CEDAR Bulletin No. 25 – July 2018

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Get FRESH – looking for families to take part in family health study

Being physically active is good for adults and children alike. It helps with the development of strong bones, heart health, and mental health. Plus it can be fantastic fun!

FRESH – Families Reporting Every Step to Health – is a novel programme designed to help families become more active by having fun together.

FRESH is tailored to your family’s physical activity level so you can be as active as you like. And FRESH is recruiting now and looking for families living in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Please share this information with families who might be interested in taking part, or other groups that can share it onwards.

FRESH also recently featured on BBC Look East:

For more info and to sign up, visit www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/research/directory/fresh  

House of Commons Evidence, and Government Obesity Plan Chapter 2

In June, the Government published chapter 2 of its Childhood Obesity plan.

New measures announced include: proposals to prevent shops from displaying unhealthy food at checkouts; consulting on the introduction of new TV and online advertising restrictions; consulting on calorie labelling in restaurants, cafes and takeaways; and promoting a new ambition for every primary school to adopt a daily ‘active mile’ initiative.

This followed the publication in May of the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee report Childhood obesity: Time for action, to which CEDAR researcher provided written and oral evidence, including on the effects of unhealthy food at checkouts, the takeaway food environment, and physical activity initiatives in schools. A number of CEDAR perspectives were reflected in the final Committee report

Junk food – have we #AdEnough?

In a blog post for the Food Foundation published before Jamie Oliver’s evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee and the Government’s announcements of new potential advertising restrictions, CEDAR’s Dr Jean Adams discusses Jamie’s #AdEnough campaign, and the push for junk food marketing restrictions.

Jean writes of the ample evidence showing that exposure to food advertising influences what food children choose to eat, ask their parents to buy, and buy for themselves.

The post looks at current advertising restrictions, their flaws and how food companies work around them, and proposes that better regulations could be a useful part of co-ordinated strategies to really get to grips with childhood obesity.

Have you found our Feat yet? Dig deeper on Public Health England fast food figures

PHE has recently produced a new map, area deprivation chart and data tables showing the density of fast food outlets in England, by local authority and ward.

This resource has been produced to help local authorities target resources and take action towards achieving a healthier food environment.

And you don’t need to stop at ward level, or just takeaways. With CEDAR’s Food environment assessment tool (Feat), you can explore the geography of food retail access across England for cafes, convenience stores, restaurants, speciality outlets, supermarkets and takeaways.

Underpinned by the latest scientific evidence, Feat allows you to map, measure and monitor access to food outlets at a neighbourhood level, including changes over time. Use it to:

  • generate local evidence for use in the development of Obesity Strategies, Local and Neighbourhood Plans, JSNAs and Strategic Planning Documents.
  • support planning decisions
  • compare food access between neighbourhoods, and see where is changing fastest
  • target interventions, and test the effectiveness of planning policies

Access Feat at: www.feat-tool.org.uk  

We gotta get out of here! (Spending time outside is good for you)

Living close to nature and spending time outside has significant and wide-ranging health benefits. Exposure to greenspace reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure. This is according to new University of East Anglia research, part-funded by CEDAR, and published in the journal Environmental Research.

Populations with higher levels of greenspace exposure are also more likely to report good overall health – according to global data involving more than 290 million people.

The research team studied data from 20 countries including the UK, the US, Spain, France, Germany, Australia and Japan. The team analysed how the health of people with little access to green spaces compared to that of people with the highest amounts of exposure.

Everybody CHILL – CEDAR part of new study into effects of air pollution on children’s health

Over 3,000 primary school children in polluted areas of London and Luton will have their lung health and physical activity monitored over a four-year period.

This is thanks to a new study, CHILL (Children’s Health in London & Luton), led by Queen Mary University of London and involving CEDAR researchers. It was launched by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in June

The study will test whether policies to improve air quality, such as London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), are associated with improved growth of children’s lungs and reduced chest symptoms.

CEDAR will be providing expertise on the measurement of physical activity for the study, and is leading on the evaluation of the impact of a large scale environmental intervention on children’s travel and activity behaviour. The study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Swapping the car for more active forms of travel may reduce heart disease

Dr Jenna Panter and Dr Oliver Mytton write in The Conversation about new research published in the journal Heart.

Swapping your car for more physically active forms of travel may reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and premature death, the latest research shows. Walking, cycling and even using public transport are all more physically active than using the car, so switching to one of these modes of transport can help you be more active and healthy.

Most physical activity studies focus on sport and recreational activity – intense activities often lasting many minutes. This research looked instead at understanding the impact of everyday activity on health.

Let me Google that for you – using Street View to estimate travel patterns in cities

A study published in PLOS ONE indicates that Google Street View has the potential to estimate how common cycling is in cities, and potentially other travel patterns too.

The analysis of 2,000 Google Street View images from 1,000 random locations in each of 34 cities in Great Britain found strong agreement with data on cycling, and public transport and motorbike use from the 2011 census and annual Active People Survey.

Increasing active transport, such as cycling or walking, is one way to improve physical activity levels in a population. To understand and improve urban travel, data is needed on modes of transport used. However in most countries, up-to-date, accurate data is often not available at the city level.

This new study, led by CEDAR and the MRC Epidemiology Unit, explored for the first time the potential of using Google Street View images to predict travel patterns at the city level.

Vacancies – Two Research Assistant positions

Research Assistant (Part Time 0.6 FTE, Fixed Term)
To work on the research project “Following adolescents into adulthood (FAIA): A qualitative study to investigate how to recruit and retain adolescents and young adults in longitudinal cohort studies”. Available for 5 months at 0.6 FTE with an ideal start date of September 2018.

The closing date for applications is 22 July 2018 and interviews are likely to be held on 30 July 2018.

Research Assistant – Community Food and Health Project (Fixed Term)
To contribute to the analysis and dissemination of findings from a development project funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund. The project is developing theory and methods to evaluate the impacts of community based food production initiatives in small island developing states. We are seeking to appoint a Research Assistant with proven knowledge and experience of nutritional data collection and analyses, and ideally with knowledge and experience relevant to the situations in small island developing states (the project is working in St Vincent and the Grenadines and Fiji).

The post is available until 31 January 2019 with an ideal start date of 1 October 2018. The closing date for applications is 6 August 2018 and interviews are likely to be held before the end of August.

Upcoming talks and seminars

CEDAR / MRC Epidemiology Seminars

24 July 2018, 12:30 – 13:30
Food Behaviours: not a lot to do with food but pretty much a symptom of everything else
Chris Holmes
, Healthy Food Programme, Shift.
Meeting Rooms 1&2, Level 4, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

19 October 2018, 11:00 – 12:00.
Can we promote physical activity at the population level? Findings from a community-based cluster randomised trial and a sport fandom-based app study.
Dr Masamitsu Kamada, University of Tokyo.
Meeting rooms 1 & 2, Level 3, MRC Epidemiology Unit, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Bradford Hill Seminars

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

15 March 2019, 13:00-14:00
Professor Michael Kenny
, Director of Bennett Institute of Public Policy. Title TBC
Large Seminar Room, 1st Floor, Institute of Public Health, University Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge

Look out for more talks and events at www.mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk/events and www.iph.cam.ac.uk/news/seminars    

Latest CEDAR publications


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


Physical activity

You can search over 460 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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