CEDAR Bulletin 11 – November 2014

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

New Evidence Brief – Financial hardships, diet & obesity
Findings from the Whitehall II and EPIC-Norfolk studies

SMALLshutterstock_124898195New research is showing that, beyond conventional indicators of socioeconomic status, financial hardship at all levels of society can affect people’s diet, health and weight. With financial uncertainty affecting people in different ways, what does this mean for strategies to promote healthy weight?

CEDAR in the media – Price gap between more and less healthy foods grows

SMALLshutterstock_42388171A study, published in the journal PLOS One, tracked the price of 94 key food and beverage items from 2002 to 2012. Its findings show that more healthy foods were consistently more expensive than less healthy foods, and have risen more sharply in price over time.

While less healthy foods had a slightly greater relative price rise since 2002, the absolute increase was significantly more for more healthy foods – a total average increase of £1.84 per 1000kcal for more healthy food across the decade, compared to £0.73 for less healthy food.

In 2002, 1000 kcal of more healthy foods – as defined by criteria devised for the UK government – cost an average of £5.65, compared to purchasing the same quantity of energy from less healthy food at £1.77. By 2012 this cost had changed to £7.49 for more healthy and £2.50 for less healthy foods.

Among widespread media coverage of this story were reports from Channel 4 News, The Daily Telegraph, The Times (£), The Daily Mail, The Independent, The Scotsman, NHS Choices Behind the Headlines, Huffington Post, Newsweek, LBC Radio, BBC World Service and a number of regional BBC Radio stations.

CEDAR in the media: Walking, cycling and public transport beat the car for wellbeing

shutterstock_138839354Walking or cycling to work is better for people’s mental health than driving to work, according to research by health economists at the University of East Anglia and the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR).

The study shows that people who stopped driving and started walking or cycling to work benefited from improved wellbeing. In particular, active commuters felt better able to concentrate and were less under strain than if they travelled by car.

These benefits come on top of the physical health benefits of walking and cycling that are already widely documented. Experts also found that travelling on public transport is better for people’s psychological wellbeing than driving.

Wide-ranging media coverage of this story included BBC News, with an interview with Adam Martin here, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, Metro, Daily Mail, The Scotsman, a comment piece by Lauren Laverne in the Guardian, the NICE news section, and Fox News.

Neighbourhood food environments, diet and health – slides now available

shutterstock_145295158SMALLWhat do we really know about the connections between the neighbourhood food environments, diet and health? How should policy and planning in this area be used to promote public health? These and other questions were explored at our research and policy meeting on 4 November.

Thanks to all who contributed to a successful day. If you missed it, you can download abstracts and slides at www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/healthy-place-2014/programme

Prof Martin White joins CEDAR / MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge

Professor-Martin-White-croppedWe’re very pleased to announce that Professor Martin White has joined CEDAR and the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge to lead research into Dietary Behaviours and Public Health Interventions.

His research programme will be focused on understanding the determinants of behaviour and the development and evaluation of interventions that impact dietary behaviours. He will also play a leadership role in the Unit and CEDAR.

Previously Director of Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research – www.fuse.ac.uk – Martin is a clinical academic, trained in medicine and public health, with broad experience of public health research and practice, and a national and international reputation for his research and leadership. He has an interest in developing research on the influence of the food industry, the impact of social and policy interventions on diet, and the population impact of individual level interventions.

More new staff

We’ve had a lot of other new starters in the last few months. Jean Adams, an NIHR Research Fellow, has also joined us from Newcastle and Fuse. Jean will be leading a programme looking at population approaches to promoting healthy diets.

Our Public Health Modelling programme has expanded over the last year, with the appointment of four post-doctoral researchers – Marko Tainio, Ali Abbas, and Philippe Giabbanelli at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, and Arno Steinacher at the MRC Biostatistics Unit.

The Physical Activity and Public Health team has welcomed Amelia Harshfield and Yelena Alexander as Data Analysts, Adam Bostanci as Scientific Editor for the Commuting and Health in Cambridge Study, and Richard Prins and Cornelia Guell as Career Development Fellows. The Behavioural Epidemiology team welcomes Katie Morton as a Career Development Fellow.

You can find details of all our researchers and staff on our webpage at www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/people

Recent CEDAR publications


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

You can search nearly 200 CEDAR scientific papers by author, journal, study, title and abstract keywords on our publications database at www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/publications

CEDAR / MRC Epidemiology Unit Seminars

shutterstock_124494247 SMALLCEDAR jointly organises a seminar series with the MRC Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge, a chance to hear from leading researchers in diet and physical activity, along with the occasional policymaker. Details of current talks are available on our website and at talks.cam.ac.uk. To receive email notifications of the latest talks, complete the form at www.cedar.iph.cam.ac.uk/news/seminars

  • Dr David Lubans, Associate Professor, School of Education, University of Newcastle, Australia
    A physical activity and fundamental movement skill intervention for children attending primary schools in low-income communities: The SCORES cluster RCT
    Friday 5 December 2014. 3.00 – 4.00pm
    Meeting rooms, Level 4 Institute of Metabolic Sciences, Addenbrooke’s Treatment Centre (ATC). Direction to Addenbrooke’s Hospital here, and look for ‘ATC’ in the bottom left of this map.
  • Dr Mark Beauchamp, Associate Professor, School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Canada
    Novel Group-dynamics Approaches to Physical Activity Promotion Across the Lifespan
    Thursday 18 December 2014, 12.30-1.30pm
    MRC Epidemiology Unit meeting rooms, Level 3, Institute of Metabolic Sciences, Addenbrooke’s Treatment Centre (ATC).
  • Dr Martin Brown, UK Health Forum
    Multiple Interacting Diseases and Risk Factors – the UK Health Forum’s MIDRIF program
    Wednesday 14 January 2015, time TBC
    Meeting rooms, Level 4 Institute of Metabolic Sciences, Addenbrooke’s Treatment Centre (ATC)

Direction to Addenbrooke’s Hospital here, and look for ‘ATC’ in the bottom left of this map.

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