Popular Posts

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Teenage girls skip meals amid weight concerns

Two thirds of girls aged 14 to 15 are unhappy with their weight with almost a third skipping breakfast, a new report has revealed.A survey by the Schools Health Education Unit has revealed that 38% of 10-year-old girls are not happy with their weight.

The figure increased as the girls developed, with almost two thirds of Year 10s, aged 14 to 15, questioned wanting to lose weight. Only 32% of the age group were happy with how they were.

The issue was not so prevalent with boys but the study did find that on average 31% of those in Years Six to 10 wanted to lose weight.

The report, based on data collected from more than 83,000 pupils in Years Six, Eight and 10 across the UK, revealed that almost a third of Year 10 girls had nothing to eat for breakfast on the day they were questioned.

Of those who skipped breakfast, 24% said they also missed lunch the previous day.

Dr Laura Wyness, a senior nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, said: “Popular media has a large influence on young people’s body image, placing a great deal of pressure on obtaining the ‘ideal’ body shape.

“This often leads to young girls adopting unhealthy practices such as smoking, skipping meals, especially breakfast, severely reducing perceived fattening foods in their diet, such as red meat and dairy produce, which are important sources of protein, iron, zinc and calcium, and adopting very low energy diets.

“Having a healthy breakfast every day is important for providing essential nutrients. There is some evidence that eating breakfast may improve cognitive function.

“Breakfast clubs in schools have been found to have a small but positive impact on a selection of educational outcomes.

“Evidence suggests that eating breakfast may have a protective effect against becoming overweight or obese, however as the evidence is mainly from observational studies, causality should not be assumed based on these findings.”

The report also said that as pupils get older, fewer eat fruit and vegetables daily despite Government recommendations that five portions should be consumed each day.

On average, 41% of the boys questioned did not eat fresh fruit, salads or vegetables on “most days”, compared to 31% of girls.

Of the girls and boys questioned from Year Six, 40% said they ate no protein “on most days”. However, around a quarter enjoyed crisps, sweets or chocolate regularly.

The study also revealed that three quarters of girls aged 14 to 15 drank less than a litre of water on the day before they were questioned and 12% drank none at all.

The NHS recommends people drink about 1.2 litres of fluid every day to stop dehydration.

The data also found that the number of girls who exercised regularly decreased as they grew older.

More than 70% of Year Six girls exercised three time or more in the last week compared to 46% of Year 10 girls.

Football, cycling, jogging and going for a walk were popular choices as activities outside school and many said they took part in these at least weekly.

However, almost 20% of 14- to 15-year-old girls and 15% of boys of the same age had done no active sports outside school in the last 12 months.

Weight loss diets work better with WeightWatchers than the NHS

NHS weight loss programmes are more expensive and less effective than WeightWatchers, a study has found.Diet programmes such as Weight Watchers, Slimming World and Rosemary Conley are cheaper and far more effective than those run by the NHS’s nanny state, according to new research.

Dieters lost more weight and kept it off for longer by joining a slimming club than after having counselling from specially trained staff in GP surgeries or pharmacies, it was found.

Experts said money would be better spent on encouraging people to attend classes run by commercial companies.

The study, Comparison of range of commercial or primary care led weight reduction programmes with minimal intervention control for weight loss in obesity is published online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), involved 740 obese or overweight men and women recruited from one NHS trust in Birmingham.

They were divided into six groups and attended either Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Rosemary Conley, a group-based NHS programme run by advisers and dieticians called Size Down, one-to-one counselling sessions in GP surgeries, or one-to-one counselling in pharmacies.

Another group was provided with 12 vouchers for free entrance to a local fitness centre.

At 12 weeks, data was available for 658 of the participants and 522 after one year.

All programmes achieved weight loss at 12 weeks – from an average of 1.37kg in the GP group to 4.43kg in the Weight Watchers group.

But the NHS programmes were found to be no better than the people exercising at a local fitness centre at this point.

At the one year mark, all the programmes except the GP and pharmacy groups had resulted in “significant weight loss”.

However, Weight Watchers was the only programme to achieve significantly greater weight loss than the control group – and was the best attended group.

Compared to the NHS programmes, commercially-run ones meant people typically lost an extra 2.3kg.

The authors, from the University of Birmingham, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and NHS South Birmingham concluded: “Commercially provided weight management services are more effective and cheaper than primary care based services led by specially trained staff, which are ineffective.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “Weight management programmes can be very cost-effective and make losing weight easier for some people, but the best way to lose weight will be different for everyone.

“The local NHS must think about which weight management service will work best based on an individual patient’s needs.”

In September, another study conducted in the UK, Germany and Australia showed that a year-long Weight Watchers programme was far more beneficial than helpful doctor’s advice.

NHS among best health care systems in the world

Britain has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, according to results of an international survey published this week. The Commonwealth Fund survey consistently ranks the NHS highly on a range of measures looking at how health systems deal with people with chronic and serious illness.

It finds people in Britain have among the fastest access to GPs, the best co-ordinated care, and suffer from the among the fewest medical errors, of 11 high income countries surveyed.

The countries examined were: the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Britain and Switzerland were consistently among the best performers, found the analysis of answers from over 18,000 adults with chronic and serious illness.

For example, the Washington DC based organisation reported: “UK and Swiss patients reported more positive health care experiences than sicker adults in the other countries: they were more likely to be able to get a same- or next-day appointment when sick and to have easy access to after-hours care, and they were less likely to experience poorly coordinated care.”

The success of the NHS stands out despite the fact that per capita health spending in the UK is the third lowest of the 11, at £2,170 per head, compared with £3,200 in Switzerland and £4,950 in the US.

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation which claims to support “independent research on health policy reform”.

However, it is widely seen in the US as being strongly in favour of President Obama’s health reforms.

Today’s report is highly critical of current US healthcare. Karen Davis, its president, says the country “practically stands alone when it comes to people with illness or chronic conditions having difficulty affording health care and paying medical bills”.

A spokesman for the Royal College of General Practitioners said the survey “shows yet again that the excellent work carried out by GPs in the UK is recognised worldwide, leading the field in ease of access, coordinated care and good patient doctor relationships”.

He added: “If the current reform of the NHS is to achieve anything, it must preserve and build on the strengths of general practice by producing more GPs, who are trained for longer so that they can do even more to improve the health of their patients.

Unions’ strike means thousands of operations to be postponed today

Hospital managers are planning to postpone thousands of non emergency operations today, because of the public sector unions striking over pension changes.Patients across the UK have been sent letters warning them of the disruption.

Diagnostic tests and outpatient appointments will also be delayed, but hospitals insist emergency and critical care will not be affected.

Managers say they are preparing as they would for Christmas or bank holidays.

An estimated 400,000 nurses and healthcare assistants, as well as paramedics, physiotherapists, and support staff like cleaners and administrators have said they will join the action on 30 November over changes to public sector pensions.

However, the main medical unions – the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives and the British Medical Association are not taking part.

The Department of Health in England said it was expecting at least 5,500 non-emergency procedures like hip and knee operations to be rearranged.

More than 12,000 patients are likely to have diagnostic tests postponed, and 40,000 outpatient appointments are expected to be rescheduled.

On an average day, 28,000 patients have planned treatments or operations in England and there are 60,000 diagnostic tests.

However, managers say they are putting plans in place to make sure people can still get emergency or urgent care, in the way they do on bank holidays or at Christmas.
999 calls

Patients needing urgent treatment like chemotherapy and kidney dialysis will still be able to get it, and maternity units will remain open.

Calls to 999 will still be answered, but patients are being urged to think hard and only call if it is a genuine emergency.

The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, said health service workers should not take action that harms the interests of patients.

“I would ask staff to consider carefully whether going on strike is the right thing to do,” he said.

Government plans to share NHS patient details with private sector raises data privacy concerns

Critics warn that parts of the Government’s plan to share patient records with private companies give real concern over personal data privacy issues.Mr Burnham said it is “absolutely essential” that patient data is safeguarded, after The Sunday Telegraph revealed David Cameron will use a keynote speech to outline far closer “collaboration” between the health service and life science companies.

The Prime Minister will say that the controversial industry has the potential to be a powerhouse of Britain’s 21st century economy, but that it is stifled by excessive regulation at present.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Burnham said that while he did not object in principle to close ties between the NHS and private sector life science companies, he was concerned that “one of the patients’ groups that was on the working group looking at this issue has walked away”.

“That gives real cause for concern and rings alarm bells” he said. “The Government simply can’t say: ‘This is all red tape and it all must be brushed away’”.

“Proper regulation, essential safeguards need to be in place when it comes to the use of patient data.”

The move, which will give life science companies more freedom to run clinical trials inside hospitals, is likely to face a backlash from privacy campaigners who have consistently opposed private companies being given access to medical records.

There will be particular opposition from animal rights activists who object vehemently, and sometimes violently, to vivisection, while religious groups, particularly the Roman Catholic Church, could object to firms that use stem cells harvested from embryos being allowed access to NHS data.

One senior executive at a leading drugs company well-known for using animal testing said: “You can look at the NHS as one massive database with 60 million people in it.”

The Prime Minister will stress that greater integration between private companies and the NHS could advance medical science, give patients greater access to cutting-edge treatments and save money, while boosting economic growth.

With Britain teetering on the brink of a double-dip recession, ministers are keen to show that they have a positive vision of the future.

“Britain has the potential to become a powerhouse in the world’s life sciences industry,” said a Downing Street source this weekend.

“We want to see much closer collaboration between the NHS and life science companies — not just greater data-sharing, but more clinical trials in hospitals.

“These changes will not only boost the industry, but also potentially give the NHS early access to new, innovative drugs treatments.”

Welcoming the move, Andrew Witty, the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, said: “Any action the Government takes to improve the environment in this country for life science across these activities is welcome.”

Britain is considered uniquely placed to become a world leader in life sciences because of the strength of scientific research at its top universities and the amount of data and expertise amassed by the NHS since its creation in 1948.

The industry already employs about 160,000 people in 4,500 companies, ranging from large multinationals to small businesses.

These firms employ highly skilled researchers with PhDs down to lower-skilled workers in drugs manufacturing plants.

Whether such companies would be charged for access to NHS records was not clear.

Although personal information should be anonymised, the public sector has an appauling history of handling the personal details of citizens.

Numerous health trusts have been criticised for losing patient records in recent years and HM Revenue & Customs has previously lost the financial records of millions of taxpayers.

Privacy campaigners led a vigorous campaign against the previous Labour government’s plans to place every medical record on a central electronic database.

It is understood that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency would oversee the sharing of NHS data with businesses.

Joyce Robins, from Patient Concern, said many people would be “deeply disturbed” by the notion that their private medical records could be handed to firms seeking new markets.

“Even when they say records will be anonymised, the amount of detail contained in medical records means that companies may be able to find ways to target people with particular conditions,” she said.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...