Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Irish primary school children stabilising, but no difference seen in disadvantaged schools
The HSE today published the latest findings of the WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) for Ireland. So far, there have been three waves of surveillance among Irish school children at 7, 9 and 11 years completed in 2008, 2010 and 2012. While results show that 20% or our children are overweight or obese, there are some encouraging signs. Rates of overweight and obesity show decreases at age 7, and stabilisation at age 9. However, overall incidence remains high and more worryingly, the observed reduction or levelling off is not happening in the Department of Education and Skills designated disadvantaged schools (DEIS). The findings are of particular importance for those working on implementing the Healthy Ireland Framework.
WHO has opened a public consultation on its draft guideline on sugar intake
The current guideline from WHO proposes that sugars should account for less than 10% of total energy intake per day, but the new guideline also proposes a target of 5% of total energy intake per day would have additional health benefits. This is the equivalent to around 25g or 6 teaspoons of sugar per day for an adult with a normal BMI. The limits apply to all ‘free’ sugar, which is sugar added to foods by the manufacturer, plus the sugar naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices. The WHO guideline is based on the findings of all published scientific studies looking at the health impacts of sugars on obesity and tooth decay. Comments on the draft guideline will be accepted via the WHO website from the 5th – 31st March 2014.
PHE Obesity publish new paper looking at obesity and disability in children and young people
The paper examines the evidence linking obesity and disability in children and young people. It looks at a range of impairments or health conditions associated with disability and explores the main obesity-related chronic health conditions that can develop during childhood and adolescence. It also highlights:
inequalities experienced by children and young people in relation to obesity and disability
implications for policy, practice and research
survey data on obesity and limiting long-term illness or disability
UCC researchers find one in 12 children suffering from high blood pressure
The Cork Children’s Lifestyle Study (CCLaS), led by Professor Ivan Perry of the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, UCC screened 1075 children (9-11yrs) in the Cork City area. One quarter of those screened were found to be overweight, with findings more pronounced in young girls. Obese children were twice more likely to have high blood pressure than their normal weight counterparts. Contributing factors were sedentary pastimes such as TV and computer gaming, but diet emerged as a particular concern. An over-reliance on processed and take-away foods is leading to much higher than recommend intakes of salt in the diet. Findings will be presented at the NCRC Children’s Health Research Symposium in UCC Wednesday March 5th.
New analysis from WHO shows Ireland has the 3rd highest proportion of overweight 11-year-olds in Europe
The country profiles developed by WHO on nutrition, physical activity and obesity provide an overview of country data across Europe on a selected list of monitoring and surveillance indicators including:
Overweight and obesity for adults, adolescents and children
Exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life
More Census data included in latest Community Profiles update
A number of indicators have recently been updated on the Community Profiles. These include more data from Census 2011, lifestyle data from the 2011/12 NI Health Survey as well as environmental indicators relating to aspects of our environment from the quality of our drinking water to the quantity of household waste both produced and recycled. A number of themes are affected by this update including Living Conditions, Obesity, Health Behaviours and Environments.
New study on London’s bicycle sharing system shows positive health impacts overall
The objective of this study was to model the impacts of London bicycle sharing system, also known as ‘Boris Bikes’ on the health of its users. The London bike sharing scheme was launched in 2010, and this paper points out that bicycle sharing schemes are increasingly popular around the world, growing from 5 schemes in Europe in 2000 to 636 schemes in 49 countries in 2013. Results showed a positive impact of the scheme overall with greater benefits for men than women, and for the over 45s who have more to gain from increased physical activity. These benefits outweighed the negative impact of injuries and air pollution.
Guidelines in development on best way for schools to promote healthy eating
The Department of Education and Skills, along with the Department of Health and other key stakeholders are currently developing guidelines on the best way for schools to promote healthy eating, especially when there is a school shop or vending machines. The announcement comes following the results of the latest ‘Lifeskills’ Survey, which provides information on primary and post-primary schools in the Republic of Ireland. Topics covered include healthy eating, physical activity, substance use, relationship and sexuality education, child protection, anti-bullying, student councils and road safety.
Latest All Island Obesity Newsletter now available
This edition for January/February is once again packed full with news, events, research updates and training opportunities. The first section contains information directly submitted by Forum members including a spotlight piece from Safefood on their current Childhood Obesity Campaign which launched in October. While initial messages focussed on portion size and decreasing consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, for 2014 the Campaign will focus on increasing physical activity and decreasing the intake of treat foods.
New report from WHO shows Irish people are eating more fast food
The report, ‘The influence of market deregulation on fast food consumption and body mass index: a cross-national time series analysis, in the latest edition of the Bulletin of the WHO, looked at 25 high-income OECD countries between 1999 and 2008. Findings show that the average number of fast food transactions per capita increased from 26 to 32. During this same period, BMI also increased from 25.8 to 26.4. The researchers concluded that there was a ‘positive association' between fast food consumption and average BMI. The study also found that nations who adopted more stringent market regulations have experienced slower increase in both Fast food consumption and BMI. The highest increase in the average number of annual fast food transactions per capita were observed in Canada (16.6) with Ireland (12.3), while the lowest increases occurred in Italy (1.5).