CEDAR Bulletin 16 – March 2016

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Join us for the UKCRC Public Health Research Centres of Excellence Conference

UKCRC High ResCEDAR is delighted to be hosting the annual UKCRC Public Health Research Centres of Excellence Conference on 14/15 July 2016 and we’d like to offer up to 10 places for practice and policy partners to join us.

The Conference has been hosted by each of the UK Public Health Research Centres of Excellence, and returns to CEDAR for the first time since 2010.

This year’s event, held at the Julian Study Centre, University of East Anglia, Norwich, will focus on changes and exchanges within and beyond academia. The theme will be explored in three dimensions: research transitions, career progression, and wider world change. The programme will include scientific talks, moderated poster sessions, case studies of knowledge exchange, skill development workshops and more.

For those not working in academia, the conference is an excellent opportunity to hear about all the Centres’ research, and contribute to discussions about evidence and its use in practice and policy.

More information at www.ukcrc16.co.uk

Applications to attend

If you are interested in joining us, please send your name, job title and organisation to ukcrc16@medschl.cam.ac.uk by 31 March 2016.

We particularly welcome interest from less senior practitioners and policymakers keen to make connections with researchers.

In the event that we are not able to offer everyone a place, we will base our selection on achieving a good mixture of sectors and interests among our guests. We regret that those working in academia outside the Centres are not eligible.

The Conference will be free to attend and we will cover travel expenses.

If you have any questions, please ask Oliver Francis, ocf26@cam.ac.uk

Evidence Brief: Making the CASE – Creating Active School Environments, Evidence Review

CASE large logo transparent

Physical activity typically declines as children move from primary to secondary education, so schools can have a role in supporting students’ physical activity and reducing sedentary time.

Examining the secondary school environment, the Creating Active School Environments (CASE) project, funded by the Department of Health, aims to find ways to help adolescents be more active and sit less.

This first Evidence Brief from the CASE project summarises two evidence reviews of academic and non-academic literature into how the school environment can influence physical activity levels:

Children need more support to be more active during winter

140320-wellies-mikeyp2000New findings from CEDAR indicate that children should be given more support to enable them to be more active during the winter, particularly at weekends.

To examine the seasonal variation in children’s behaviour, researchers used data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study, which used accelerometers to measure levels of physical activity in more than 700 seven year old children across a calendar year.

The researchers found that physical activity was lower in autumn and winter compared to spring; average activity levels across the group peaked in April at 65.3 min/day and reached their lowest levels in February at 47.8 min/day. Physical activity was at its lowest at weekends during winter. Children were at their most active during early summer, particularly at weekends.

Modelling the data suggested that boys’ activity levels changed more than girls’ throughout the year, but remained higher than girls’ at all times. Although on average, boys achieved the recommended minimum activity even at winter, girls only tended to reach recommended levels during the summer.

The findings provide further support for initiatives aimed at encouraging physical activity amongst children during winter, particularly at the weekend.

The paper was covered by ITV News online and by several specialist health news outlets, and lead author Dr Andrew Atkin was interviewed on the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Breakfast show (starts 1.54.00).

Final report of the Commuting and Health in Cambridge study

BuswayThe final report of the Commuting and Health in Cambridge study has been published.

The report, Health impacts of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway: a natural experimental study, represents the culmination of several years of research that has generated important new findings about how our towns and cities can shape behaviour and health.

The study has generated over 30 academic papers (and counting). As well as findings specific to the use and impact of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, the study has revealed more about:

  • the measurement and patterns of active commuting
  • relationships between active commuting, physical activity, health and wellbeing
  • the role of social and environmental factors in influencing commuting behaviours
  • how commuting can be an important target for public health intervention.

It has also allowed us to develop and refine our scientific methods for evaluating the impact of new transport infrastructure in particular, and complex public health interventions in general.

Full report Health impacts of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway: a natural experimental study www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/phr/volume-4/issue-1.

Tackling obesity with Big Data – Seminar 16 March 2016 – methods & models

Obesity-Network-finalESRC Strategic Network: tackling obesity with Big Data, Seminar 2 – methods and models

Where: Mill Lane Lecture Rooms, 8 Mill Lane, Old Press Site. University of Cambridge. CB2 1RX
When: 16 March 2016, 09:00 – 14:00

This is the second of four seminars held by the ESRC Obesity Strategic Network, to explore how Big Data can best be used to understand and tackle obesity. The seminar will be presented by:

The panel discussion with be facilitated by Seraphim Alvanides, and include the seminar speakers along with Sandy Tubeuf and Daniel Lewis.

Full agenda and booking at www.cdrc.ac.uk/research/march-2016/

For further information contact Michelle Morris m.morris@leeds.ac.uk / 0113 343 0883

Physical Activity Measurement Seminar 2016 – 5-9 September 2016

Moller21-300x212Applications are open for the MRC Epidemiology Unit’s 8th Physical Activity Measurement Seminar at The Møller Centre, Cambridge, 5–9 September 2016.

The objective of the seminar is to promote high quality field work in epidemiological studies through understanding of the underlying measurement principles and methods of data analysis, and the seminar is expected to attract delegates from all over the world.

The course is primarily aimed at Research Assistants and PhD students interested or involved in the objective monitoring of free-living physical activity. However, anyone interested in this area of research is more than welcome to apply.

The seminar takes the format of a five day intensive residential course. The course is a mixture of theory and practical-based work designed to cover the whole process of methodological considerations, data collection (in the field and lab settings), operational issues and analysis and interpretation of data.

Further details and more about how to apply at www.mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk/pa-seminar/

Please note that a maximum of 28 places are available, and that the closing date for applications is Friday 6 May 2016.

Cambridge Science Festival 2016 – and CEDAR in the news

CSF16ProgsThe programme for this year’s Cambridge Science Festival has been published at www.sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk

On Sunday 20 March CEDAR and MRC Epidemiology Unit members will join colleagues from across the biomedical campus at the Clinical School event for families. At our stand “All Data Great & Small” we will examine how different kinds of data can be used to improve our health and wellbeing. We will have a range of activities – including the Sugar Cube Challenge and modelling heart rate gene variants in jelly babies.

On Thursday 10 March CEDAR’s Marko Tianio is taking part in the Bright Club Comedy Night on the same evening. On the same night you can also hear John Perry from the MRC Epidemiology Unit talking about “Nature versus nurture: what population genetics can teach us”.

And on Wednesday 9 March the Unit’s Nita Forouhi will take part in the #ILookLikeAScientist panel discussion to combat stereotypes and celebrate diversity with inspirational women from across science at Cambridge.

CEDAR in the news

Meanwhile, Star2.com, a popular online Malaysian news and lifestyle magazine, has published a fascinating series on diet, physical activity and obesity. The articles were written by Tan Shiow Chin, a 2015 Khazanah-Wolfson Press Fellow at Wolfson College, following interviews with experts from the University of Cambridge earlier in 2015, including several CEDAR researchers.

Recent CEDAR publications

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

General public health


Physical activity

You can search over 300 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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To receive future issues of CEDAR Bulletin and/or other alerts by email, please complete the form at www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/subscribe/

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