Participation in exercise programme improves BMI of US school children

School children in the US, (n= 707) who participated in an short-term  exercise programme experienced  improvements in  their body mass index (BMI) scores,  significantly different than the comparison group. This group also had higher odds of being in a lower BMI category at follow-up; significantly different than the comparison group.

running-2837486_1920The 12-week initiative ran for an hour three times a week.  Each session started with a warm-up, followed by a running activity, and incorporated a skills-based approach to teach a new skill each week. During the cool- down session there was discussion on nutrition for pupils.

By the end of the the programme the child participants had better body mass index scores, than the non- participants in the control group.  There was also an additional benefit for those children who participated three times a week as their focus on schoolwork improved, and those who attended two sessions a week also had notable improvements in their mood and energy levels.

The full story can be read at Science Daily 

The journal article is published online and is available here 

Full reference: Whooten, R. C. et al. |Effects of Before-School Physical Activity on Obesity Prevention and Wellness | American Journal of Preventative Medicine | 2018|  doi:  10.1016/j.amepre.2018.01.017

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Police and Public Health Collaboration

Guidance in documents from Public Health England support the national consensus statement, ‘Policing, Health and Social Care: working together to protect and prevent harm to vulnerable people’. 

These papers showcase good practice between police and health colleagues within case studies,  identifies obstacles to collaboration and enablers.

cooperate-2924261_1920.pngThey have been developed to stimulate discussion and and to contribute to the evidence base that will help to shape future work programmes. They are intended as an information source for the wider public health system.

Further details can be found at Public Health England 

Both documents are available to download from Public Health below:

Improving work health for a healthy economy

New initiative launched to support small businesses in improving work health

Illness among working age people costs the UK economy £100 billion a year. About 330,000 every year become unemployed because of health-related issues.

However, workplace health and wellbeing programmes such as exercise, healthy eating and stop smoking support have been shown to make a real difference. Successful programmes such as these have been found to return £2 to £10 for every £1 spent, benefiting staff wellbeing and economic productivity.

Most big employers already have some plans in place that help to improve and protect their staff’s health but many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) do not currently benefit from such programmes.

PHE and Healthy Working Futures, a workplace health provider, has set out advice for SMEs, which account for 60% of private sector employment.

PHE has also created a series of guidance for employers on important issues, such as musculoskeletal (MSK) and mental health, impacting on employees with Business in the Community. Further advice is being developed covering issues including:

  • physical activity
  • diet and weight
  • drugs
  • alcohol
  • tobacco

Full press release at Public Health England

Better mental health: JSNA toolkit

This toolkit links mental health data, policy and knowledge to help planners understand needs within the local population and assess local services.

The guide accompanies the Mental Health and Wellbeing JSNA fingertips profile.

It includes short, bite-sized sections which help people to develop a picture of mental health needs in a local area. The guide begins with sections on understanding place and understanding people. These focus on understanding risk, wellbeing, prevention and community resilience in the local population.

Later sections cover the mental health care pathway, following a life course approach. These include the perinatal period, children and young people, working age adults and older people.

Each section follows a similar structure:

  • introduction to the topic
  • list of potential questions a JSNA may attempt to answer
  • overview of some relevant policy and guidance
  • list of available national data sources
  • ideas for sources of local data
  • links to relevant evidence and further information

Documents can be accessed via Public Health England

Improving the public’s mental health

Public Health England has published two resources looking at mental health promotion and prevention of mental ill-health

Stocktake of local mental health prevention planning arrangements is a high level summary of how local areas are currently incorporating mental health prevention in their planning processes.

The stocktake was undertaken by the Kings Fund on commission from Public Health England. The findings are based on analysis of key planning documents in 35 local areas. This included a random sample of 16 areas across England and 19 areas selected as possible examples of transferable effective practice.

Prevention concordat for better mental health: planning resource

This resource has been developed to help local areas put in place effective arrangements to promote good mental health and prevent mental health problems. It does so by offering a 5-part framework of focus for effective planning for better mental health.

It also highlights a range of actions and interventions that local areas can take to improve mental health and tailor their approach. This includes illustration through practice examples and links to further supporting resources. There is also a resource infographic available to download.

Tobacco Control Playbook

World Health Organization

Tobacco Control
Source: World Health Organization

The Tobacco Control Playbook has been developed by collecting numerous evidence-based arguments from different thematic areas, reflecting the challenges that tobacco control leaders have faced while implementing various articles of the WHO FCTC and highlighting arguments they have developed in order to counter and succeed against the tobacco industry.This is the start of what is intended to be a living document, which will be updated and extended with further arguments and on the basis of feedback, as well as any developments in tobacco industry approaches. Everyone concerned with tobacco control is invited to contribute to its success by continuing to offer arguments and responses, and sharing their experiences through a dedicated website.

Fresh thinking about the evidence needed for a healthier UK

The Health Foundation is working with Dr Harry Rutter from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to develop a new model of evidence that will inform public health research, policy and practice. 

barley-872000_1920

As part of this work Dr Rutter and co-authors from the Health Foundation have published a new Viewpoint paper – The need for a complex systems model of evidence for public health – in The Lancet, which outlines the need for new approaches to designing and evaluating population-level interventions to improve health.

Key points

  • We are faced with many big health challenges in our society. Their complex nature is an ongoing problem for public health research and policy.
  • Such challenges often involve multiple factors operating over many decades in systems that adapt as changes occur. For example, the distribution of obesity in a population might be impacted by changes to food, employment, transport or economic systems.
  • The traditional linear model of research is not suited to tackling these challenges. This is because it focuses largely on changes in individuals, not the population as a whole, and because it tends to look at isolated interventions rather than the contexts in which they take place.
  • There is growing recognition that we need a new evidence model that looks at public health problems, and our potential responses, in terms of a complex systems approach.

Full reference: Rutter, H. et al.  The need for a complex systems model of evidence for public health The Lancet, 13 June 2017

Related: Building a new system for the generation and use of public health evidence