CEDAR Bulletin No. 23 – December 2017

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New Evidence Brief: Roads and communities – The impact of major road infrastructure on health in local neighbourhoods

Our lives are influenced by the places we live in. Major infrastructure projects, such as new roads, may bring new opportunities to local communities, but can also degrade the local environment and bring about undesirable impacts.

This new Evidence Brief, summarising finding from the Traffic and Health in Glasgow Study, looks at how new roads influence our behaviour, health and wellbeing.


CEDAR in the media: Children in poor areas exposed to fast food takeaways

Our research on how food access in our neighbourhoods affects our diet choice, body weight and health has been in the news again.

Following its coverage in July, the Guardian featured two pieces on how children in poorer areas are being exposed to more fast food takeaways. The articles used the Ordnance Survey data that CEDAR has been using to build its Food environment assessment tool (Feat).

Guardian coverage

This followed reports that Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is planning a ban on fast-food outlets within 400m of London schools (Evening Standard). The BBC’s Reality Check took a look at these plans, quoting our research. And Quartz magazine looks at why poor children in England are socially engineered to be overweight.

A reminder about the Food environment assessment tool (Feat)

You can access Feat free online. It is underpinned by the latest scientific evidence about how food access in our neighbourhoods affects our dietary choices, body weight and health. It allows you to map, measure and monitor access to food outlets at a neighbourhood level, including changes over time. It is designed around the needs of professionals in public health, environmental health and planning roles, locally and nationally.


The price of prevention – healthy diets and the cost of food

For decades, the UK government has provided science-based recommendations and guidelines for healthy eating, but British diets still fall short of these recommendations.

Understanding the population-level factors behind this shortfall is necessary so we can devise how the guidance can better serve public health.

A new study from CEDAR and the MRC Epidemiology Unit, published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, tested whether diets achieving recommendations from the UK’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) was associated with higher food costs in a nationally-representative sample of UK adults.


There’s now a sequel to Lou’s Tuesday – Properties of compositions

In part 2 of a video series about the use of compositions in measuring physical activity, Dr Louise Foley takes a look at three important properties of compositions. There are only 24 hours in a day, and how we analyse them matters for health research.

In this new video, Lou delves a bit deeper and looks at scale invariance, sub-compositional coherence, and permutation invariance.

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Blog: Childhood obesity in South Africa – is it a problem?

Sonja Klingberg, a PhD student at CEDAR and the MRC Epidemiology Unit, writes about her research into childhood obesity in South Africa. The article was shortlisted for the 2017 Max Perutz Science Writing Award.

It’s mid-morning at a primary school in a South African township. The sun is almost at its highest point, and the schoolyard is crowded with children in school uniforms who are having their first break of the day.

What are they doing? In my version of this scenario, the children are gathering around snack vendors, spending their lunch money on crisps, or perhaps ice lollies. After doing some field work in South Africa earlier this year, this is my most vivid memory from visiting schools. Snacks, everywhere. But if snacks were not the first thing you thought of, I am not surprised. The simplified image of hunger and famine in Africa seems difficult to shake, and in reality undernutrition is still a big problem in South Africa. However, it has been joined by the challenges many wealthier nations have been battling for years: overweight and obesity.


Blog: Why it’s not always ‘normal’ to exercise – and how that could change

CEDAR PhD Student Anna Le Gouais writes about why her commute and her research are intimately connected.

I cruise past the snake of slow moving traffic, the breeze on my face and my raincoat in my basket, in case the weather forecast is wrong, again. The painted cycle path is sacrificed to a bus stop as I near the junction and I squeeze past the stationary cars to reach the cycle area at the front of the queue just before the lights change.

Cars and buses overtake me, sometimes worrying close, but I’m used to it – I cycle to and from the office every day, often via nursery too with my daughter in the bike seat behind me. I do occasionally think about doing some ‘normal’ exercise, like going for a run, but I don’t. I know it’s good for me, but I have plenty of excuses: I’m too busy, too tired, it’s raining outside. My main excuse tends to involve having two young kids, but we all have our own reasons why we don’t do as much exercise as we should.


Dragons’ Bikeshed – Put your walking and cycling evaluation plans to the test

On Friday 2 March 2018, as part of the second Transport and Health conference, CEDAR will be taking part in the first ever Dragon’s Bikeshed PROactive Travel session.

This will be an opportunity to take your evaluation plans out for a spin in front of an expert panel of public health scientists, transport researchers, and policy makers.

  • Do you want to find out if your planned cycle lanes increase active commuting?
  • Will pedestrianisation of the town centre increase walking in retail areas?
  • Does an electric hire bike scheme lead to more physical activity among women? Would individual travel planning change attitudes and walking levels in a deprived community?
  • If we build a new road crossing will people feel safer walking their children to school?

The panel will consider any transport intervention or scheme, but the evaluation itself should focus on an aspect of walking and cycling. All entries will receive written feedback from the panel to help improve the proposals.


Vacancies and PhD opportunities

Research Study Assistant (Part Time, Fixed Term) – FRESH

The chance to work on a family-focused, child-led project where the intervention is delivered via an online platform. The Families Reporting Every Step to Health (FRESH) study is a randomised controlled trial, aiming to increase physical activity and connectivity within families by encouraging them to be active together.

Senior Research Associate, Global Diet and Activity Research Group  x 2

Senior Research Associates will be a key part of the development of the Global Diet and Activity Research (GDAR) Group and Network, a new initiative funded by NIHR and led by the MRC Epidemiology Unit. Under the overall direction of the GDAR Lead, you will play a significant role in developing the research strategy; introduce and lead on new ideas and projects; design, supervise and perform analyses; line-manage, supervise or co-supervise junior researchers and students as required; liaise regularly with internal and external collaborators; and disseminate research results.

Research Coordinator – Global Diet And Activity Research (GDAR)

The Research Coordinator will play a key role in developing the Global Diet and Activity Research (GDAR) Group and Network, a new initiative funded by NIHR and led by the MRC Epidemiology Unit. GDAR focuses on the prevention of non-communicable diseases in low and middle income countries (LMICs) through understanding the factors that lead to poor diet and physical inactivity, designing and evaluating interventions to change these factors and estimating their long term health and economic impacts.

PhD Studentships in Public Health Research (Diet and Physical Activity), Cambridge

We are currently recruiting for candidates to start a PhD in Cambridge in October 2018 in any of the public health and prevention-related research programmes in the MRC Epidemiology Unit/CEDAR.


Upcoming talks and seminars

CEDAR / MRC Epidemiology Seminar: 4 January 2018, 12:00 – 13:00
The supermarket food environment and the promotion of healthier purchasing behaviour
Dr Adrian Cameron
, Senior Research Fellow at the Deakin University Global Obesity Centre (GLOBE)
MRC Epidemiology Unit Meeting Rooms 1 & 2, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

CEDAR / MRC Epidemiology Seminar: 18 January 2018, 12:30 – 13:30
Implications of Brexit on the effectiveness of the UK soft drinks industry levy upon coronary heart disease in England: a modelling study
Evi Seferidi, Public Health Policy Evaluation Unit, School of Public Health, Imperial College London
MRC Epidemiology Unit Meeting Rooms 1 & 2, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Bradford Hill Seminar: 19 January 2018, 13:00-14:00
Dr Geoff Wong
, Nuffield & University of Oxford
Realist Reviews of health interventions – dealing with complexity and context
Large Seminar Room, 1st Floor, Institute of Public Health, University Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge

CEDAR / MRC Epidemiology Seminar: 31 January 2018, 12:30 – 13:30. Title TBC
Dr Alison Tedstone,
National Director with responsibility of diet, nutrition and obesity, Public Health England (PHE)
Meeting Rooms 1&2, Level 4, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Bradford Hill Seminar: 2 February 2018, 13:00-14:00
Professor Jaap Seidell,
VU University, Amsterdam
Local integrated prevention of childhood obesity: lessons from Amsterdam
Large Seminar Room, 1st Floor, Institute of Public Health, University Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge

CEDAR / MRC Epidemiology Seminar: 7 February 2018, 12:30 – 13:30
The Cambridge Sustainable Food Hub
Duncan Catchpole, founding committee member of Cambridge Sustainable Food
Meeting Rooms 1&2, Level 4, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

CEDAR / MRC Epidemiology Seminar: 21 February 2018, 12:30 – 13:30
Why do policymakers seem to ignore your evidence?
Professor Paul Cairney, Department of History and Politics, University of Stirling.
Meeting Rooms 1&2, Level 4, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Bradford Hill Seminar: 9 March 2018, 13:00-14:00
Professor Bernie Hannigan,
Public Health England
Title TBC
Large Seminar Room, 1st Floor, Institute of Public Health, University Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge

Bradford Hill Seminar: 5 October 2018, 13:00-14:00
Professor Andrew Morris,
Farr Institute, Scotland
Title TBC
Large Seminar Room, 1st Floor, Institute of Public Health, University Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge


Latest CEDAR publications

openaccess

The following papers have been published or added to our publications database since the last CEDAR Bulletin. All are Open Access.

General public health

Diet

Physical activity

You can search over 420 CEDAR scientific papers by author, journal, study, title and abstract keywords on our publications database at www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/publications


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  • Back issues are available at www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/news/cedar-bulletin/

  • These seminars feature leading researchers in diet, physical activity, public health and epidemiology, as well as others outside research working in these areas. Current talks at www.mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk/events







Questions and comments to Oliver Francis: ocf26@cam.ac.uk


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