about the current undernourishment of children in England

Patients Association, July 2017

TChild Nutritionhe Patients Association has issued a report suggesting that under-nutrition among children is not confined to the developing world, but is a problem in Britain today.

The project was undertaken by the Patients Association and funded by a non-restricted education grant from Abbott. A cross-section of health and care staff in four sites – Bradford, Cornwall, Tower Hamlets and Birmingham – were interviewed. Parents were also interviewed in Bradford and Cornwall.

The findings reveal examples of positive efforts in working with children and families across agencies, particularly by public health teams, community and acute health staff; but many are overstretched and unable to meet demand for the types of information and guidance that people need. The report’s recommendations include:

  • Awareness of under-nutrition should be raised among both professionals and the public
  • New and existing training and guidance for professionals should include the identification and treatment of under-nutrition
  • National guidance and a care pathway should be developed specifically for undernutrition.
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Nutrition advice aimed at children also improves parents’ diets

Nutrition advice aimed at children also improves parents’ diets, according to research published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology | ScienceDaily

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For the current study, parental dietary intake was assessed by a one-day food record biennially from the child’s age of nine to 19 years. Weight, height, blood pressure, serum lipids, glucose and insulin of the parents were measured repeatedly from the child’s age of seven months until 20 years.

The investigators found that the child-oriented dietary counselling increased the intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and decreased the saturated fat intake of intervention mothers and fathers compared to control parents between the child’s ages of nine and 19 years.

In addition, the child-oriented dietary counselling tended to decrease serum total and LDL concentrations in intervention mothers compared to control mothers. There was a similar trend in fathers but it was not statistically significant.

‘Pro-vegetarian’ diet could halve chance of obesity

Study describes benefits of the ‘flexitarian’ diet: basically vegetarian, with meat and fish consumed occasionally | The Guardian Health

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A diet which reduces or even excludes meat and animal produce in favour of vegetables, fruit and grains could halve people’s chances of becoming obese, according to new research.

A study carried out in Spain describes the benefits of what researchers call a “pro-vegetarian” diet which does not exclude meat and dairy products but reduces them. It has also been called a “flexitarian” diet – basically vegetarian, with meat and fish consumed occasionally.

Some 16,000 university graduates were tracked from 1999 for 10 years, by which time 584 were obese, according to findings presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto, Portugal.

Read the full news story here

A realist review to explore how low-income pregnant women use food vouchers

Ohly H, et al. (2017) BMJ Open. 7:e013731

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Objectives: To explore how low-income pregnant women use Healthy Start food vouchers, the potential impacts of the programme, and which women might experience these impacts and why.

Conclusions: This realist review suggests that some low-income pregnant women may use Healthy Start vouchers to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables and plain cow’s milk, whereas others may use them to reduce food expenditure and save money for other things.

Read the full article here

Mental health and nutrition

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This briefing focuses on how nutrition can be effectively integrated into public health strategies to protect and improve mental health and emotional wellbeing. It discusses what we know about the relationship between nutrition and mental health, the risk and positive factors within our diets and proposes an agenda for action.

Food for thought: Mental health and nutrition briefing  is available to download at the Mental Health Foundation

 

Helping older people maintain a healthy diet

This review of evidence looks at ‘what works’ in supporting older people to maintain a healthy diet and reduce the risk of malnutrition. | Public Health England

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Malnutrition in older people can have a significant impact on their health and social care needs.It has been estimated that the greater use of healthcare because of malnutrition results in:

  • 65% more GP visits
  • 82% more hospital admissions
  • 30% longer hospital stay

Identifying and treating malnutrition is an important preventative measure that will reduce demands on health and care services

This review of evidence is intended for anyone working on older people’s health, particularly those working on nutrition and those supporting older people in daily living. It reviews the relevant national standards, such as nutritional and catering standards, relevant NICE standards and guidance, national and international evidence.

Finally, it looks at promising practice from England, to see what others are doing and the impact their work is having. For the purposes of this study older people are defined as being aged 65 or over.

Full Impact assessment : Helping older people maintain a healthy diet: A review of what works

Health impact assessment of the UK soft drinks industry levy

Briggs, A.D.M. et al. The Lancet Public Health. Published online: December 15 2016

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Background: In March, 2016, the UK Government proposed a tiered levy on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs; high tax for drinks with >8 g of sugar per 100 mL, moderate tax for 5–8 g, and no tax for <5 g). We estimate the effect of possible industry responses to the levy on obesity, diabetes, and dental caries.

Interpretation: The health impact of the soft drinks levy is dependent on its implementation by industry. Uncertainty exists as to how industry will react and about estimation of health outcomes. Health gains could be maximised by substantial product reformulation, with additional benefits possible if the levy is passed on to purchasers through raising of the price of high-sugar and mid-sugar drinks and activities to increase the market share of low-sugar products.

Read the full article here