All-island Obesity News is brought to you by safefood, the HRB Centre for Health and Diet Research, the Centre for Excellence in Public Health Northern Ireland and the Institute of Public Health in Ireland.

All-island Obesity News
Volume 6, Issue 6-November/December 2014          

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3rd February 2015
Tackling obesity, reducing sugar consumption, and next steps for the responsibility deal - London, UK

22nd-25th March 2015
Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome: Mitochondria and Energy Expenditure - Canada

14th-16th April
The 2015 Obesity Summit - London, UK

6th-9th May
ECO 2015, 22nd European Congress on Obesity - Czech Republic

25th-26th May
ICO 2015: 13th International Conference on Obesity - London, UK

3rd June
All Island Obesity Action Forum Workshop - Belfast

9th-10th June
Scope summer school - London, UK

2nd-3rd July
8th World Congress on Diabetes & Obesity - Riga, Latvia

Follow this link to view a calendar of forthcoming events

Obesity in the News 

Mediterranean diet is best way to tackle obesity, say doctors- BBC News

Have the Danes cracked childhood obesity? – BBC News

Do people who take weight loss pills eat unhealthily? – NHS Choices

Obese Britons don’t think they have a weight problem, report finds – The Guardian

Diabetes and obesity linked to number of nearby fast-food outlets, study finds – The Guardian

Some children’s juice drinks have more sugar than Coke – The Guardian

Why working nightshifts is an obesity risk – BBC News

Obesity 'costing same as smoking' – BBC News

Report links obesity to advanced prostate cancer – NHS Choices

'Food environment' needs changing, doctors argue – NHS Choices

Fifth of millennium babies 'obese' by age of 11 – BBC News

NICE: Weight loss ops 'good for obesity-linked diabetes' – BBC News

UK 'among worst' for cancer linked to obesity – NHS Choices

Food for thought: new FDA rules will put calorie counts on menus – The Guardian

Obese lose up to eight years of life – BBC News

Why late night dining may encourage weight gain- BBC News


Forum Members 

Association for the Study of Obesity on the island of Ireland

British Dietetic Association Northern Ireland

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Northern Ireland

Department of Education Northern Ireland

Department of Education and Skills, ROI

Department of Health, ROI

Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

Diabetes Federation of Ireland

Diabetes UK, Northern Ireland

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland

HRB Centre for Health and Diet Research

Health Service Executive

Institute of Public Health in Ireland

Irish Cancer Society

Irish Heart Foundation

Irish Medical Organisation

Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute

Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

Irish Sports Council

Northern Ireland, Chest Heart and Stroke Association

Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association

Northern Ireland Local Governement Association

Nutrition and Health Foundation

Office of Local Authority Management

Public Health Agency


Sport Northern Ireland

University of Ulster

Waterford Institute of Technology

Useful Links 

The Health Well

Obesity Hub

Chronic Conditions Prevalence Tool

The Physical Activity and Nutrition Intervention Tool

Community Profiles

European Childhood Obesity Group

NICE Guidance

National Obesity Observatory

Obesity Learning Centre

Newsletter Archive


Dear Colleagues,                                                                                  

Welcome to the latest edition of All-island Obesity News. 

Presentations from the most recent All-island Obesity Action Forum workshop are now available on the event page This event focused on the marketing of foods and drinks to children on the island of Ireland and explored their understanding of these messages.The marketing strategies of food and drinks sponsors at the Olympic and Commonwealth games were also discussed while our keynote speaker Dr Joao Breda from the World Health Organisation focused on childhood obesity in the EU, future plans for EU initiatives and the relevance of this to social marketing. The event was a great success with plenty of learning and discussion. The next workshop will be held on the 3rd June 2015 in Belfast.

I would encourage you to circulate All-island Obesity News among your colleagues and to share your work via this publication by submitting any relevant news items to Laura Keaver at

This is the last edition of our newsletter in the current format. We will be launching a shorter monthly newsletter in January. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. 

Ray Dolan,
Chief Executive, safefood and Chair, All-island Obesity Action Forum
Minutes of Forum meetings, events and further details about the Forum can be accessed on the
 All-island Obesity Action Forum webpage

What's in this issue? 

If you would like to subscribe to or include any information in this bi-monthly e-bulletin please email us at

New Website for the HRB Centre for Health and Diet Research 

The HRB Centre for Health and Diet Research is a leading research hub in Public Health Nutrition which focuses on promoting the health and wellbeing of the Irish population.  Established in 2008, the purpose of the Centre is to inform public policy, health promotion, clinical practice and the citizen. The work of the Centre is coordinated by the Principal Investigator, Professor Ivan Perry, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College Cork and also involves co-Principal Investigators from University College Cork, University College Dublin, the Institute of Public Health in Ireland, Teagasc, and University of Ulster. The long term goal of the centre is to develop a cohesive and sustainable National Centre for Health and Diet research linking with national and international centres of excellence and supporting policy and practice in Health.

Following the completion of a very successful Phase One work programme, the Centre is now beginning Phase Two and is launching an updated project website to coincide with this exiting time.
The new web-site will provide an effective platform to transfer and disseminate knowledge and create awareness of the Centre’s work. This includes all the latest publications and reports, projects and research and the most up-to-date news of the Centre’s achievements and awards.  The web-site will also provide information on all up-coming events locally and globally which are focused in the area of Health and Diet research ensuring the most relevant international research is available to users.

Forum Member Updates

  • Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH)
Active Travel was a key obesity-related theme at this year’s IPH Open Conference 
The 3rd Public Health Open Conference took place on Tuesday, 14th October in Titanic, Belfast.  Active travel was one of the key themes at the Open Conference, and of topical interest given the recent launch of the Belfast Active Travel Plan.  Presentations of particular interest to the active travel theme included the following:  

1.    Promoting Sustainable Active Transport 
Elaine Mullan, Waterford Institution of Technology - Slides

2.    Will Slowing down Traffic in Built-Up Areas Speed up Public Health?
Teresa Keating, Institute of Public Health in Ireland - Slides

3.    Public Bicycles: a New Form of Urban Mobility Shaped by and Shaping the City
Damien O'Tuama, Trinity College Dublin - Slides

To access all Presentations and materials from the event, click here

IPH welcomes the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety Northern Ireland (DHSSPSNI) as the latest partner website on the Health Well
The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland (DHSSPSNI) is the latest partner to join The Health Well.  It is the Department's mission to improve the health and social well-being of the people of Northern Ireland.  All resources and publications by the DHSSPSNI are now searchable on The Health Well, including the latest two year progress report on Northern Ireland’s obesity prevention strategy ‘A Fitter Future for All 2012-2022'. We look forward to collaborating more closely with the DHSSPSNI in future.

To view more information on the DHSSPSNI and search their resources, click here  
  • HRB Centre for Diet and Health Research
Cautious optimism as Irish childhood obesity rates plateau
The Department of Epidemiology and Public Health recently published a systematic review in
BMC Public Health. The review found that although childhood obesity rates remain high in Ireland, there is evidence that they have stabilised and may be beginning to fall. While these findings give some ground for optimism, the current plateau is at an unacceptably high level. In a subsequent guest blog, Dr. Janas Harrington and Ms. Eimear Keane tell us more about their findings. 

November 2014: Effect of an Occupation-Focused Family Intervention on Change in Parents' Time Use and Children's Body Mass Index. This study explored factors related to changes in the time parents spent with their children with obesity and associated decreases in children's body mass index z-scores after an occupation-focused intervention. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

09.11.14: The home environment and childhood obesity in low-income households: indirect effects via sleep duration and screen time. With the aim of informing interventions, this study examined pathways through which the physical and social home environment may promote childhood overweight/obesity in low-income households. Read the full text on BMC Public Health.

10.11.14: Tracking of body size from birth to 7 years of age and factors associated with maintenance of a high body size from birth to 7 years of age - the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort study (MoBa). This study concludes that from a public health perspective, early prevention of childhood overweight and obesity seems to be especially important among children of parents having a high BMI. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

11.11.14: Global Trend in Overweight and Obesity and Its Association with Cardiovascular Disease Incidence. Results from this report state that approximately half or more than half of the population are overweight/obese defined as body mass index ≥25 kg/m2in the Americas (61.1%), Europe (54.8%), and Eastern Mediterranean (46.0%) according to the World Health Organization, while a much lower prevalence is observed in Africa (26.9%), South-East Asia (13.7%), and the Western Pacific (25.4%). Read the full text on circulation journal.

11.11.14: Benefits of adding small financial incentives or optional group meetings to a web-based statewide obesity initiative. The objective of this study was to examine whether adding either small, variable financial incentives or optional group sessions improves weight losses in a community-based, internet behavioural program. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

11.11.14: Prenatal exposure to antibiotics, cesarean section and risk of childhood obesity. This study concluded that in the cohort cesarean section  and exposure to antibiotics in the second or third trimester were associated with higher offspring risk of childhood obesity. Read the abstract on International journal of Obesity.

12.11.14: Higher weight in adolescence and young adulthood is associated with an earlier age at multiple sclerosis onset. The objective of this paper is to investigate whether weight or body mass index (BMI) in adolescence and young adulthood was associated with age at MS symptom onset. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

12.11.14: A Longitudinal Cohort Study of Body Mass Index and Childhood Exposure to Secondhand Tobacco Smoke and Air Pollution: The Southern California Children's Health Study. This study explores the joint BMI effects of air pollution and tobacco smoke exposure. Read the Read the full text on Environmental Health Perspectives.

13.11.14: Short sleep duration and childhood obesity: cross-sectional analysis in Peru and patterns in four developing countries. This study aimed to describe the patterns of nutritional status and sleep duration in children from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam; to assess the association between short sleep duration and overweight and obesity, and if this was similar among boys and girls in Peru. Read the full text on Plos One.

13.11.14: Do weight perceptions among obese adults in Great Britain match clinical definitions? Analysis of cross-sectional surveys from 2007 and 2012. The objective was to assess the proportion of the adult obese population in Great Britain who would describe their weight using the terms 'obese' and 'very overweight' in 2007 and 2012, and identify factors associated with more accurate weight perceptions. Read the full text on BMJ Open.

14.11.14: Ready, set, go! Motivation and lifestyle habits in parents of children referred for obesity management. This study aimed to characterize stages of engagement to change nutrition and physical activity habits among parents whose children with obesity were enrolled in obesity management and examine differences in parents' own nutrition and physical activity habits according to their stage of engagement. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

17.11.14: Anthropometric characteristics of primary school-aged children: accuracy of perception and differences by gender, age and BMI. The main aim of this study was to investigate body weight and body height perception in children by gender, age and body mass index (BMI), taking into account differences among underweight, healthy weight, overweight and obese children. Read the abstract on Pubmed

20.11.14: Health in overweight children: 2-year follow-up of Finnmark Activity School-a randomised trial. The objective of this study was to compare a comprehensive lifestyle intervention for overweight children performed in groups of families with a conventional single-family treatment. Read the full text on BMJ.

21.11.14: Occupational variations in obesity, smoking, heavy drinking, and non-adherence to physical activity recommendations: Findings from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey. This study examined the recent prevalence of obesity, heavy alcohol consumption, smoking, and leisure time physical activity across occupations. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

25.11.14: Calorie Restriction in Overweight Seniors: Response of Older Adults to a Dieting Study: The CROSSROADS Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. This study was designed to evaluate whether the benefits of intentional weight loss exceed the potential risks in a group of community-dwelling obese older adults who were at increased risk for cardiometabolic disease. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

25.11.14: Repeated measures of body mass index and C-reactive protein in relation to all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease: results from the consortium on health and ageing network of cohorts in Europe and the United States (CHANCES). Using four cohorts from CHANCES which had repeated measures in participants 50 years and older, multivariate time-dependent Cox proportional hazards was used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95 % confidence intervals (CI) to examine the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and CRP with all-cause mortality and CVD. Read the abstract on pubmed.

25.11.14: Risk factors of overweight and obesity among preschool children with different ethnic background. This study evaluated the risk factors associated with overweight and obesity in 2,640 preschool children in Italy taking into account the ethnic background of the parents. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

29.11.14: Health care costs attributable to overweight calculated in a standardized way for three European countries. This article presents a tool to calculate health care costs attributable to overweight in a comparable and standardized way. The purpose is to describe the methodological principles of the tool and to put it into use by calculating and comparing the costs attributable to overweight for The Netherlands, Germany and Czech Republic. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

Back Up

Nutrition Research

12.11.14: Maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy and risk of obesity in offspring: a prospective cohort study. This study examines the impact of in-utero exposure to high caffeine on the risk of childhood obesity in offspring. Read the full text on International Journal of Obesity.

14.11.14: Portion size and obesity. Based on the results of this research this report concludes that further research is urgently needed to establish what types of interventions targeted at portion size are likely to be effective, in what settings, and among which target groups. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

14.11.14: Sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened beverages in relation to obesity risk. The goal of this review was to critically evaluate the scientific evidence in humans on the potential effect of sweetened beverages on weight gain and risk of obesity in youth and adults. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

14.11.14: Food prices and obesity: a review. This review examines the link between food or beverage price changes and energy intake or weight outcomes among U.S. consumers. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

17.11.14: Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis. To evaluate quantitatively the effect of ketogenic diets on subjective appetite ratings, this study conducted a systematic literature search and meta-analysis of studies that assessed appetite with visual analogue scales before (in energy balance) and during (while in ketosis) adherence to very-low-energy diets or ketogenic low-carbohydrate diets. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

17.11.14: Dietary energy density: estimates, trends and dietary determinants for a nationally representative sample of the Irish population (aged 5-90 years). The aims of the present study were to calculate dietary energy density estimates for the Irish population and to identify dietary determinants of dietary energy density. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

21.11.14: Food addiction and its impact on weight-based stigma and the treatment of obese individuals in the USA and Australia. This study concluded that despite significant support for a "food addiction" explanation of obesity, participants still valued personal responsibility in overcoming obesity and did not support coercive approaches to treat their "addiction". Read the full text on Nutrients.

December 2014: Consumers believe nutrition facts labelling for added sugar will be more helpful than confusing. The objective of this study was to assess consumer beliefs regarding the usefulness of information about added sugars proposed for addition to the Nutrition Facts panel on U.S. food labelling. Read the abstract on Pubmed.
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Physical Activity Research 

11.11.14: Exercise for Obese Youth: Refocusing attention from weight loss to health gains. This study uses Exercise is Medicine® as a framework, to present a conceptual model for the beneficial effects of exercise independent of weight loss in obese youth and highlight novel biomarkers of cardiometabolic health that could prove useful as interventional targets for this population. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

13.11.14: Effectiveness of a Physical Activity and Weight Loss Intervention for Middle-Aged Women: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Hearts Randomized Trial. This study hypothesized that an interventionist-led (IL), primary-care-based physical activity  and weight loss intervention would increase PA levels and decrease weight to a greater degree than a self-guided program. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

18.11.14: Exercise interventions for weight management during pregnancy and up to 1year postpartum among normal weight, overweight and obese women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The objective of this report was to review the evidence from studies employing exercise-only interventions for weight management among pregnant and postpartum women. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

19.11.14: Longitudinal Association Between Physical Activity and Body Fat During Adolescence: A Systematic Review. The review includes 18 longitudinal studies found in PubMed database, comprising papers published from January 1990 to July 2014 in order to conduct a systematic review on the association of physical activity and body fat in adolescence. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

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Resources and Publications

NICE guidelines on the treatment and management of obesity. This guidance offers evidence-based advice on the care and treatment of Obesity. New recommendations have been added about low-calorie and very-low-calorie diets, bariatric surgery and follow-up care

Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety - Health Survey Northern Ireland 2013/14. The Health Survey Northern Ireland is conducted annually and covers a wide range of health topics. The 2013/14 survey included questions relating to general health, longstanding illness, diet and nutrition, food security, smoking, alcohol, obesity, physical activity, child health, mental health and well-being, and sexual health.

Early Years - the organisation for young children, is offering families the chance to take part in a free programme, known locally as the Family Health Initiative.  This programme helps support families with children aged 0-5 (Prevention Programme) and children aged 8-11 (Management Programme) to become healthier and get more active together. For further information or to view gallery visit the Early Years website

Little Steps, Little Steps is a step-by-step guide to eating well and being active for families. Designed to help support and empower parents and guardians as role models for children, the resource aims to show that by adopting small changes, to food habits and physical activity can have a big impact over time and lead to a healthier future. 

Weigh2Live, The Weigh2Live resource focuses on free, independent advice for losing weight (and keeping it off) in a healthy and sustained way. Users can monitor their progress by using the weight and goal tracker, and food and activity diaries; this information is stored in a secure environment and can be updated on a regular basis. The resource also offers practical advice on healthy eating whether at home or when eating out, tips on food shopping, understanding food portions, and healthy recipes. 

Obesity Learning Centre (OLC) – The OLC is a website for anyone who works to fight obesity. The OLC has updates on the latest news and resources, including a series of case studies of local obesity initiatives. Visit the site to sign up to receive the latest weekly obesity and other public health news through our eNews Briefing, and a quarterly update of new case studies and resources from the OLC. The OLC is also accepting submissions of new case studies, so if you have an example of a local obesity initiative that you’d like to share, get in touch by emailing
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All-island Obesity Action Forum Members

Full details of members can be found on the Forum page of the safefood website

Copyright © 2014 safefood, the HRB Centre for Health and Diet Research, the Centre of Excellence in Public Health and the Institute of Public Health in Ireland, All rights reserved.

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