Archive for June 2012

Obesity a derogatory name claims nanny quango Nice

Doctors tasked with tackling the country’s obesity crisis have been told to avoid using the word obese, because it could be considered “unhelpful” or even “derogatory”.Obesity a derogatory name claims nanny quango NiceA quarter of adults in Britain are now obese, a figure that is due to more than double by 2050. Those from poorer backgrounds are much more likely to be obese than the more affluent.

But a government quango is now advising public health experts drawing up anti-obesity plans around the country to avoid using the ‘o’ word itself for fear of upsetting people.

Health campaigners last night attacked the softly-softly approach, describing it as “extremely patronising”.

Under draft guidance issued by the National Institute for Curbing Expenditure (Nice), those who are obese should merely be encouraged to get down to a “healthier weight”.

The guidance states that public health professionals should know “the appropriate language to use”, advising them: “Referring to ‘achieving a healthy weight’ may be more acceptable for some people.”

The document continues: “Directors of public health and local government communications leads should carefully consider the type of language and media to use to communicate about obesity.

“For example, it might be better to refer to a ‘healthier weight’ rather than ‘obesity’ – and to talk more generally about health and wellbeing or specific community issues.”

Ironically, the advice is contained in a paper that makes no bones about its subject matter: it is called Obesity: Working with Local Communities.

However, Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said: “This is extremely patronising. They should be talking to people in an adult fashion.  There should be no problem with using the proper terminology. If you beat around the bush then you muddy the water.”

Obesity is a medical term, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. BMI is calculated by dividing one’s weight in kilograms by the square of one’s height in metres.

Mr Fry went on: “Obesity is a well defined, World Health Organisation standard that everybody can understand.

“It is the point where the individual is so overweight that they are at risk of other health problems.”

Squeamishness over use of the word is not new. When the National Child Measurement Programme was launched in 2008, Department of Health officials decided against using the words “fat” or “obese” in letters to parents. They were simply told their son or daughter was overweight.

Such fears of upsetting people are not shared by Anne Milton, the Public Health Minister. Two years ago she said that people should be told they were “fat” rather than “obese” because she felt the word was more hard-hitting.

She said: “If I look in the mirror and think I am obese I think I am less worried [than] if I think I am fat.”


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Men eat healthily to avoid matrimonial conflict

Married men eat healthy food at home in order to keep the peace with their wives but gorge on junk food when they go out- according to a new study.Men eat healthily to avoid matrimonial conflictAs anyone who remembers Jerry and Margo from the Good Life can attest- when men are left to their own devices standards of eaten cuisine drop faster than a lead balloon- or rise faster than a helium balloon depending on one’s point of view. Now new research proves the syndrome.

Researchers at the University of Michigan in the United States found that wives make their husbands eat healthy food at home, often not even consulting them about what they would like.

Men are willing to put up with low fat meals or salads even of they do not like them to “keep their wives happy.. and maintain marital harmony”.

However researchers found that men often compensate by heading to an all you can eat buffet for a “landslide of food” after a tasteless home cooked meal.

Professor Derek Griffith, who led the research team, said: “The key to married men adopting a healthier diet is for couples to discuss and negotiate the new, healthier menu changes as a team.”

“I think at dinner a lot of men are eating healthier, but they compensate for the dissatisfaction of not eating what they want by making unhealthier choices outside the home.”

Prof Griffith said that a compromise could be reached between a wife’s desire for health and a husband’s desire for tastiness if the couple sit down and talk.

“Doctors could suggest that men have a tactful conversation with their wives in a way that ensures the husbands aren’t sleeping on the couch that night,” he said.

If couples discuss their dinner plans, then this could stop the man from eating unhealthily when he is away from home, the research concluded.

While men were appreciative that their wives cared about their health, they were rarely consulted and often disliked the healthy changes their wives made.

However the research found that the men went to lengths to avoid conflict, and preferred to have a happy home than have a say in what they eat.

The men prioritized “keeping their wives happy, preserving spousal division of roles, and maintaining marital harmony” over having a spat over food or expressing their personal food preferences.

The report found that the only examples of couples discussing healthy food choices in the home was when it is done for the benefit of children.

Men said that a strict domestic diet was relaxed when they were eating away from home with their wives. It said: “Men perceived having more freedom to choose what they ate while eating out, even when accompanied by their wives, compared with at home.”

The findings were published in a report called “She Looks Out For The Meals, Period”, which was published in the Journal of Health Psychology.

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Alzheimers Memory Walk for charity all around the UK

On September 16th thousands of people all around the country will walk together to raise money to fight dementia- please walk with us.

Memory Walks are taking place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and registration is simple and free – just select the walk you want to be part of and complete the online form.

The money you raise will help us to run services in your community. The more people who take part, and the more money you raise, the bigger difference we will make to people’s lives.

Raise money It’s quick and easy to donate, and the amounts given tend to be higher so just follow the instructions below to set up your JustGiving account. It’s really simple.

  • Go to
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your page.
  • Personalise it with a message to potential sponsors about why you’ve chosen Memory Walk and Alzheimer’s Society, and why reaching your target is important to you.
  • Ask everyone to sponsor you by emailing a request with a link to your web page to friends, family and colleagues.
  • Update your sponsors with some news about your Memory Walk and thank them for their support.

Fundraising tips Here are some tips to ensure you get the most out of your fundraising!

  • Start as early as you possibly can – don’t leave it to the last minute.
  • Set yourself a target and be positive that you can reach it.
  • Ask your company to support you; a lot of companies will match the sponsorship you raise so you will be doubling your total!
  • Tell everyone that you are doing this event for the Society and carry a sponsorship form with you at all times.
  • Ask friends if they could organise an event or donate their skills (for example haircutting) in exchange for donations.
  • Tick the Gift Aid box – it means that the Inland Revenue will pay the Society an extra 28p for every £1 that’s donated.
  • Make sure the first pledge on the sponsorship form is a high one as it sets the tone for the rest.

What your support could provide

  • £35 could support a person with dementia to receive a one hour befriending session with a volunteer, providing them with companionship and social support
  • £50 could support five people with dementia to attend a one hour session at a Dementia Cafe, receiving information and support in a friendly and informal setting
  • £104 could allow callers from anywhere in the country to call the national Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Helpline each week at their local rate
  • £200 could help run one session of Singing for the Brain, an Alzheimer’s Society activity that enables people with dementia and their carers to engage in the benefits and enjoyment of structured community singing

For more fundraising tips and ideas, visit Alzheimer’s Society website.

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Growing number of hospital patients are malnourished when they die

Growing number of hospital patients are malnourished when they dieWhile not recorded as the cause of death, the “effects of hunger” were noted on the death certificates of 301 people in England in 2010, up from 195 in 2001.

The total of more than 2,500 over the decade covered deaths that occurred in NHS hospitals and is likely to be an underestimate because deaths in nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals or in the patients’ homes were not included.

There has been fierce criticism of nursing care of the elderly in hospital, with patients reported to have been drinking from flower vases because they were so thirsty, and meals regularly being left out of reach.

However, malnutrition can be a side–effect of underlying conditions such as cancer and dementia, and patients who are nearing the end of their lives are often found to be unable or unwilling to eat.

The figures were disclosed in a parliamentary answer to Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary.

Stephen Penneck, the director–general of the Office for National Statistics, provided the answers on behalf of the Cabinet Office. He said: “Malnutrition may be recorded as the underlying cause of death, but this is a rare occurrence.

“The ‘effects of hunger’ is never recorded as the underlying cause of death, because it is defined by the international classification of diseases as a ‘secondary cause’ only. Consequently, deaths with any mention of either of these causes on the death certificate have been provided.”


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Red meat and butter could raise Alzheimer’s risk

Eating too much red meat, butter and other foods that contain high levels of saturated fats could increase the risk of Alzheimer’s according to new research.Red meat and butter could raise Alzheimer's riskUS researchers linked to Harvard University found older women who ate lots of food high in saturated fats had worse memories than others.

By contrast, those who ate more monounsaturated fats – found in olive oil, sunflower oil, seeds, nuts and avocados – had better memories.

Dr Oliva Okereke, from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass., which is affiliated to Harvard Medical School, said: “When looking at changes in cognitive function, what we found is that the total amount of fat intake did not really matter, but the type of fat did.”

She and fellow researchers made their conclusions after looking at results from 6,000 women over 65, who carried out a series of mental tests over four years and answered questionnaires about their diet and lifestyle.

Dr Okereke added: “Substituting in the good fat in place of the bad fat is a fairly simple dietary modification that could help prevent decline in memory.”

Having a poor memory can be a harbinger of Alzheimer’s in elderly people, although the former by no means always leads to the latter.

It follows other research showing a link between high cholesterol and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia.

The report is published in thejournal Annals of Neurology.

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Dentists’ warning on smoothies and juices- popular drinks are more acidic than vinegar

Health conscious parents are “misguidedly” letting their children’s teeth rot by giving them too many fruit smoothies and juice drinks, senior dentists have warned.Dentists' warning on smoothies and juices- popular drinks are more acidic than vinegarThe concerns were raised as official figures disclosed that dental problems have become the third most common reason for children to be admitted to hospital.

An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph reveals the acid levels of popular juice drinks consumed by millions of households – including one found to be more acidic than vinegar.

Dr Kathy Harley, dean of the dental faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons, said many parents encouraged their children to drink smoothies and juices every day, unaware that the combination of high acid levels and sugar content can destroy young teeth.

Instead of giving children the apparently healthy snack of fruit juice and a box of raisins, it would be better for their teeth if they were given a glass of water and a handful of chocolate buttons, she said.

Manufacturers are required to publish information about the nutritional content of drinks on the label – but not their levels of acid, which can erode the surface of teeth, making decay more likely.

Dr Harley said 50 per cent of five year olds now have signs of damage to their tooth enamel caused by excess acid in their diet.

She said that while health conscious parents had the best of intentions in trying to follow the Government’s “five a day” advice for feeding their children fruit and vegetables, in fact the combination of acid and sugar in juice drinks meant they should be restricted to a “once a week treat”.

Tooth enamel begins to be destroyed when acid levels in the mouth drop below 5.5 on the pH scale, which has 7 as neutral and 1 as strong acid.

While water has a pH of 7, and milk is just below at 6.8, our investigation found that a soft drink called This Water with lemons and limes, which describes itself as a “juice drink blended with pure squeezed juices and pure spring water”, had a level of 2.7 – making it more acidic than cider vinegar, which had a level of 2.9.

This Water also contains 9.5 teaspoons of sugar in a 420ml (14.7 fl oz) bottle. In 2008, the company, which is part of Innocent Drinks founder Richard Reed’s empire, had an advertisement campaign banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for failing to inform consumers about the sugar content of its juice drinks.

The products were advertised with the strapline: “Simple, natural, refreshment” in posters which stated that the drink was made from water and fruit but made no mention of added sugar.

The other fruit drinks tested, including Tropicana orange juice, Copella apple juice, Innocent smoothies, Capri Sun orange drink and Robinsons Fruit Shoot apple and blackcurrant low sugar drink all had acid levels ranging between 3.3 and 3.8.

The most acidic beverage tested was Coca Cola, with a pH level of 2.5 and 12.5 teaspoons of sugar in a 500ml (17.5 fluid ounces) bottle.

Dentists said that rather than consuming fruit or fruit juices as a snack, they were better consumed at meal times or accompanied with something containing calcium, such as cheese, which neutralises acid.

Children should be encouraged to drink water afterwards to wash away some of the acid, but not to brush their teeth until at least an hour afterwards, as teeth are weakened by exposure to acid, they said. Saliva also helps to restore the balance.


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