CEDAR Bulletin 12 – February 2015

The latest news from the Centre for Diet and Activity Research     > Sign up for future issues     >Bulletin archive

CEDAR and MRC Epidemiology Unit give evidence to House of Commons Health Committee
Inquiry into the impact of physical activity and diet on health

PortCullisCEDAR and the MRC Epidemiology Unit submitted a joint response to the House of Commons Health Committee’s inquiry into the impact of physical activity and diet on health.  Following the submission of written evidence, Prof Nick Wareham, Director of the Unit and CEDAR was invited to give expert testimony to the committee on 3 February.

The Health Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the policy, administration and expenditure of the Department of Health and its associated bodies. The Committee chooses its own subjects of inquiry. This inquiry is looking at evidence of the impact of diet on health, how to convey the importance of healthy eating and drinking in order to achieve a more healthy weight, and the evidence of the impact of physical activity on health, including its impact independent of weight.

More evidence submissions can be found at www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/resources/evidence-submissions 

CEDAR joins the UK Health Forum

UKHF We are pleased to announce that CEDAR has recently become a member of the UK Health Forum (UKHF). The UKHF is a charitably-funded group with a mission “to operate as a centre of expertise, working with and through its members to contribute to the prevention of the avoidable non-communicable diseases – coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer respiratory diseases and vascular dementia.”

The UKHF have a number of useful resources, including Healthy Places – www.healthyplaces.org.uk – and their weekly Prevention Information & Evidence eLibrary with the latest information, evidence, news and grey literature, which you can tailor to your interests. Subscribe at www.ukhealthforum.org.uk/prevention/pie

Group walking cuts risk of life-threatening conditions

Walking_for_Health_in_Epsom-5Aug2009_croppedRisk of stroke, coronary heart disease, depression and other life-threatening conditions can be reduced through regular outdoor walking in groups, according to research from the University of East Anglia (UEA), supported by CEDAR.

Findings published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reveal that people who regularly walk in groups have lower blood pressure, resting heart rate and total cholesterol.  The exercise also leads to a reduction in body fat and Body Mass Index (BMI).

In England, at least, 29 per cent of adults do less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every week, and almost one in 10 don’t even manage to walk for more than five minutes at a time over a month. These findings point to a cost-effective and low-risk way of enhancing overall health.

The study was led by Sarah Hanson and Prof Andy Jones of UEA’s Norwich Medical School.

This research follows recent findings from the MRC Epidemiology Unit, another of the partners in CEDAR, that lack of exercise may be responsible for twice as many deaths as obesity, and a brisk 20 minute walk each day could be enough to reduce risk of early death.

Limits and labelling have reduced the availability of artificial trans fats

A cheeseburgerA systematic review by CEDAR researchers has shown that maximum limits and mandatory labelling reduced the availability of artificial trans-fatty acids (TFAs) in food items for sale or reported on food labels since 2004.

A high intake of TFA has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Artificial TFAs are sometimes used in pre-prepared food as a cost-effective way to increase shelf life and improve the texture and taste of baked goods.

TFAs do occur naturally at low levels in many foods such as meat and dairy product, but levels of artificial or industrially hardened TFAs can be reduced by food manufacturers.

In a systematic review of studies that examined artificial TFA controls limiting permitted levels or mandating labelling, researchers found that regulations grounded on maximum limits and mandated labelling can lead to reductions in TFAs in food, and appear to encourage food producers to reformulate their products.

Recent CEDAR publications

openaccessThe following papers have been published since the last CEDAR Bulletin. All are Open Access.

You can search nearly 250 CEDAR scientific papers by author, journal, study, title and abstract keywords on our publications database at www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/publications

12th WHO/IDF/EASD Cambridge Diabetes Seminar – 23-29 August 2015

CDS-2011-groupCROPThe Cambridge Diabetes Seminar provides a unique opportunity for participants from a range of backgrounds including clinical, research and public health, to engage in discussion, debate and collaboration on prominent issues in diabetes epidemiology. It aims to provide all those attending with a common goal to become better equipped in the epidemiological and public health aspects of diabetes and helps to foster international networks.

  • When: 23 to 29 August 2015,
  • Where: Clare College, University of Cambridge
  • If accepted for attendance, the seminar programme, accommodation and meals will be provided free of charge. The only costs for participants are for travel to and from Cambridge.

Full details and application at www.mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk/cds2015 

Upcoming talks and seminars

  • Friday 15 May 2015, 1.00 – 2.00pm
    Professor Martin White
    , MRC Epidemiology Unit and CEDAR; Director of the NIHR Public Health Research Programme
    Bradford Hill Seminar: Title TBC
    Large seminar room, Cambridge Institute for Public Health. Directions here.

To receive email notifications of future CEDAR/MRC Epidemiology Seminars, complete the form at

Details of Bradford Hill Seminars can be found at: www.iph.cam.ac.uk/news/seminars

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