MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE A very different kind of Advent and Christmas season beckons this year, as the world continues to struggle with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For Christians, the birth of the Christ child is a story of new life—and with it new hopeNo matter what you're going through, there's a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you'll find the positive side of things . I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we're all teachers - if we're willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door. . As long as you as an individual... can convince yourself that in order to move forward as best you can you have to be optimistic, you can be described as 'one of the faithful,' one of those people who can say, 'Well, look, something's going to happen! Let's just keep trying. Let's not give up. MERRY XMAS STEVE

How can I lose weight and be healthier?

Our 10 simple weight loss tips can help you take in fewer calories and burn more energy through activity Keeping a healthy weight cuts your risk of cancer and other serious diseases Forming long-term habits will help you lose weight safely and keep it off Keeping a healthy weight has loads of benefits, and one of the biggest is that it reduces the risk of cancer. You won’t be surprised to hear that keeping a healthy weight boils down to three things: eating healthier foods, eating less, and getting more active. But actually doing that can be tough. These 10 weight loss tips are simple changes based on scientific evidence and can help you make healthy habits that are easy to do every day. update_573_top_ten_tips_680_v03.png The 10 Top Tips For a Healthy Weight programme was developed by Cancer Research UK and the organisation Weight Concern(link is external). Make your changes stick Habits are formed when you do something over and over again in the same place at the same time, like brushing your teeth. It’s important to form long-term healthy habits, as most ‘quick fix’ or crash diets aren’t a long-term solution and most people gain back the weight they lost. The NHS recommend a safe rate of weight loss of 0.5kg to 1kg (1lb to 2lb) per week. How can I turn the tips into habits? Decide on a cue: Choose a point in your daily routine where you can most easily do the tip. For example, you might decide to take the stairs instead of the lift each morning. ​Plan ahead: Making a plan increases your chances of doing something. For example, think about how to include the extra walking into your day or what meals you want to cook for the week ahead. Be prepared: Do you need to do anything differently, for example pack comfortable shoes? Track your progress: Whether it’s using your phone, a calendar or a notebook by your bed, making a note of how you’re getting on helps make your changes stick. Be realistic and stick with it: the sooner you build the tips into your life, the quicker you’ll start losing weight. But realistically, it can be difficult to make lots of changes all at once. Try starting with one or two until you feel confident enough to add in another. How can I help my children keep their weight healthy? One of the most important ways to encourage your children to lead a healthy lifestyle is to set a good example yourself. Try to get the whole family involved in healthy living. Keep a healthier selection of food at home, make time for healthy family meals, and do activities together that everyone enjoys like walking in the park, cycling or kicking a ball around.


Obesity 2.12. Global obesity rates have tripled since 1975, and the UK ranks among the worst in Europe [30]. Obesity and poor diet are linked with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and increased risk of respiratory, musculoskeletal and liver diseases. Obese people are also at increased risk of certain cancers, including being three times more likely to develop colon cancer. 2.13. Nearly two-thirds of adults in England are overweight or obese. In 2016/17, 617,000 admissions to NHS hospitals recorded obesity as a primary or secondary diagnosis [31],[32]. A third of children leaving primary school are overweight or obese and, on average, consume up to 500 extra calories per day. Children are heavily exposed to television advertising for food and drinks high in salt, fat or sugar [33]; fast food shops are a growing presence on high streets [34] and increasingly cluster around schools [35]. The government has pledged to halve childhood obesity and significantly reduce the gap in obesity between children from the most and least deprived areas by 2030. figure 11 2.14. The burden of obesity isn’t experienced equally across society [36]. The NHS will therefore provide a targeted support offer and access to weight management services in primary care for people with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or hypertension with a BMI of 30+ (adjusted appropriately for ethnicity), where we know we can have a significant impact on improving health, reducing health inequalities and reducing costs. By 2022/23, we also expect to treat up to a further 1,000 children a year for severe complications related to their obesity, such as diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, sleep apnoea and poor mental health. These services will prevent children needing more invasive treatment. 2.15. The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme supports those at high risk of type 2 diabetes to reduce their risk. A joint commitment by NHS England, Public Health England (PHE) and Diabetes UK, the programme is the largest undertaking of its kind in the world and over 100,000 people have already benefited since its introduction in 2016. In many areas demand has outstripped supply, and it has proven highly effective. We are now committing to fund a doubling of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme over the next five years, including a new digital option to widen patient choice and target inequality. 2.16. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is up to six times higher in certain Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups. Expanding the Diabetes Prevention Programme is a key vehicle for tackling health inequalities, with a significantly higher take up from BAME groups than the general population. We will also continue to support local health systems to address inequality of access to multidisciplinary foot care teams and specialist nursing support for people who have diabetes. 2.17. Medical research has shown that some people with type 2 diabetes can achieve remission through adoption of a very low calorie diet. This allowed nearly half of patients to stop taking anti-diabetic drugs and still achieve non-diabetic range glucose levels [37]. We will therefore test an NHS programme supporting very low calorie diets for obese people with type 2 diabetes. 2.18.The NHS will continue to take action on healthy NHS premises. In 2016, NHS England introduced a financial incentive for hospitals to encourage healthier food options to be available for staff, limiting the proportion, placement and promotion of foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS). Our action has also reduced the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages across the NHS, from 15.6% in July 2017, to 7.4% in June 2018. The next version of hospital food standards will be published in 2019, strengthening these requirements and pushing further in securing healthy food for our staff and patients. They will include substantial restrictions on HFSS foods and beverages. All trusts will be required by the NHS standard contract to deliver against these standards. 2.19. Nutrition training, and an understanding of what is involved in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, varies between medical schools. Some courses have just eight hours, at most, over a five- or six-year degree. This is not about doctors becoming nutritionists or dieticians. It is about making sure staff on the frontline who are in contact with thousands of patients a year feel equipped to talk to them about nutrition and achieving a healthy weight in an informed and sensitive way. They should feel able to refer patients appropriately in cases where a nutrition support could help, if they are overweight, and have type 2 diabetes, or high blood pressure for example. Together with the professional bodies and universities we will ensure nutrition has a greater place in professional education training.

Are You a Food Addict?

Are You a Food Addict? Take Our Quiz and See Food addiction can show itself in many different ways. We thought we lacked willpower or self-discipline. Many of us had self-discipline in other areas of our lives, but not with food. Or if we sometimes restrained our eating while on a diet, it never lasted very long. We heard people express feelings of low self-esteem, fear, doubt, insecurity, shame, guilt, and hopelessness around their relationship with food. We hated to admit that we had a problem and that we were not “normal” with food. Over time we became aware that these were symptoms of food addiction. To discover more, answer each of the following questions as honestly as you can Have you ever wanted to stop eating and found you just couldn't? Do you think about food or your weight constantly? Do you find yourself attempting one diet or food plan after another, with no lasting success? Do you binge and then "get rid of the binge" through vomiting, exercise, laxatives, or other forms of purging? Do you eat differently in private than you do in front of other people? Has a doctor or family member ever approached you with concern about your eating habits or weight? Do you eat large quantities of food at one time (binge)? Is your weight problem due to your "nibbling" all day long? Do you eat to escape from your feelings? Do you eat when you're not hungry? Have you ever discarded food, only to retrieve and eat it later? Do you eat in secret? Do you fast or severely restrict your food intake? Have you ever stolen other people's food? Have you ever hidden food to make sure you have "enough"? Do you feel driven to exercise excessively to control your weight? Do you obsessively calculate the calories you've burned against the calories you've eaten? Do you frequently feel guilty or ashamed about what you've eaten? Are you waiting for your life to begin "when you lose the weight"? Do you feel hopeless about your relationship with food? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you may be a food addict. You are not alone. Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous™ offers hope through a real solution to food addiction. What Is the Next Step? Attend an FA™ meeting Find a meeting in your area to learn more about the program and find a sponsor. There are no dues or fees. Anyone who wants help with food addiction is welcome. Each meeting lists a contact person. Call a meeting’s contact person to confirm the meeting location, date, and time, and to ask any questions you may have.

Body Positivity = Anti Colonialism Fatphobia is linked the colonial outlook of white Europeans and settlers in the 19th century

American writer Henry T. Finck once wrote that the attraction to fat women among the men of “uncivilized and oriental races”, meaning African and Asian countries, had reflected a lust of the woman’s body rather than an appreciation of beauty or love. This idea has been common amongst Europeans as both them and American settler writers described Asian and African as obese and then began to express disgust to their fatness. They believed men’s attraction to heavier women in these cultures was uncivilized and unacceptable. In these cultures, men and women are both encouraged to eat, at any specific age, and this the Europeans found horrifying. One European account of this societal practice is “The Greeks praised the slender and graceful figure — the Moors prize fatness to obesity; and their women are fatted for marriage as our turkeys are for Thanksgiving or Christmas.” In many cultures back then being fat was a sign of being part of a small elite in society, as they could afford to eat whenever they please while many people in these societies were often in poverty and could not afford these certain luxuries. A strange irony is that the European perception of fatness in these societies is completely wrong, not only because it’s absurdly fatphobic, but because the many fat people they would encounter in these societies were a small, very small, group of elites in that society. Thus they attributed this weight with laziness, weakness, and cowardice, which is again extremely ironic considering in the Middle Ages up until colonial industrialization, British monarchists would often gorge themselves with food as a symbol of their status and greed, while many of their subjects were in poverty and starving. The colonial perception of these societies as inherently fat is completely false as they had only encountered a small elite. The common people throughout these societies were not fat and thus the colonials attributed this to overall poverty of the common class, which in some cases is true, but in many cases, the common man throughout these cultures were not fat, but colonials attributed obesity to a cultural practice within these regions of the world. Image for post Photo:”Food and Flavor: A Gastronomic Guide to Health and Good Living” by Henry T. Finck Colonials came up with a particular concept called “obesity of the mind”, which is what they attributed to certain aspects of cultural and religious practices of these African and Asian countries. Ganesha is a widely worshipped god in the Hindu pantheon, he is known as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. One obvious characteristic of Ganesha is that he has a large elephant head, but another, one the colonials picked up on, is that Ganesha is depicted to be rather large. He is usually drawn with a round, rotund belly. The colonials perceived this as a clear indication that obesity is normalized and is widely encouraged and practiced throughout India. Colonials attributed “obesity of the mind” to Africans, as a lot of them were not particularly fat, it was the Africans approach to labor which is what particularly baffled the Europeans. The African farmers according to European accounts were disinterested in hard work and lacked a good work ethic. The assumption is made on colonial standards of labor, which are particularly exploitative and at times abusive under the colonial system of capitalism, as well as an assumption made under the pretense of the colonial mindset that labor should be enjoyed and dreamt of. Image for post Photo:Wikipedia An excerpt from racist American writer Henry T. Finck goes “The object of the modern wasp waist (in the minds of the class of females who, strange to say, are allowed by respectable women to set the fashion for them) is to grossly exaggerate the bust and the hips, and it is for the same reason that barbarian and Oriental girls are fattened for the marriage market.” He associated a fatter women with his disgust for Black and Asian cultures, and their particular love and celebration of fat women. Finck is a large contributor to the culture surrounding fatphobia and body shaming as he published diet books targeted towards white women, popularizing the association of fatness with Black and Asian cultures, and the white worlds particular disgust of these body types and the celebration of them. Fat black women in particular have been left out of the body shaming/fatphobia narrative when the whole concept of a negative connotation linked to fatness had started at the fear of the black woman’s body. In an excerpt from the book “Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origina of Fatphobia” it states “Obesity Kills More Americans Than We Thought.’ This headline, from the health news section of CNN’s website on August 15, 2013, commanded readers’ attention. Accompanying the article is an image of a fat black woman. She is wearing a sleeveless top, revealing the dark, fleshy skin of her arms. A tape measure around her waist is being held together by a pair of delicate white hands reaching out from a white lab coat.” These perceptions are not something new. They have been around since Europeans in America have written literature to condemn and be disgusted by the black body, the black female body. The legacy of the fear towards the black female body is still as insidious today as it was 200 years ago. In a new wave of recent body positivity movements, the group that was the basis for the creation of body shaming, fat black women, have ironically been left out of recent body positivity movements being helmed by fat white women. In a strange way, this almost does the jobs of European and American racists and writers like Henry T. Finck, as they are being led by fat white women, but still fear the fat black woman, which was the true intended purpose. Fat black women have been breaking stereotypes and fighting hate mongering in recent years as more fat black women have been allowed outlets to express themselves, particularly the entertainment industry, where starlets like Monique and Queen Latifah have been dominant in black cinema for years. Despite this, fat black women typically still get pigeon holed into being cast as, well, the stereotypical fat black women, and films like Big Momma’s House, Madea, and Norbit make it even harder for the stereotypes of fat black women to be broken. These films, where men dress up as fat black women, almost mimic that of a minstrel show, to where the lengths to portray this stereotypical and offensive caricature of a group of people who are very real and face the very real repercussions of such stereotypes are taken to extreme heights. These movies to many people are considered extremely funny, and some may not even view them as a problem, due to fatphobia and stereotypes of fatness, particularly fat black women, becoming ingrained into our society through colonial perception to the point where we as a society make grossly awful stereotypes about a very real group of people. Fat black women have been extremely vocal about the discrimination they face, not only racially, but through body shaming as well, and unfortunately the body shaming movement has completely shut them out. Fat white women, the likes of Adele and Rebel Wilson, have either involuntarily or with ignorant headstrong attitudes, taken a leading role in the body positivity movement. Rebel Wilson had once gone to twitter and stated that she was the first visibly plus size woman to ever be in a leading role in a film, which is blatantly false as fat black women such as Monique and Queen Latifah had been in leading roles in black cinema for years and years before Rebel Wilson was even famous. She then went on to belittle their performances, questioning if they were actually plus size. This is the damage of allowing movements to be co-opted by people who either do the job of authors of fatphobic literature like Finck, or have their own set interests in mind, forgetting that fatphobia is rooted in the hatred and fear of black women’s bodies in the first place, and frankly the whole movement reeks of white feminism. The belittlement of fat people, particularly fat women, has got to end, body shaming is not simply being concerned for someone’s health, as anyone at any weight can be perfectly healthy, or extremely unhealthy. Body shaming is a method of oppression created by colonialism, and every fatphobic statement is a contribution to that legacy, if people are truly about ending colonialism as they say, it’s time to remove these stigmas placed upon fat people and end the colonial perception rooted in the hatred and fear of the fat black woman. “the current anti-fat bias in the United States and in much of the West was not born in the medical field. Racial scientific literature since at least the eighteenth century has claimed that fatness was ‘savage’ and ‘black.”

Obesity row Airbnb hosts shrug off fatphobia claim

A couple who imposed a 100kg weight limit on people staying in a cottage on Airbnb blamed “easily offended snowflakes” and fat people for the property being removed from the website. Marcus Farkas, 52, and his partner Zsuzanna, 34, vowed to continue their policy at the 15th-century home in Sandwich, Kent. SPONSORED Instagram vs reality: the changing influence of influencers Instagram vs reality: the changing influence of influencers 5 ready-made investment funds that will brighten your financial future 5 ready-made investment funds that will brighten your financial future The couple, who claim to manage 20 properties on the site, shrugged off accusations of “fatphobia” and “discrimination” from campaigners but they removed the listing indefinitely yesterday, complaining that they had been “spammed by fat Airbnb people”.

Obesity increases risk of Covid-19 death by 48%, study finds

74% more likely to be admitted to intensive care. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian Obesity increases the risk of dying of Covid-19 by nearly 50% and may make vaccines against the disease less effective, according to a comprehensive study using global data. The findings, which the lead researcher described as “scary”, show that the risks for people with obesity are greater than previously thought. The study – a collaborative effort between the University of North Carolina (UNC), Saudi Health Council and World Bank – will increase pressure on governments to tackle obesity, including in the UK where Boris Johnson has put himself at the head of a drive to reduce the nation’s weight. It emerged ahead of a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research that calls on the government to go further than its recent initiatives, which include restrictions on junk food advertising and supermarket offers. Get Society Weekly: our newsletter for public service professionals Read more The thinktank says a giant leap, akin to progress on sanitation in Victorian times, is needed to bring down obesity levels that shorten lives by causing heart conditions, strokes, type 2 diabetes and cancers, and impose a huge cost on the NHS. It urges the government to employ a combination of taxes and subsidies, and proposes a new non-essential food levy of 8% on unhealthy foods that exceed a certain energy density or calorie count. Such taxes have worked in Mexico and Hungary, where people are eating less of such foods and manufacturers are reformulating their products to be healthier. The prime minister hit out last year at “sin taxes” such as the UK’s sugary drinks levy, but his own spell in intensive care with Covid-19, which he blames on his weight, has convinced him that tough measures are needed to reduce obesity levels. It is understood that even taxes are no longer off the table. The US and UK have some of the highest obesity rates in the world. US government data shows that more than 40% of Americans are obese. The figure in England is more than 27% of adults. The new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill into the effects of Covid-19 on people with obesity, defined as a BMI over 30, finds they are at greater risk from the virus in every way. Their risk of ending up in hospital with Covid-19 increases by 113%, of needing intensive care by 74%, and of dying of the virus by 48%. The study was led by Prof Barry Popkin, of the department of nutrition at the UNC’s Gillings Global School of Public Health, who said he was shocked by the findings. The risk of dying of Covid-19 for people with obesity was significantly higher than anyone had thought.

The need to address the complexities of obesity

Obesity Empowerment Network UK Champion Angela Chesworth recently spoke to Alex Hall from The Daily Telegraph. Angela expressed her support for Boris Johnson’s New Obesity Strategy and requested The Prime Minster to address Obesity with a whole system approach, including access to effective treatment such as Bariatric Surgery. “Some people think I ‘cheated’ my way to a new body – but bariatric surgery is no quick fix” After years of battling with her weight, Angela underwent a gastric bypass operation which saw her drop 12 stone in a year. 6 years post-surgery she is living a happy healthier life. Angela highlighted, “Covid-19 has been a scary time for everyone, we have had to listen to the scientific evidence and act accordingly to protect the population. People living with Obesity are part of the high-risk group. It’s time for our Government to be brave and address the complexities of Obesity by listening to the scientific evidence that recognises Obesity as a Complex, Chronic, Multifactorial Disease”

Coronavirus vaccine may not be as effective in obese people because their immune systems are weaker, scientists warn

Past research has found the flu vaccine does not work as well in obese people High levels of blood sugar, inflammation and insulin resistance impair immunity Scientists should consider this when trialling new vaccines, experts say Obesity also raises the risk of hospitalisation or death if someone catches Covid By SAM BLANCHARD SENIOR HEALTH REPORTER FOR MAILONLINE PUBLISHED: 11:00, 26 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:16, 26 August 2020 e-mail 6 shares 45 View comments A coronavirus vaccine might not work as well in overweight people because their immune systems are weaker, scientists warn. Experts around the world are scrambling to develop a jab that could protect people from Covid-19 and allow life to return to normal, with efforts on track for next year. But now experts say obese people - one in three adults in Britain and 40 per cent of Americans - may not feel the benefits as much as their thinner peers. Obesity already puts people at greater risk from Covid-19, with them twice as likely to be hospitalised and the risk of death almost 50 per cent higher. This means millions of people who most need protection from the virus may not get it as well as others. The flu jab doesn't work as well in fat people, researchers have found in the past, and they fear the same could be true of any eventual vaccine against Covid-19. This is because high levels of sugar in the blood, poor insulin control and swelling in the blood vessels - all of which are common in obese people - can stop immune cells from functioning as well as they should. Researchers said this didn't mean the vaccine wouldn't work at all but that scientists should be aware it could be less effective. Researchers say high blood sugar levels, which are more common in very overweight people, interfere with the ability of immune cells to do their jobs (stock image) +1 Researchers say high blood sugar levels, which are more common in very overweight people, interfere with the ability of immune cells to do their jobs (stock image) The warning was made by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in a paper exploring the link from obesity to Covid-19 complications. 'We are not saying that the vaccine will be ineffective in populations with obesity,' said Professor Melinda Beck, an author of the study. 'But rather that obesity should be considered as a modifying factor to be considered for vaccine testing. 'Even a less protective vaccine will still offer some level of immunity.'

Why the government’s new obesity plan won’t work for everyone Yes, a comprehensive scheme is long overdue, but No 10’s one-size-fits-all approach falls short of what is required to tackle the problem, say Lucie Nield and Jenny Paxman 2 days ago

.ovid-19 has affected a disproportionate number of people with obesity in the UK. As such, the government has seen the pandemic as a “wakeup call” to the health risks of living with obesity. They have recently announced a long overdue strategy to tackle obesity in Britain. Some of the proposals aimed at significantly reducing obesity rates, include: – Banning TV and online advertising of foods high in fat, sugar, or salt before 9pm – Calorie labelling on menus in restaurants and takeaways, alongside consulting on alcohol calorie labelling and front-of-pack “traffic light” labelling – where “green” products are considered more nutritious, and “red” products less – Expansion of the NHS’s weight management service (including apps and online tools) Watch more As an obese person, I am not a problem for the government to solve – Incentives for GPs to support patients with obesity in their weight loss, and prescribe exercise and social activities. SPONSORED | Visa Visa. How You Pay Matters Bought something that arrived damaged, or not as described? When you pay with Visa credit or debit you could get your money back. Terms apply. See More However, the proposals are not without criticism, and some feel the government’s plans aren’t enough to end obesity. And though many of the proposed interventions are thoroughly researched, not all methods will be effective for everyone. Here are four key problems with the strategy. 1) It doesn’t target every driver of obesity Multiple factors combine to influence body weight. Our psychology and biology, and what motivates us to eat or be physically active, all interrelate with societal-level food supply, social influence (such as food marketing), and our physical activity environment (such as how walkable and connected a community is, and how much recreational space it has available). One of the government’s biggest targets is to promote increased physical activity among the population. This includes investment into active transport infrastructure to increase physical activity, and incentives for GPs to prescribe exercise or other social activities. obesity-strategy-uk-4.jpg The new proposals aren’t without criticism (PA) Research shows physical activity is higher in neighbourhoods with more parks and public transport and steps to promote more physical activity should be applauded. But they don’t fully recognise the complexity of obesity. Not everyone will want, choose, or be motivated to be active in the same way as others. Support in changing behaviour, and making access to many types of physical activity affordable will be key to getting the nation moving. 2) Access to healthier foods is key The government has also announced aims to promote healthy eating. Some of the strategies include banning junk food advertising on TV before 9pm and ending offers on unhealthy foods. However, not all these strategies have been shown to work. Government research in 2019 even calculated a pre-watershed junk food advert ban would only reduce the average daily calorie intake by about 1.7 calories. Instead, improving access to healthier, affordable foods will be extremely important for bringing wider change.

ncreasing offers on fruits and vegetables, and ending “buy-one-get-one-free” offers on unhealthy foods in stores are likely to help. However, the continued prevalence of fast food outlets in some areas, particularly deprived ones, may continue to undermine access to healthier alternatives for many people. Research has shown that access to unhealthy food options, which tend to be cheaper and may be perceived as better tasting, increases intake of them. For this reason, reducing access to unhealthy food options and improving access to healthier options need to be considered together. Doing so will lead to better eating habits and reduced obesity risk. Consumer behaviours are ultimately dictated by a combination of attitude, social norms and whether someone feels they’re capable of changing 3) Calorie labelling doesn’t necessarily work The government pledge to put calorie labels on both alcohol and in restaurants is long overdue. We know nutritional information can help people when making food and drink choices, making them feel more informed. However, this won’t help everyone restrict intake of unhealthy foods. According to the theory of planned behaviour, consumer behaviours are ultimately dictated by a combination of attitude, social norms (what everyone around you does), and whether someone feels they’re capable of changing. So having nutritional information won’t necessarily override these other factors. Understanding nutritional information also requires both literacy and numeracy skills, which could inadvertently widen the health gap, as those who have difficulty interpreting such information are more likely to come from more deprived backgrounds. Research on food product calorie labelling and “traffic light” systems has shown that while consumers may look at such labels, they don’t necessarily process this information further. In some cases, these labels have little effect on calorie consumption or product choice. obesity-strategy-uk-2.jpg Research suggests that areas with access to parks are more likely to have higher fitness levels (Getty) Though this strategy aims to empower consumers by providing key information, this isn’t enough. Help in changing behaviour (such as cognitive behavioural therapy), and support in understanding food labels need to be implemented as well to drive healthier food choices. 4) Weight management is not one-size-fits-all Expanding 12-week weight management services across the NHS may help some. But as the factors driving weight gain and loss are unique to each person, a one-size-fits-all approach may not work for everyone. Research shows that 12-month (or longer) tailored programmes are more effective than shorter, general weight-management services in helping people who are overweight or obese lose and maintain weight. And while weight management services can be successful, multicomponent services – which give a person choice of the interventions they will use – are recommended. However, primary care staff are overburdened already. Many GPs also often feel reluctant to discuss weight management with their patients so as not to ruin their relationships. Given these factors, such discussions or help may not even be provided despite the proposed initiatives. Read more Channel 4’s weight loss show sends a dangerous message about calories Junk food isn’t the only enemy, it’s products pretending to be healthy How Boris Johnson can have his cake and eat it on tackling obesity Importantly, weight management programmes should be delivered and supported by specialist staff, such as registered nutritionists and dieticians. This will also alleviate pressure on primary health care providers. The government’s strategy promises to realise a range of initiatives that have long been proposed, trialled and evaluated by health professionals and researchers. But research shows there’s a need to tackle societal factors that favour obesity alongside providing individual support. These proposals are a small step towards better weight management in the UK – but targeted and tailored solutions for each person will work best. Lucie Nield is a senior lecturer in nutrition and dietetics at Sheffield Hallam University. Jenny Paxman is a principal lecturer in nutrition; subject group leader for food and nutrition at Sheffield Hallam University. This article first appeared on The Conversation

NEWSCoca-Cola paid researchers to downplay sugar and obesity link

Scientists paid by Coca-Cola to downplay how damaging sugar can be for increasing obesity rates has been called a “low point in this history of public health”. A newly published study reported in the Daily Mail has looked at a series of emails carried out between a group of academics called the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), which was set up to investigate why weight gain across America had increased. The emails were obtained by the non-profit consumer and public health group, US Right to Know which applied for the documents using Freedom of Information requests. The team, funded by the beverage company, helped promote the idea that lack of exercise was to blame for America’s obesity problem and not a bad diet. The study findings stated that the emails “identified two main strategies” one of which used information and messaging that “could influence public health nutrition”. The second strategy suggested that Coca-Cola made “significant efforts to divert attention from its role as a funding source”. One of the emails about funding said: “We are certainly going to have to disclose this [Coca-Cola funding] at some point. Our preference would be to have other funders on board first…Right now, we have two funders. Coca Cola and an anonymous individual donor.” Another email added: “We are managing some GEBN inquiries and while we disclose Coke as a sponsor we don’t want to disclose how much they gave.” Gary Ruskin, executive director of US Right to Know, said: “This is a story about how Coke used public health academics to carry out classic tobacco tactics to protect its profits. “It’s a low point in the history of public health, and a warning about the perils of accepting corporate funding for public health work.” The researchers for the study looking into Coco-Cola concluded: “Coca-Cola sought to obscure its relationship with researchers, minimise the public perception of its role and use these researchers to promote industry-friendly messaging. “More robust approaches for managing conflicts of interest are needed to address diffuse and obscured patterns of industry influence.” The study was published in the Public Health Nutrition journal. Read more here.

Alzheimer's drugs could prevent blood vessel damage caused by type 2 diabetes and obesity – new research

People who suffer from a combination of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity have a condition known as “metabolic syndrome”. This condition causes the blood vessels to stiffen. When the arteries are stiff or become blocked, there’s a reduced flow of oxygenated blood that’s able to reach the body’s tissues and vital organs. This puts a person at increased risk of heart attack or stroke. But in order to prevent further harm to patients with metabolic syndrome, it’s key to understand what causes damage to the blood vessels – and how this can be treated. Our latest research has identified a previously unknown mechanism by which metabolic syndrome is able to cause blood vessel damage. But, we also found a way to reverse this damage. Our study looked at both mice and human tissue samples. In both groups, we found that if a subject was obese and had type 2 diabetes, their blood vessels overproduced an enzyme called BACE1. This triggers a biochemical reaction that creates a protein called beta amyloid. Levels of BACE1 are increased by excessive blood lipids (fats) and glucose (sugar), which are characteristic of the metabolic syndrome. In humans, raised levels of beta amyloid are associated with damage to the surface lining (endothelium) of blood vessels. Damage to the endothelium disrupts the normal functioning of the blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure and atherosclerosis – the build up of plaque along the walls of the blood vessels. This build up of plaque can harden over time, narrowing the arteries and making it harder for oxygenated blood to move through the arteries. This can lead to severe complications, including heart attack, stroke or death. Our research also showed that beta amyloid alters the chemical environment inside the blood vessels, causing them to stiffen. Importantly we showed this process was also found in obese people with type 2 diabetes. They had more BACE1 in their blood vessels and higher levels of beta amyloid in their blood, compared to lean people without diabetes. This work builds on our previous findings that showed raised levels of the BACE1 enzyme is linked with obesity and type 2 diabetes. But perhaps the most promising finding from our latest study was that this process could be targeted by drugs. Repurposing drugs The pharmaceutical industry and researchers have been interested in BACE1 for a number of years because of the role it plays in the development of another major illness. As BACE1 generates beta amyloid, these aggregate together and form amyloid plaques in the brain, which are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Drug companies have developed a number of candidate drugs to inhibit the activity of BACE1. But those trials have so far failed to produce any evidence that these interventions would halt or slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Intriguingly, our study suggests these drugs could potentially be repurposed in order to target the over-activity of BACE1 – and beta amyloid production – in the blood vessels of people with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Current treatments for vascular complications are aimed at improving the underlying components of the metabolic syndrome. Statins, insulin sensitisers, and anti-obesity drugs all have beneficial effects, but unfortunately they don’t work for everyone and adherence of these drugs are low. Currently this leaves invasive surgery as the only option remaining. View photos Mice with obesity and type 2 diabetes were given a compound that stopped beta amyloid production. Janson George/ Shutterstock More Story continues The Conversation More

'First to 50!' Keir Starmer challenges Boris Johnson to a press-up competition after THAT Mail on Sunday picture - as the PM launches anti-obesity drive warning Britons are 'significantly fatter' than the rest of Europe

Keir Starmer challenged Boris Johnson to a press-up competition today after the PM demonstrated his prowess on the Downing Street carpet during an interview. The Labour leader joked that they should have a contest as he confirmed that he can also pass the strength test. Asked by Piers Morgan on GMB whether he could do a press-up, Sir Keir replied: 'I can, I was thinking of PMQs this week maybe question one should be first to 50!' The banter came as Mr Johnson again dismissed 'complete nonsense' rumours he is struggling to recover from coronavirus. The premier has also heralded a government anti-obesity drive, warning that Britons are 'significantly fatter' than the rest of Europe. Only the population of Malta is more overweight, according to Mr Johnson. He insisted the issues were costing lives and leaving the the NHS with huge bills, but refused to be drawn on whether he would now back state intervention such as higher taxes, banning BOGOF deals on unhealthy food, and a 9am watershed on junk food ads. Speaking to Times Radio, Mr Johnson also dismissed 'complete nonsense' speculation that he is struggling to recover from the effects of coronavirus, saying that he had lost weight but was not 'wraith-like'. Boris Johnson showed off his press-up prowess in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, saying he was 'as fit as a butcher's dog' before doing press-ups in his office. +4 Boris Johnson showed off his press-up prowess in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, saying he was 'as fit as a butcher's dog' before doing press-ups in his office. Asked by Piers Morgan on GMB whether he could do a press-up, Sir Keir Starmer replied: 'I can, I was thinking of PMQs this week maybe question one should be first to 50!' +4 Asked by Piers Morgan on GMB whether he could do a press-up, Sir Keir Starmer replied: 'I can, I was thinking of PMQs this week maybe question one should be first to 50!' Boris Johnson (pictured on a visit to a contruction site in west London today) said the UK had worse problems than the rest of Europe, with only the population of Malta more overweight +4 Boris Johnson (pictured on a visit to a contruction site in west London today) said the UK had worse problems than the rest of Europe, with only the population of Malta more overweight RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Labour's Keir Starmer OVERTAKES Boris Johnson to become the... Minister whose wealthy wife 'indulges his little hobby of... SHARE THIS ARTICLE Share Efforts to crack down on Britons' excess weight have been given new impetus after it emerged that fat people are more at risk of death and serious ill health from Covid. Officials are drawing up plans that include greater use of bariatric surgery - such as gastric bands - as part of a wider fitness programme that includes diet advice and family exercise plans. Other measures being mooted include bans on buy-one-get-one-free deals, free drinks refills in restaurants and mandatory calorie counts on food menus. In an interview this morning, Mr Johnson admitted that he had taken a 'very libertarian stance' in the past on issues such as the sugar tax. But he stressed that the effects of obesity cannot be 'ignored'. 'Compare I'm afraid this wonderful country of ours to other European countries, we are significantly fatter than most others - apart from the Maltese for some reason,' he said. 'It is an issue.... Everybody knows that this is a tough one.' Mr Johnson added: 'I think it matters and I don't think politicians can treat is as irrelevant.' Mr Johnson has been spotted in recent weeks running in London - including at Buckingham Palace, and in an interview with the Mail on Sunday he declared he was 'as fit as a butcher's dog' before doing press-ups in his office. Bizarrely he appeared this morning to have forgotten about the demonstration of physical prowess. Mr Johnson, who was admitted to intensive care with the virus, said the experience had given him an 'even deeper love and admiration for the NHS and everything they can do'. He said: 'I'm also conscious that many thousands of people tragically were not so lucky, and my job now is to get our whole country bouncing back to health, building back to health.' He has been spotted in recent weeks running in London (above) - including at Buckingham Palace after the Queen gave him special permission +4 He has been spotted in recent weeks running in London (above) - including at Buckingham Palace after the Queen gave him special permission Studies have shown that being obese may double the risk of needing hospital treatment for the coronavirus. British scientists trawled through data for more than 428,000 people who were part of the UK Biobank in May. Some 340 of those tested positive for COVID-19 in hospital - one of the only places to access a test in the UK - amid the pandemic. Being overweight or obese increased the risk of ending up in hospital with the killer infection by 1.6-fold and 2.3-fold, respectively. And for every BMI increase of four-and-a-half units, the risk of dying from COVID-19 rose by about 25 per cent, Glasgow University experts said. Obesity leads to conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, both of which are known to make patients more vulnerable to COVID-19. But extra fat may also lead to inflammation within the body, heavily linked to grave complications. An overproduction of inflammatory markers results in what has been described as a 'cytokine storm', which can be deadly for coronavirus patients. Other scientists have suggested fat cells harbour vital immune cells needed to fight the infection, or make large amounts of a protein used by the virus to latch on to human cells. The findings uncovered several other risk factors for hospitalisation with COVID-19, including smoking, being of BAME background and sleep apnoea. Mr Johnson has been spotted running in and aroudn Downing Street in recent weeks, with the Queen opening up the grounds of her London home to help his recovery from coronavirus and improve his fitness.

Exercise during pregnancy reduces obesity among offspring

When physically fit women exercise during pregnancy they could be setting their children up for better fitness too. That's according to a study published today in Science Advances led by Min Du, professor of animal sciences at Washington State University, and his Ph.D. student Jun Seok Son. They found exercise during pregnancy stimulates the production of brown adipose tissue, commonly known as brown fat, in a developing fetus. Brown fat's primary role in the body is to burn off heat. It is often called good fat. White adipose tissue or white fat, on the other hand, is responsible for obesity and harder to burn off. It is commonly known as bad fat. Du and Son's results show the offspring of physically fit mice that exercised daily during pregnancy not only had a greater proportion of brown fat relative to body weight but also burned white fat off quicker than the offspring of a control group of pregnant mice that did not exercise. This helped prevent obesity and also improved metabolic health. Their study is unique because up to now, the impacts of exercise during pregnancy on fetal development have only been examined in obese mothers. "Previous research has shown that exercise among overweight women during pregnancy protects against metabolic dysfunction and obesity in their offspring," Du said. "This new study shows these benefits may also extend to the offspring of women who are healthy and in shape." As exercise during pregnancy is becoming less common and obesity rates in children are increasing among mothers with various body mass indices, the researchers hope their findings will encourage healthy and fit women to continue living an active lifestyle during pregnancy. "These findings suggest that physical activity during pregnancy for fit women is critical for a newborn's metabolic health," Son said. "We think this research could ultimately help address obesity in the United States and other countries." In the study, healthy maternal mice were assigned either to a sedentary lifestyle or to exercise daily. Their offspring were then subjected to a high energy/caloric diet. Notably, female and male offspring from the experimental group whose mothers had exercised consumed more feed than offspring from the control group. Nonetheless, the experimental group mice showed less weight gain. Additionally, there was an improvement in glucose tolerance in the female and male offspring from the experimental group. Glucose intolerance is a precursor to developing diabetes and other obesity-related diseases later in life. Exercise during pregnancy also stimulated the production of apelin, an exercise-induced hormone, in both mothers and their fetuses. Apelin stimulates brown fat development and improves metabolic health. Du and Son also found administering apelin to the pregnant mice in the control group mimicked some of the beneficial effects of exercise on their offspring. "This suggests that the apelinergic system could be a possible target for developing drugs that help prevent obesity," Du said.

Obesity Linked to Severe Coronavirus Disease, Especially for Younger Patients

Young adults with obesity are more likely to be hospitalized, even if they have no other health problems, studies show. A patient arrived at Elmurst Hospital Center in Queens, N.Y., this month. A patient arrived at Elmurst Hospital Center in Queens, N.Y., this month.Credit...Kathy Willens/Associated Press Roni Caryn Rabin By Roni Caryn Rabin Published April 16, 2020 Updated April 17, 2020, 2:56 p.m. ET Obesity may be one of the most important predictors of severe coronavirus illness, new studies say. It’s an alarming finding for the United States, which has one of the highest obesity rates in the world. Though people with obesity frequently have other medical problems, the new studies point to the condition in and of itself as the most significant risk factor, after only older age, for being hospitalized with Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Young adults with obesity appear to be at particular risk, studies show. The research is preliminary, and not peer reviewed, but it buttresses anecdotal reports from doctors who say they have been struck by how many seriously ill younger patients of theirs with obesity are otherwise healthy. No one knows why obesity makes Covid-19 worse, but hypotheses abound. Some coronavirus patients with obesity may already have compromised respiratory function that preceded the infection. Abdominal obesity, more prominent in men, can cause compression of the diaphragm, lungs and chest capacity. Obesity is known to cause chronic, low-grade inflammation and an increase in circulating, pro-inflammatory cytokines, which may play a role in the worst Covid-19 outcomes. ADVERTISEMENT Continue reading the main story Some 42 percent of American adults — nearly 80 million people — live with obesity. That is a prevalence rate far exceeding those of other countries hit hard by the coronavirus, like China and Italy. Obesity is defined by a measure called body mass index, which is based on a formula that divides one’s weight in kilograms by the square of one’s height in meters. Someone who is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 203 pounds would have a B.M.I. of 30, which is considered obese. Thanks for reading The Times. Subscribe to The Times The new findings about obesity risks are bad news for all Americans, but particularly for African-Americans and other people of color, who have higher rates of obesity and are already bearing a disproportionate burden of Covid-19 deaths. High rates of obesity are also prevalent among low-income white Americans, who may also be adversely affected, experts say. More than half of Covid-19 deaths in the United States so far have been in New York and New Jersey, but the new findings mean the coronavirus could exact a steep toll in regions like the South and the Midwest, where obesity is more prevalent than in the Northeast. “If obesity does turn out to be an important risk factor for younger people, and we look at the rest of the United States — where obesity rates are higher than in New York — that will be of great concern,” said Dr. Roy Gulick, chief of infectious diseases at Weill Cornell Medicine. “We may see a lot more younger people being hospitalized.” ADVERTISEMENT Continue reading the main story Dr. Gulick’s review of data from the first 393 Covid-19 patients admitted to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital identified obesity as a risk factor for admission. He also found that among adults under the age of 54, half live with obesity, though the New York City obesity rate is only 22 percent.