CEDAR Bulletin No. 22 – October 2017

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Vacancy: Research Associate for evaluation of the UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy

We are looking to appoint a post-doctoral Research Associate with experience in quantitative research methods to contribute to an evaluation of the UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy (‘sugar tax’).

This is a unique and exciting opportunity to contribute to internationally important dietary public health research.

The project, funded by the National Institute of Health Research’s Public Health Research Programme is a collaboration between the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The post-holder will contribute to evaluation of the impact of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy on soft drink purchasing and consumption, childhood obesity, and dental health. Using natural experimental approaches, these analyses will make use of existing data from Kantar WorldPanel, the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, the National Childhood Measurement Programme, and Hospital Episodes Statistics. You will also contribute to quantitative analyses of national survey data that we will collect specifically for the project on evolving attitudes to sugar, sugary drinks and the levy.

FRESH Study Steering Committee – community members wanted

CEDAR researchers are in the process of forming the Study Steering Committee for the FRESH (Families Reporting Every Step to Health) study. We would like to include members of the community to be involved, and we are looking for people with a child in school Years 3-6.

What is FRESH? FRESH is a family-based study that aims to improve family physical activity by encouraging all family members to virtually travel across the world.

Who are we looking for? We’re looking for parents of children in years 3-6 to be involved with the Committee, alongside academics and practitioners, to advise as we plan the next phase of FRESH. We’re interested in their views on issues such as recruiting families and feasibility of the FRESH project.

What is the time commitment? The Committee will meet up to twice a year in Cambridge. Members will receive payments for attending meetings, and travel and parking costs will be covered.

Evaluating GoActive – a journey of 25,000 miles (so far!)

GoActive is an innovative physical activity promotion programme, developed with students and teachers, set in UK secondary schools.  The programme includes the whole of Year 9, and encourages students to try new physical activities with their friends.

Since September 2016, we’ve been evaluating its effectiveness and cost-effectiveness using a cluster randomised controlled trial.

The GoActive team has completed the first, second, and third waves of measurement – travelling around 25,000 miles and visiting more than 200 school. They have handed out just under 8000 questionnaires and just over 5000 Axivity monitors (a wrist-worn device used to measure physical activity) to teenagers in Cambridgeshire and Essex.

More than 85% of all eligible students were recruited into the study at baseline (2880 13-14 year olds). Approximately 88% of these students were re-measured at the first follow-up wave, and 97% again at second follow-up. The fourth and final wave commences in March next year, after which researchers will examine the impact of the GoActive programme on physical activity, weight status, and psychological and social outcomes.

Department for Transport updates walking and cycling guidance based on CEDAR research

The Department for Transport (DFT) has published proposed changes for their Transport Appraisal Guidance (TAG) for active travel based on CEDAR research which brings together the latest understanding of the various benefits of cycling and walking.

The new guidance specifies the appraisal process for projects that support walking and cycling in England.

The previous guidance only looked at the health benefits for the working age population. The new method predicts slightly higher overall health benefits because it includes the larger impact on older age groups. When considering the working age adults only, the population-wide benefits come out as slightly lower.

The proposed method is accompanied by a report that summarises the current understanding of the health benefits of cycling and walking, as well as a spreadsheet toolkit which allows users to calculate the health benefits of specific walking and cycling projects.

Changing the way we travel – Dr Jenna Panter blogs for Sustrans

Car use has negative impacts on public health through road traffic accidents, air pollution and physical inactivity. The car’s contribution to the first two of these problems is relatively well recognised, but inactivity is less well understood.

Getting people to walk, cycle and make greater use of public transport therefore has benefits for health.

But how do we make it happen? And what do we know from the scientific literature about what happens when we change the places where we live in order to influence our choices about how to travel?

Lou’s Tuesday. Only 24 hours in a day – why does this matter for health research?

There are only 24 hours in a day. Why does this matter for health research? Dr Lou Foley has made a short video to introduce the concept of compositions and compositional data analysis.

In three minutes and 45 seconds of live action and stop motion, Lou will take you through a typical Tuesday. She’ll show you how daily time can be understood as a composition, and she’ll tell you why that matters for health.

Lou is currently working on a sequel…  

Forthcoming seminars

CEDAR / MRC Epidemiology Seminar: 18 October 2017, 12:30 – 13:30
Global trade in food and agriculture and the risk of non-communicable diseases in low and middle income countries
Dr Anne Marie Thow,
Senior Lecturer in Health Policy, University of Sydney
Meeting Rooms 1&2, Level 4, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

CEDAR / MRC Epidemiology Seminar: 8 November 2017, 12:30 – 13:30
Building your best day: combining compositional analysis and optimisation theory
Professor Tim Olds, School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia
MRC Epidemiology Unit Meeting Rooms 1 & 2, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Bradford Hill Seminar: 24 November 2017, 13:00-14:00
Evidence is Not Enough: Towards a democratically legitimate role for evidence in health policymaking
Dr Katherine Smith, Global Public Health Unit Social Policy, University of Edinburgh
Large Seminar Room, 1st Floor, Institute of Public Health, University Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge.

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

Bradford Hill Seminar: 21 January 2018, 13:00-14:00
Dr Geoff Wong
, Nuffield & University of Oxford. Title TBC. Dr Wong’s research interest is in the use of realist approaches to make sense of complex health and social interventions.
Large Seminar Room, 1st Floor, Institute of Public Health, University Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge

Latest CEDAR publications


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

General public health


Physical activity

You can search over 400 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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Questions and comments to Oliver Francis: ocf26@cam.ac.uk