Launch of Ireland’s first National Workplace Wellbeing Day
Ireland’s workforce wants to get healthier and they believe their employers can play a role in helping them according to new research commissioned by the Nutrition and Health Foundation (NHF). Ireland’s first Workplace Wellbeing Day will take place on Friday, 27th March 2015. The nationwide campaign aims to help improve employee health through promoting effective wellbeing initiatives targeted at better nutrition and physical activity in workplaces around Ireland. Healthy workplaces and workforces have also been identified as a priority area under Healthy Ireland, the national framework to improve health and wellbeing across the population.
DHSSPSNI has published the first results of its Health Survey Northern Ireland 2013/14 Report
The Health Survey Northern Ireland is conducted annually and covers a wide range of health topics. The report from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety Northern Ireland (DHSSPSNI) provides an interesting range of statistics on key areas relating to general health, mental health and wellbeing, diet and nutrition, physical activity, obesity, smoking, drinking and sexual health.
New report finds the worldwide cost of obesity comparable to that of smoking or armed conflict
The report, produced by the McKinsey Global Institute outlines that some 2.1bn people, about 30% of the world's population, are now overweight or obese. Worryingly, the proportion could rise to almost half of the world's population by 2030. Obesity is costing the global economy an estimated €2tn a year, and it costs the UK £47bn. The researchers say measures that relied less on individual responsibility should be used to tackle the problem, and that if the right measures were taken there could be long-term savings of £760m a year for the UK's National Health Service. The annual cost of overweight and obesity on the island of Ireland is estimated to be more than €1 billion.
The workplace has a key role to play in tackling the obesity epidemic
According to the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF), the national charity fighting heart disease and stroke, establishing supportive environments in settings like the workplace is a vital step in helping to tackle the obesity health crisis, which is the cause of an estimated 2,000 premature deaths in Ireland annually. The IHF was commending the efforts of 85 businesses and organisations around the country that have supported 55,000 employees to make healthier choices through the IHF workplace programme. According to the IHF, Irish businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of a healthier workforce in terms of reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and improved employee morale.
New figures from Public Health England show high blood pressure costs NHS billions each year
Over 5 million people are unaware they have high blood pressure yet it affects more than 1 in 4 adults and is one of the biggest risk factors for premature death and disability in England, accounting for 12% of all GP visits. High blood pressure can lead to diseases including heart disease, stroke, vascular dementia and chronic kidney disease; however, it can be prevented or controlled through lifestyle changes. A group has been established to look towards improving the prevention, detection and management of high blood pressure, and this group today published its action plan. The new figures show that ‘by reducing the blood pressure of the nation as a whole, £850 million of NHS and social care spend could be avoided over 10 years’.
Mediterranean diets may be better than low-fat diets for sustained weight loss
Writing in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, leading doctors outline that healthy eating needs to become a priority for the NHS to improve health outcomes for staff and the public. The doctors outline how the Mediterranean diet quickly reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, and that adoption of the diet is also the best way to tackle obesity long term, rather than focusing on calorie restriction. The diet typically consists of an abundance of vegetables, fresh fruit, wholegrain cereals, olive oil and nuts, as well as poultry and fish, rather than lots of red meat and butter or animal fats. The authors argue the NHS is in a "key position" to set a national example by providing healthy food in hospitals and by ensuring doctors and nurses understand the evidence.
The World Diabetes Day 2014 campaign marks the first of a three-year (2014-16) focus on healthy living and diabetes. World Diabetes Day, which is co-ordinated by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), this year focuses on starting each day right by having a healthy breakfast and making healthy food choices. The total number of people living with diabetes in Ireland is estimated to be 225,840. You can explore more statistics on diabetes in Ireland and Northern Ireland by visiting our Community Profiles Tool. Just follow the link below. IPH also systematically estimated and forecast the prevalence of diabetes on the island of Ireland in 2012, you can access this Diabetes briefing here
PHE Obesity Knowledge and Intelligence has produced a new resource on Obesity and Fitness
The Public Health England Obesity website provides a single point of contact for wide-ranging authoritative information on data, evaluation, evidence and research related to weight status and its determinants. Their latest paper, entitled, ‘Obesity and Fitness: The relationship between obesity, cardiorespiratory fitness and mortality’, presents recent evidence behind the relationship between obesity, cardiorespiratory fitness and mortality, and briefly explores the main public health implications.
Public Health England to review and update the eatwell plate and refresh 5 A DAY messages
Public Health England (PHE) has established an external reference group to consider the potential impact of possible new dietary reference values on the eatwell plate as a result of the recently published draft Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN)’s report on Carbohydrates and Health. SACN’s draft recommendation is that dietary intakes of sugars should reduce, and fibre increase, from current guidelines. This reference group forms part of PHE’s activities outlined in Sugar reduction – responding to the challenge. A separate reference group is advising on refreshing the 5 A DAY messages and associated logo scheme to encourage consumption of more fruit and vegetables.
National Exercise Referral Framework (NERF) for Ireland - Public Consultation extended to 10th November
The Health Service Executive (HSE) developed the GP Exercise Referral Programme (GPERP) to support individuals to become more physically active. However, a recent SWOT analysis of the GPERP outlined the need for a new national framework for exercise referral. Following a tender process, Dublin City University (DCU) were commissioned by the HSE to develop a new National Exercise for Health Referral Framework for Ireland. It is anticipated that NERF will be delivered in the supportive context of Healthy Ireland’s National Health and Wellbeing Framework, the National Physical Activity Plan and the Chronic Disease Prevention Programme. Public consultation on Draft 2 of the NERF document has now been extended to 10th of November 2014 at 11.45pm.