Friday Five

Obesity, internet and porridge – this week’s Friday Five

Has Leeds cracked the obesity problem?

Figures presented to the European Congress on Obesity suggest Leeds has managed to reduce the number of children who are extremely overweight. The data showed there had been a 6.4% fall in obesity rates over recent years.

This impressive result has been achieved through the implementation of an obesity strategy aimed at pre-school children.

Staff who work with pre-school children, including children’s centres workers and health visitors, were trained to promote healthy eating. And parenting classes encouraged healthy snacking, eating as a family and the importance of cooking nutritious meals from scratch. The council has taken other steps too. There has been a big focus on getting children active through dance, while there has been an active local campaign to encourage families to reduce their sugar intake.

Read more on BBC.

All NHS hospitals and GP practices to be equipped with fibre optic internet

40% of NHS organisations are currently using slow and unreliable internet supplied through copper lines.  As part of the Long Term Plan all NHS hospitals, GP practices and community care services are to be equipped with full fibre optic internet.  At the moment many GPs and hospitals have internet which operates little better than dial up. The impact of the improved connectivity will mean more than 307 million patient consultations with GPs each year will be offered online as well as face to face in the future.  Fast internet will mean the future NHS will include virtual outpatient clinics via video consultations and cloud based systems will mean patient records can be accessed anywhere in the country.

Read more on the NHE.

Porridge could save your life

Not only will skipping breakfast possibly increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease but those that skip the most important meal of the day are also more likely to be obese and have high cholesterol.

The article published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology looked at 6,550 adults aged 65-75 and the impact of skipping breakfast on their health. Breakfast bounders had a 59% increased risk of developing heart disease and more than triple the risk of having a stroke.

Read more in Independent. 

Contaminated blood scandal

This week saw victims of the contaminated blood scandal give evidence at a full public inquiry which started this week. Inquiry chairman Sir Brian Langstaff praised the bravery of those giving evidence. More than 2,000 people – mostly haemophiliacs – are thought to have died after being infected with HIV and hepatitis C through blood treatments. One of the first to give evidence was Derek Martindale, who has haemophilia and said he was devastated when he was told he had only a year to live after being diagnosed with HIV. His brother Richard, who also had haemophilia, died in 1990. He said his greatest regret was not being able to support his brother in the months before he died.

Read more from the BBC.


Quote of the week

Our quote of the week comes from Health Minister Nicola Blackwood who this week, unveiled a roll-out of the NHS ‘accelerated access’ scheme. It is designed to select the most promising new drugs, tests and medical devices at an early stage and steer them through NHS red tape. The accelerated access scheme aims to reduce by four years the time it takes for drugs to get to British patients, from the current 17 years from patent.

“I want the NHS to be at the forefront of cutting-edge treatments and medical innovations – but often it can take too long for products to get from the bench to the bedside.”

Read more from the HSJ.