In this issue
- CEDAR and Coronavirus
- Food insecurity in the UK – why we need a new normal
- The Healthy Food Act – Bennett Prospect Prize finalist
- Sugar levy had no lasting negative impacts on the UK soft drinks industry, despite substantial reformulation of drinks
- More evidence that walking or cycling to work associated with reduced risk of early death and illness
- Road Safety: switch to cycling to keep others safe
- Also happening at the MRC Epidemiology Unit
- Upcoming talks and seminars
- Our latest publications
- Your information and preferences
CEDAR and Coronavirus
As for many of you, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the CEDAR and all MRC Epidemiology Unit offices have been closed for all but essential activity, and our staff are working from home.
All active field testing as part of research studies that involves direct contact with volunteers has been temporarily suspended, and all volunteers who had appointments booked have been notified that they have been postponed or cancelled. For any enquiries about a study you are participating in, please check the contact details for individual studies on the MRC Epidemiology Unit Study Contacts web page, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CEDAR’s research work is continuing, and our scientists are also exploring opportunities to contribute to national efforts, both in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its broader public health consequences.
- Read about MRC Epidemiology Unit and CEDAR research related to COVID-19 and its public health consequence
Seminars go online
The MRC Epidemiology Unit/CEDAR Seminar Series has been moved online, and we’ve been pleased to see the number of you joining us via Zoom. Please note you will need to register in advance to attend seminars live.
You can also find recordings and/or slides for previous seminars here, and a YouTube playlist of recordings here.
Still here for your views
In our last issue, we included a survey to help us keep CEDAR Bulletin useful and interesting. We’ve had some responses (which we are pleased to say were very positive!) but we appreciate there was a lot going on in late February and early March, so we thought we would keep it open for a little longer. It’s just four short questions, so please let us know your thoughts…
Food insecurity in the UK – why we need a new normal
Ending food insecurity is a huge challenge with important health and social consequences that needs to be urgently addressed.
Their results indicate that almost a quarter (24.3%) of UK adults lived in food insecurity at some point in 2017. People who reported that making ends meet was difficult were around 20 times more likely to experience food insecurity. Families with children – and particularly single-parent households – were also much more likely to be living in food insecurity (49% of food insecure adults lived with children vs. 28% of food secure adults), as were younger adults and students.
The study found that food insecurity was common before the COVID-19 pandemic, but other recent research indicates that the current situation has likely exacerbated the problem. A survey undertaken for the Food Foundation estimated that 8.1 million people experienced food insecurity during the first 3 weeks of lockdown.
- Read a write-up of the research on our blog
- Paper: Socio-demographic characteristics, diet and health among food insecure UK adults: cross-sectional analysis of the International Food Policy Study. Amy Yau et al, Public Health Nutrition, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1017/S136898002000008
The Healthy Food Act – Bennett Prospect Prize finalist
The 2019/20 Bennett Prospect Prize for Public Policy asked the question ‘Which single public health intervention would be most effective in the UK?’
The Prize is awarded by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, in partnership with Prospect Magazine. The goal is to encourage early career researchers and policy professionals to explore creative and generative solutions to a pressing public policy question of our age.
Dr Oliver Mytton from CEDAR was selected as a finalist for his entry titled The Healthy Food Act.
Dr Mytton describes how the availability and marketing of food is shaping what people eat and adversely affecting their health. Dr Mytton proposes a A Healthy Food Act that would set minimum standards for how food is sold and marketed – including how it could provide regulations for products, price, placement and promotion in order to support healthy eating in the UK and reduce obesity and its burdens.
Sugar levy had no lasting negative impacts on the UK soft drinks industry, despite substantial reformulation of drinks
Leading UK soft drinks companies continued to experience positive growth in their share prices during the implementation of the UK Government’s Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL), despite widespread industry fears the tax would harm their businesses.
An analysis of stock market returns of soft drinks companies registered on the London Stock Exchange found that, although companies studied in the research experienced negative stock market returns on the day the tax was announced, these companies’ returns had ‘bounced back’ over the following four days. They also noted that the soft drinks companies’ stock prices increased over the following two years to the end of the study.
- Read the full story
- Full paper: Cherry Law, Laura Cornelsen, Jean Adams, Tarra Penney, Harry Rutter, Martin White, Richard Smith. An analysis of the stock market reaction to the announcements of the UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy. Economics & Human Biology; 25 February 2020; DOI:10.1016/j.ehb.2019.100834
More evidence that walking or cycling to work associated with reduced risk of early death and illness
A new study of over 300,000 commuters in England and Wales has found that those who walk, cycle and travel by train to work are at reduced risk of early death or illness compared with those who commute by car. The researchers from Imperial College London and CEDAR say the findings suggest increased walking and cycling post-lockdown may reduce deaths from heart disease and cancer.
The researchers found that, compared with those who drove, those who cycled to work had a 20 per cent reduced rate of early death, 24 per cent reduced rate of death from cardiovascular disease (which includes heart attack and stroke) during the study period, a 16 per cent reduced rate of death from cancer, and an 11 per cent reduced rate of a cancer diagnosis. Walking to work was associated with a 7 per cent reduced rate in cancer diagnosis, compared to driving.
- Read the full story
- Read a blogpost in The Conversation by study authors Dr Richard Patterson and Dr Anthony Laverty
- Paper: Patterson R, Panter J, Vamos EP, Cummins S, Millett C, Laverty AA. Associations between commute mode, cardiovascular disease, cancer and all-cause mortality in England and Wales: a cohort study using linked Census data over 25 years. Lancet Planetary Health https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(20)30079-6
- This study was reported by several National and International news outlets, including the Times, Daily Mail, iNews, ITV News Online, Evening Standard, Irish Examiner, Yahoo News and Outlook India.
Road Safety: switch to cycling to keep others safe
Analysis from the UK Department for Transport compares the risk of being injured when you are cycling, driving or walking. Motorcyclists have an especially high risk of death, followed by pedestrians and cyclists. Those in vans, buses or lorries are safest.
But this is only half the story. Research found that while motorcyclists themselves have a high risk of being killed, motorbikes also pose a startlingly high risk to others. Per kilometre, motorcycling kills twice as many other people as car driving. In addition, the majority – more than eight out of ten – of cyclist fatalities occurred when the cyclist was hit by a motor vehicle.
- Read the full blog at The Conversation
- Related news article: Men pose more risk to other road users than women
- Listen to the BMJ talk medicine podcast by Dr Rachel Aldred.
- Full paper: Rachel Aldred, Rob Johnson, Chris Jackson, James Woodcock. How does mode of travel affect risks posed to other road users? An analysis of English road fatality data, incorporating gender and road type. Injury Prevention; 06 April 2020. DOI:10.1136/injuryprev-2019-043534
- The paper was reported by the Times, Telegraph, CNN, Sun, and Daily Mail, and about a dozen other online news outlets.
Also happening at the MRC Epidemiology Unit
More stories from the MRC Epidemiology Unit, which leads CEDAR.
Appeal for people from BAME backgrounds to take part in COVID-19 research. The Unit’s Prof Nita Forouhi helped to organise, and featured in, this appeal by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for more people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds to take part in COVID-19 research studies. Alongside Professor Forouhi the video featured Omid Djalili, Sanjeev Bhasker and Whoopi Goldberg, as well as Professors Kamlesh Khunti and Azhar Farooqi from the University of Leicester.
Analysis of NHS health records yields estimate of COVID-19 mortality according to underlying conditions and age. An analysis published by a team of scientists that includes MRC Epidemiology Unit researcher Dr Claudia Langenberg and colleagues at UCL, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Health Data Research UK, indicates that at least 20% of the UK population has a high-risk underlying condition for COVID-19 infection listed by Public Health England.
COVID-19 prevention information translated into several widely spoken African languages. An Engage Africa Foundation translation team led by Dr Ebele Mogo, a member of the Global Diet and Activity Research Group and Network (GDAR), has translated information on preventing the transmission of COVID-19 into 19 languages spoken across Africa. Select a language at www.engageafricafoundation.org/covid-19
Moderate exercise in middle and older age cuts time spent in hospital. Men and women aged 40-79 are at significantly lower (25-27%) risk of long or frequent hospital admissions if they do some form of physical activity, research from the EPIC-Norfolk study suggests. Inactive participants in the study spent just over four days more in hospital over the next 10 years than those who did at least some physical activity, whether for work or leisure. Similar results were observed 10 years later when the same participants were 50-90 years old.
Sedentary behaviour interventions in real-world conditions: what are the health benefits? (Blog). Dr Paddy Dempsey and colleagues, describe their new paper “Effects of sedentary behaviour interventions on biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk in adults: systematic review with meta-analyses.”
Genetics study links early male puberty to shorter lifespan and darker hair colour. Early puberty in boys is linked to a shorter lifespan and darker hair colour, according to the largest ever study of the genetics of male puberty. The study identifies 76 regions of the genome that influence male puberty, several of which have previously been linked to obesity and body mass index (BMI), but including others linked to hair colour.
- All MRC Epidemiology Unit news at www.mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk/news/
Upcoming talks and seminars
All our seminars have now moved online. All are free to attend, but please note that you will need to register in advance to attend live.
Recordings will be available afterwards at www.mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk/past-seminars/
Look out for more talks and events at www.mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk/events.
22 June 2020, 13:00 – 14:00 BST
Dr Claire Meek, Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge.
Live online, please register in advance.
28 July 2020, 14:00 – 15:00 BST
Dr Jennifer Coates, Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
Title to be confirmed
Live online – we will share registration details as soon as they are available.
15 September 2020
Dr Laura Howe, University of Bristol
Full details TBC.
Our latest publications
The following papers have been published since the last CEDAR Bulletin. All are Open Access.
General public health
- Associations of childcare type, age at start, and intensity with body mass index trajectories from 10 to 42 years of age in the 1970 British Cohort Study. Costa S, Bann D, Benjamin-Neelon SE, Adams J, Johnson W. Pediatr Obes.
- Identification and evaluation of risk of generalizability biases in pilot versus efficacy/effectiveness trials: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Beets MW, Weaver RG, Ioannidis JPA, Geraci M, Brazendale K, Decker L, Okely AD, Lubans D, van Sluijs E, Jago R, Turner-McGrievy G, Thrasher J, Li X, Milat AJ. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act.
- SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19): What do we know about children? A systematic review. Mehta NS, Mytton OT, Mullins EWS, Fowler TA, Falconer CL, Murphy OB, Langenberg C, Jayatunga WJP, Eddy DH, Nguyen-Van-Tam JS. Clin Infect Dis.
- School closure and management practices during coronavirus outbreaks including COVID-19: a rapid systematic review. Viner RM, Russell SJ, Croker H, Packer J, Ward J, Stansfield C, Mytton O, Bonell C, Booy R. Lancet Child Adolesc Health.
- Stakeholders’ perceptions and experiences of the National Health Service diabetes prevention programme in England: qualitative study with service users, intervention providers and deliverers, commissioners and referrers. Rodrigues AM, Haste A, Penn L, Bell R, Summerbell C, White M, Adamson AJ, Sniehotta FF. BMC Health Serv Res.
- “The thing is, kids don’t grow the same”: Parent perspectives on preschoolers’ weight and size in Soweto, South Africa. Klingberg S, van Sluijs EMF, Draper CE. PLoS One.
- Association between time-weighted activity space-based exposures to fast food outlets and fast food consumption among young adults in urban Canada. Liu B, Widener M, Burgoine T, Hammond D. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act.
- How do short-term associations between diet quality and metabolic risk vary with age? Winpenny EM, van Sluijs EMF, Forouhi NG. Eur J Nutr.
- Impact of the announcement and implementation of the UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy on sugar content, price, product size and number of available soft drinks in the UK, 2015-19: A controlled interrupted time series analysis. Scarborough P, Adhikari V, Harrington RA, Elhussein A, Briggs A, Rayner M, Adams J, Cummins S, Penney T, White M. PLoS Med.
- The impact of UK soft drinks industry levy on manufacturers’ domestic turnover. Law C, Cornelsen L, Adams J, Pell D, Rutter H, White M, Smith R. Econ Hum Biol.
- Planning and Public Health professionals’ experiences of using the planning system to regulate hot food takeaway outlets in England: a qualitative study. Keeble M, Burgoine T, White M, Summerbell C, Cummins S, Adams J. Health Place.
- What role should the commercial food system play in promoting health through better diet? White M, Aguirre E, Finegood DT, Holmes C, Sacks G, Smith R. BMJ.
- Associations between commute mode and cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality, and cancer incidence, using linked Census data over 25 years in England and Wales: a cohort study. Patterson R, Panter J, Vamos EP, Cummins S, Millett C, Laverty AA. Lancet Planet Health.
- Investigating the association between population density and travel patterns in Indian cities-An analysis of 2011 census data. Goel R, Mohan D. Cities.
- The long-term impact of restricting cycling and walking during high air pollution days on all-cause mortality: Health impact Assessment study. Giallouros G, Kouis P, Papatheodorou SI, Woodcock J, Tainio M. Environ Int.
- A systematic review of empirical and simulation studies evaluating the health impact of transportation interventions. Stankov I, Garcia LMT, Mascolli MA, Montes F, Meisel JD, Gouveia N, Sarmiento OL, Rodriguez DA, Hammond RA, Caiaffa WT, Diez Roux AV. Environ Res.
- Using a multi-stakeholder experience-based design process to co-develop the Creating Active Schools Framework. Daly-Smith A, Quarmby T, Archbold VSJ, Corrigan N, Wilson D, Resaland GK, Bartholomew JB, Singh A, Tjomsland HE, Sherar LB, Chalkley A, Routen AC, Shickle D, Bingham DD, Barber SE, van Sluijs E, Fairclough SJ, McKenna J. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act.
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