The APPG on a Fit and Healthy Childhood has released a report on the 7th November which insists the government regulate the marketing of junk food to kids. Right now companies only have an opt-in system where they can volunteer to regulate their own marketing to children however only a few particularly virtuous companies have subscribed to the regime and the APPG on a Fit and Healthy Childhoods new report urges the government to implement a series of mandatory regulations to ensure that companies adopt less aggressive measures marketing their products to vulnerable young people.
Child obesity rates are soaring and the World Health Organisation has highlighted the adverse effect that cynical youth-focused marketing is having on the eating and drinking habits of our children. Whilst Public Health England prefers to take a suggestive approach such as making the Change4Life free Sugar Smart and Be Food Smart apps available these measures are criticised as being underwhelming in the battle against childhood obesity in the face of companies ruthless advertising of unhealthy choices.
Lead Author of the report, and chair of the working group Helen Clark said
‘If the Government really cares about the health and fitness of our children, this report should be welcomed. It’s time now to be proactive - simply ‘working with industry’ on marketing doesn’t work!"
Some of the proposed measures in the report include restoring the £600 Million funding cuts back to local councils public health funding and;
- The banning of friendly characters to advertise junk food.
- Pushing back junk food advertising after a 9pm watershed.
- Fully adopt the UNICEF-advocated ‘child rights’ approach.
Helen Clark went on to explain “Actions must be mandatory to benefit all the UK’s children and industry should be given no room to evade beneficial action, ‘get around it’ or, as too many companies are doing today, simply ignore it. It’s time for those who make policy to stand up and be counted in the children’s corner!’
Understanding our Language: The APPG is an acronym for All-Party Parliamentary Group.
Last week we reported that childhood obesity has been linked to 12 major cancers.
Professor Stuart Biddle of Loughborough University has undertaken a research study which followed six people over a year as they tried to keep up with regular exercise by attending a gym. His results determined that we would all benefit from building regular exercise into our daily routines instead of attempting to maintain a gruelling gym routine as 9 out of 10 people quit the gym only 6 weeks after joining even when subscribing for a whole year.
Professor Biddle speaking at the British Psychological Society's annual conference at Imperial College, London said "We have got an obesity problem because we have lost those little bits of everyday activity that we used to have, like walking to the shops or to work.”
"People's' engagement with exercise will fluctuate as a result of other events in their lives. Structured exercise at a gym can be too disruptive to everyday life.
"It's important to build exercise into your daily routine - there are many other alternatives to gym membership.”
“Research has shown that standing 3 or 4 hours a day would be activity equivalent of running 10 marathons a year.” Nick White, MD of iwantastandingdesk.com said “This only further cements our opinion that its time people consider spending some of that yearly gym membership money on a quality standing desk that they won’t want to walk away from in 6 weeks’ time.”
Two major health research reports have been released detailing the links between children’s screen time and the growing rate of short sightedness and long term obesity – identified as one of the key causes of cancer.
The World Cancer Research Fund undertook a global review, considering 80 studies involving more than 200,000 people and identified childhood screen time as a major contributing factor in the development of cancer causing obesity.
“Multiple health issues are reportedly tied to increased screen time however this is a by-product of our time. Children are raised on eBooks in schools now. When using devices at a standing desk at in monitored time frames, children sit less and remain active counteracting many of the negative impacts to their health.” Said Nick White, MD of iwantastandingdesk.com
The WCRF has found links between obesity and 12 major cancer types including breast, prostate, and colon, liver, ovarian, kidney and pancreatic disease.
Short-sightedness has more than doubled in the last 50 years, scientists conclude this is a direct response to increased screen time and King College London have dubbed the issue “digital myopia” as they say every hour spent in front of a computer in childhood increases the risk of short-sightedness in children by a staggering 3%.
Sugary drinks and in- game advertising have both been identified within the report as having some of the strongest contributing factors to childhood obesity and rising health problems.
A paper launched by researchers from the University of Salford in January details suggestions and methods for adults to combat the rise of screen time. Dr Adam Galpin said "Families would benefit from balanced and sensible guidance on how to minimise risk and harmful behaviour whilst encouraging positive uses of digital media.”
Great minds such as Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein all bestowed the virtues of prevention being better than cure in healthcare. Edison predicted the Doctor of the future would spend his time preventing issues rather than solving them.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock, yesterday brought to light a 41 page document detailing the governments’ vision for the future of healthcare in the UK citing prevention as their top priority.
Mr Hancock reflected on prevention being more than simply the responsibility of the medical and social care system but that it should be actively promoted and delivered by all members of the community.
“I want us to be working with all those who have a role in influencing health: communities, employers, industry, local government, housing, schools and charities.”
Matt Hancock has recently encouraged companies to adopt standing desks and undertake standing meetings as a means to integrate healthy culture at a ground roots level.
The Health secretary’s report further encourages embedding a culture of good health and positive working / learning environments within our communities to realise his target to increase life expectancy by at least 5 years by 2035.
The document reads “Prevention is as important at seventy years old as it is at age seven.”
The report discusses the need for preventative technology, mobile apps for remote workers and the need for online communities to help patients provide advice and support to one another. Alongside this the NHS may begin to implement “lifestyle questionnaires” on admission to tackle preventable illness.
The questionnaires and notions of individual responsibility have been criticised by some as encouraging a “nanny state.”
Matt Hancock, UK Health Secretary Will today speak at the Annual Meeting of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes to outline his strategy to include prevention as a priority in future NHS budgets and methods.
Integrating technology such as apps that consider lifestyle and location and other prevention methods such as standing desks, free fruit and lend a bike schemes in the workplace are all part of Mr Hancock’s new plan to reduce the burden on the NHS by investing in prevention rather than cure.
Ministers currently spend £97 billion on treating disease and only £8bn on preventing it.
The Sun reports that in his statement Matt Hancock will say “It can’t be right that today, in England, a boy born in the poorest parts of our country will die nine years earlier, and live 19 more years in poor health, than a boy born in the richest areas.
“That’s why prevention matters. That’s why we need a new 21st century focus on prevention.”
The Sun goes on to report that a green paper, titled “Prevention is better than cure”, will outline the vision for a “new 21st century focus on prevention”.
Standing Desks are an excellent measure for maintaining good health and amongst other preventative innovations are encouraged under the governments new plans to improve general health in the workplace.
More than one in five children are considered obese by the time the leave primary school according to new official NHS data.
In just over a decade child obesity rates have risen more than a third and are now at a record high. More than 24,000 children in England are now considered severely obese whilst a staggering 116,000 children are deemed obese.
Statistics captured are from the national childhood measurement programme.
"Obesity is a problem that has been decades in the making - one that will take significant effort across government, schools, families and wider society to address.” - Public Health Minister Steve Brine explained how the government has already removed a high level of sugar from children’s diets by enacting the sugar tax which has funded vital school sports and breakfast programmes and they have bold plans to half the amount of childhood obesity by 2030 by implementing Chapter Two of the Childhood Obesity Strategy such as preventing junk food advertising on television before 9pm.
Children with obesity face four times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes according to a study published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society. Whilst 41 Million children worldwide are regarded as obese according to research. Nick White Managing Director of iwantastandingdesk.com reflected on the growing trend “Without additional activity being including into daily learning hours, childhood obesity is going to become a problem at an educational level. Obesity becoming prevalent means lower activity levels and productivity reducing primary schools educational outcomes.”
Iwantastandingdesk.com offer standing desk schools trials here – Standing desks in schools encourage movement, improve productivity and help fidgety children engage whilst remaining active.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock who tomorrow will announce a new health initiative urging employers to push movement in the workplace, says he believes it’s the duty of schools, GPs, teachers and employers to promote daily activity as he describes standing desks and movement as a “miracle cure” that cuts the risk of many illnesses.
“Our message should be that movement is medicine.” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said at the International Society for Physical Activity and Health Congress in London.
Employers are encouraged to build movement into their workers days by buying them standing desks and encouraging standing for meetings. The health secretary who himself uses a standing desk has made the plea in a bid to counter the ever growing issue of sedentary lifestyles lowering our productivity and importantly our lifespans.
“Research has shown that sitting for eight hours a day could increase the risk of premature death by up to 60 percent” reports Laura Donnelly, Health Editor of The Daily Telegraph
The health secretary has encouraged companies to integrate sit-stand desks such as iwantastandingdesk.com’s range of Jack Desks and to avoid seated meetings where possible.
Mr Hancock explained that not only were these measures designed to encourage benefits to health but also productivity and multiple other gains.
“Workplaces can make a difference; encouraging breaks, offering standing desks, having standing meetings…I know from personal experience that having a standing desk can help you get some exercise and improve your productivity”
Not only schools and businesses but GPs are also encouraged by Mr Hancock to push the benefits of standing and movement. “Doctors should not be afraid to tell patients that they need to be more active,” he told the London summit.
The health secretary has since urged businesses to also offer free fruit to reduce the burden on the NHS and encourage healthy living.
Sources: The Daily Telegraph , Daily Mail
Almost one in four British people never exercise, with some admitting to avoiding physical activities "at all cost". The finding comes from the Fit Brits study, commissioned by the British Lung Foundation, which surveyed 2,000 adults.
Of the 23 per cent who do not exercise regularly, one in four felt they would be encouraged to exercise more if they had more facilities local to them. Half of those who are inactive admitted to "avoiding exercise" each week as they feel it may pose a danger to their health. Of the 77 per cent who do exercise, only 16 per cent do so at least once a week.
Walking was ranked as the most popular exercise in the report, followed by running and cycling.
Of those who exercise, one in six regularly attends an exercise class and a third play a sport as a member of a local team. When asked about the reasons why they keep themselves fit and healthy, 27 per cent said the main benefit was to safeguard themselves from future illness.
One in five exercise mainly to keep themselves looking their best, and 12 per cent like the feeling of strength it gives them. One in 10 said their exercise helps them to deal with an existing illness or condition, and a third have used some form of exercise to help in their recovery from a previous illness.
We're always banging our drum here at I Want A Standing Desk about the crazy habit of over sitting and how something as simple as standing at your desk for a percentage of your day has amazing long term health benefits.
Back and neck pain are at a five-year high in Britain, with sedentary lifestyles believed to be to blame. More than two in five people now suffer back and neck pain, which affects 12 per cent more of us than a year ago. The British Chiropractic Association says 70 per cent of people experience back and neck pain before they are 30.
The increase across the country is put down to office work, more time spent hunching over smartphones and tablets and staying still for too long without moving. Catherine Quinn, president of the British Chiropractic Association, said: 'Our bodies are designed to move, so back and neck pain can emerge when you stay in one position for long periods of time. These days we are using technology more and more throughout the day, accompanied by long periods of sitting in one, often uncomfortable position - glued to our smartphone or tablet, messaging friends or scrolling through social media."
Of course the workplace makes a serious contribution to this problem. Being able to alternate between sitting and standing with a standing desk has so many health benefits, including a healthy spine.
Just two weeks of a couch potato lifestyle increases the risk of serious disease, research from Liverpool has suggested.Experts found that 14 days of sitting around reduces muscle mass, increases body fat and raises the potential for high cholesterol.
Taking 10,000 steps a day - widely regarded as a target for maintaining good health - should be something people strive for, they said.
The team, from the University of Liverpool, followed a group of 28 healthy people of a normal weight with an average age of 25.
Participants usually took 10,000 steps per day or more but did not have more than two hours of structured exercise - such as going to the gym or playing sport - per week. For 14 days, people wore a speical armband, which lets researchers track levels of physical activity, steps, sleep and lifestyle.
The group also had health checks on things such as fat, muscle mass and physical fitness at the start and the end of the study. For the research, people were told to reduce their activity levels by more than 80% to around 1,500 steps per day.
They were also told to eat their normal meals and keep a food diary. Over the course of the study, exercise levels dropped from a daily average of 161 minutes to 36 minutes.
At the same time, the amount of time spent sedentary - such as sitting down - increased by an average of 129 minutes.
The results showed significant changes to the body, including loss of muscle mass (average loss 0.36kg) and increases in total body fat, with central body fat going up by around 1%.
There was also an increase in liver fat and an increase in bad cholesterol markers. Overall, cardio-respiratory fitness levels also declined.
Dr Dan Cuthbertson said any physical activity - even walking - is better than being sedentary.
He said: "This doesn't need to be structured exercise - it could be things like getting off the bus a stop earlier or walking to the shops instead of driving.
"If you think of a typical mum at home who is always busy and on the go but doesn't go the gym regularly, there are still significant health benefits in what she's doing."
And that's where we step in. When you use a standing desk you're very rarely still. It's called "micro moving" and this over a working week/year has a significant impact.
Have you read the University of Chester UK report on how standing just 3 hours a day over a working year burns more calories than running 10 marathons?