Health and Vitality

CMO’s report on obesity: initial reaction

The chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies has published her analysis of how the government can best tackle childhood obesity.  Within the first page or so it was obvious this was going to be a pretty damning assessment of the current situation: “In the last year of primary school, on average, six children out…
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Children call for widespread alcohol advertising bans

Marketing of alcoholic drinks needs to be restricted, including at sporting events and on holiday, according to research conducted by children. Members of the Children’s Parliament in Scotland found that young people are being frequently exposed to alcohol through marketing, as well as in shops and at home. As a result, they feel “unsafe and…
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OOH ‘hidden sugar’ leads to calls for mandatory labelling

Another day, another analysis of the unhealthy offerings in the UK’s out of home (OOH) sector. What’s the story? Action on Sugar surveyed 191 products from restaurants, cafés and takeaways (including 94 crepes, 12 pancakes, 16 pretzels and 69 waffles and their toppings). What did they find? A lot of sugar. Almost half (42%) of…
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Plastic pollution health risks: we need to know more, says WHO

Microplastics in drinking water “don’t appear to pose a health risk” at current levels but there are a number of “gaps” in the research, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). “Quality-assured toxicological data are needed on the most common forms of plastic particles relevant for human health risk assessment,” WHO noted in its new…
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Promoting plant-based meals? Don’t forget the 80%

The two most impactful ways of reducing the footprint of our food are: reducing food waste along the whole food production and consumption chain; and consuming fewer animal products, writes Annette Burgard. In two quick statistics: agriculture is responsible for 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions; about 40% of all land on earth is used…
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The five types of plant-based consumer

Only 3% of consumers choosing a plant-based diet are “eco-warriers”, solely motivated by animal welfare, environmental concerns and health benefits.  The vast majority of plant-based consumers fall into four categories: the “healthy hardcores”, whose focus is primarily health; the “value hunters”, who are mainly students and are seeking foods with a longer shelf-life than meat;…
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Not what it says on the tin

Almost a third of food products are identically or similarly branded but have a different composition, according to research published by the European Commission. The pan-European analysis, carried out by the Commission’s in-house science and knowledge service, the Joint Research Centre, involved 1,380 samples of 128 food products in 19 EU countries. The UK was…
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£1m plan to teach children about food

Scotland has announced a £1m food education programme to teach young people about Scotland’s food industry and encourage healthy eating. The Good Food Futures programme will provide children with “a greater understanding of where food comes from and the many career opportunities available in the industry”, the government said. There will be support for more…
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“Trailblazer” councils receive £1.5m to tackle obesity

Restaurants and takeaways that improve menus and incentivise healthier options will be offered free waste removal and subsidised advertising rates. The trial, led by Blackburn with Darwen council, is one of a number of initiatives being funded and supported by the Department of Health and Social Care, the Local Government Association (LGA) and Public Health…
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Processed meat and sugar cut from school menus

Scotland has set maximum limits for consumption of sugar and certain types of meat in school meals. School food regulations will be amended for the first time in 10 years to ensure: a maximum amount of red and processed red meat provision – such as bacon, ham and pepperoni – in school lunches to help…
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