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 5, Issue 5 - September/October 2013

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16th October 2013
Commissioning Obesity Interventions in the new Public Health Era, Newcastle

18th October 2013,
Diabetes, Obesity and You, London

22nd October 2013
Getting the information you need; the role of Open Access in health and wellbeing, Dublin

26th -27th October 2013
Metabolically Healthy and Unhealthy Obese, Dominican Republic

7th - 8th November 2013
AICR Research Conference on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer, Maryland
11th - 16th November 2013 
Obesity Week 2013 - Where Science and Treatment Week, Atlanta
13th - 15th November 2013
The European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG) 23rd Congress, Liverpool

19th November 2013
All-island Obesity Action Forum, Dublin

21st November 2013
British Heart Foundation: Understanding and changing physical activity behaviour, Berkshire, UK

2nd - 6th December 2013 
World Diabetes Congress, Melbourne
9th - 10th December 2013
9th UKSBM Annual Scientific Meeting, Oxford

17th - 19th December 2013
ISECN 2013, Newcastle Upon Tyne

17-20th March 2014
12th International Congress on Obesity, Malaysia

31st March - 1st April 2014
Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference. A shared approach: assessment, prevention and treatment, Gold Coast

Follow this link to view a calendar of forthcoming events

Obesity in the News 

Children and exercise - the inactivity time bomb – BBC News

Children need more exercise - especially girls, study says – BBC News

Children of obese mothers 'have higher heart risk' – BBC News

Britain's child obesity epidemic revealed as doctors treat babies as young as 10-MONTHS for being overweight -The Mail

Children spend too long at screens and not long enough outdoors – The Guardian

Chest Heart and Stroke bids to tackle child obesity- BBC News

Healthy eating messages 'should start at nursery' – BBC News

Childhood obesity: how schools encourage healthy eating – BBC News

6% of 3-year-olds obese -  Irish Health

Pregnant Irish women more likely to be obese, smokers and have induced labours – Irish Examiner.

One in five councils allocates no money to tackling child obesity – The Telegraph

Fighting the fat in middle-age is not fruitless – BBC News

Do diet drinks make you fat? – The Conversation

Smoothies and fruit juices are a new risk to health, US scientists warn- The Guardian

Fruit juices to carry a health warning under government regulationsThe Metro

Irish Heart Foundation calls on people to reduce fat intake - The Independent

Home cooking in decline as low-income households turn to ready meals – The Guardian

Baby food from shops half as nutritious as homemade meals, study finds – The Guardian

Bad habits and bad food are killing us – The Guardian

Burger King debuts lower fat fries in US after health group lobbying – ABC News

Sugar intake must come down, says WHO – but UK likely to resist The Guardian

Should sugar be regulated like dangerous drugs? – BBC News

New US estimates link obesity to 18% of deaths – NHS choices

Exercise 'can be as good as pills'
- BBC news

World first walking and cycling legislation passed in Wales -

UNC scientists identify brain circuitry that triggers overeating – UNC Newsroom

RCPI convenes policy group on obesity-Irish Medical Times

Government warned over fat-tax fallout - Irish Times Health

Calorie counting in the Dail - Irish Health

Bacteria from slim people could help treat obesity, study finds – The Guardian

'Sleep - key to tackling obesity' – 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 this edition of All-island Obesity News. I am delighted to announce that the Forum’s next workshop will take place in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin on Tuesday the 19th November 2013. The workshop will focus on the eating out sector, highlighting what is available to individuals and families when they choose to eat outside the home and initiatives to help guide healthier choices. The workshop will also see the launch of a safefood - commissioned research report based on family eating out experiences which has been conducted across the island of Ireland. The workshop will be hosted by the All-island Obesity Action Forum, supported by safefood.

This edition is once again packed full with news, events, research updates and training opportunities and as usual, the first section contains information directly submitted by forum members including a spotlight piece outlining how one in four cases of CHD or stroke could be prevented each year from the Health Resource Board. 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

Martin Higgins,
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  

HRB Spotlight piece

One in four deaths from coronary heart disease (CHD) or stroke could be prevented each year, according to new evidence from the Health Research Board Centre for Diet and Health. UCC’s Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, Ivan Perry, who is Head of the HRB Centre for Diet and Health says that 'there are significant opportunities for government and industry to address this mortality by introducing effective, evidence based food policies such as making fruit and vegetables more affordable and working with the food industry to reduce salt in processed foods. The aim of this study was to estimate the potential reduction in CHD and stroke deaths achievable by specific and achievable decreases in consumption of salt, trans fat and saturated fat intake and increases in consumption of fruit and vegetables in the Irish Population. We looked at two scenarios using the validated IMPACT food policy model. One we termed conservative scenario and the other a substantial, but politically feasible option.'
  • 395 deaths could be prevented each year on the conservative scenario of reducing salt intake by 1gm per day, reducing trans fat by 0.5% of energy intake and saturated fat by 1% of energy intake, as well as consuming one additional portion of fruit or vegetables a day.
  • 1070 deaths from CHD and stroke (or one in four of current such deaths) could be prevented each year on the substantial, but politically feasible scenario of reducing salt intake by 3gm per day, reducing trans fat by 1% of energy intake and saturated fat by 3% of energy intake, as well as three additional portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
The work of the HRB Centre for Diet and Health is coordinated by the Principal Investigator, Professor Ivan Perry, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College Cork. The Centre involves co-Principal Investigators from UCC, University College Dublin, the Institute of Public Health in Ireland, Teagasc, and University of Ulster. The group are actively engaged in collaborative research activities relating to health and diet, in particular the prevention and management of obesity and diabetes. A paper looking at the DASH diet score and distribution of blood pressure in middle-aged men and women has just been published by some of the group and can be accessed here.

Forum Member Updates

  • Safefood
Let’s take on childhood obesity, one small step at a time. This 3 year, multi-media campaign by safefood in partnership with the Choose to Live Better Campaign (NI) and Healthy Ireland Framework (ROI) aims to communicate practical solutions that parents can take on in order to tackle the everyday habits that are associated with excess weight in childhood.  The campaign will also maintain awareness among parents of the health challenges posed by excess weight in childhood, the negative impact this can have on the quality of life, and the importance of tackling this for the long-term.
Comprising television, radio and poster advertising and supported by online resources including testimonial videos and a consumer help booklet, the campaign was informed by extensive feedback from multiple consumer focus groups. This showed that parents were aware of the issue, concerned about their current choices, and open to practical strategies, solutions and information on how to bring about changes. safefood invite members to share the campaign through their social media channels. A widget is available to share on forum member websites from

A recent Fruit and Vegetable review published by Safefood collates and considers the available academic, regulatory and public health information on health and food safety implications of fruit and vegetables. Results revealed that while 75% of consumers are now able to identify that they should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, only 36% say they are doing so. The average intake of fruit and vegetables is currently at 2.4 portions a day. Key barriers identified by consumers include cost, shelf life, preparation time and habit.
Full report and infographics available for download:

Consumer Focused Review of Fruit and Vegetables (PDF, 2MB)
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  • DHSSP and DE Northern Ireland
The Healthy Food for Healthy Outcomes – Food in Schools Policy document was recently released.  It is an overarching policy advocating a ‘whole school approach’ to all food provided and consumed in schools whilst developing pupils’ knowledge and skills in relation to healthy eating and lifestyles. From the 24th September, schools must adopt a ‘whole-school’ approach to the provision of food to pupils and the teaching of healthy eating in class. The policy document and a summary for parents and pupils are available at:
  • Irish Heart Foundation (IHF)
The Irish Heart Foundation has called for a 20% tax increase on sugar sweetened drinks in the forthcoming Budget, along with action to remove “nonsensical” VAT anomalies enabling the sale of unhealthy foods ranging from chocolate spread to jam doughnuts at a reduced or zero rate. Although they have no nutritional value, sugary drinks are a key driver of Ireland’s obesity epidemic. A 20% tax would have a big health impact as well as generating up to €60 million in extra revenue which should be used to fund subsidies for healthy food and drinks.
  • Health Service Executive (HSE)
The HSE participated in and gave country report sign off to the WHO Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI): Europe. This report should be available in the coming weeks. Launch of the Irish COSI three round (2008, 2010, 2012) comparative report are being finalised.

A multi-disciplinary meeting Childhood Growth Monitoring: Moving from Surveillance to Screening was held to commence preparations for the introduction of school growth monitoring and screening of 5-6 yr olds in 4 pilot sites (1 per HSE  Area - 2 urban+ 2 rural sites). This will be undertaken during the school health check for sight and hearing. A hub and spoke approach to address the treatment and prevention of clinical obesity is planned to support the introduction of growth monitoring in schools.

The 3yr National Childhood Obesity Campaign booklet designed to assist parents /guardians in implementing the 6 key messages of the campaign nears final sign off after a number of focus testing consultations with key Healthcare  Professionals. The paper targeted at health professionals to assist parents/guardians in discussing body weight with their children is also at final draft stage, having undergone the same consultation process.   

HSE Procurement have commenced qualifying the market prior to the planned introduction of a national contract in line with the Draft HSE Healthy Vending Policy awaiting imminent sign off by the Senior Management Team.
  • The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH)
Approaches to addressing overweight and obesity was one of the key themes at the IPH Open Conference.  The 2nd Public Health Open Conference was held on Tuesday, 8 October 2013 in Croke Park, Dublin. The programme was suggested and developed by participants; through online registration and ‘approaches to addressing overweight and obesity’ was one of the key themes.  All presentations and recordings from the day are now available to view.

New data theme will help improve factors that play a role in obesity amongst adolescents in local communities.  A new theme Adolescence and Early Adulthood containing data about adolescents aged 13-19 years has been created on the Community Profiles Tool on the Health Well website. This theme includes some obesity related indicators such as transport to school, child poverty levels, and early school leavers.  For more information, please contact Lorraine Fahy at or telephone +353 (01) 478 6305.

Update the details of your interventions on the Physical Activity and Nutrition Interventions (PANI) Tool.  The PANI Tool aims to promote awareness of physical activity and nutrition activities taking place across Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain, and IPH is currently updating the Tool.  If you currently have an intervention on the PANI Tool you can expect to hear from us shortly to update these details.  If you would like to include your intervention on PANI Tool, just complete our questionnaire.  For more information, please contact Fiona O’Shea at or telephone +353 (01) 478 6316.
  • Nutrition and Health Foundation (NHF)
The 6th annual Nutrition and Health Foundation Seminar entitled ‘’Obesity and Behaviour Change’’ was held on the 12th September 2013. Speakers from a wide range of disciplines and expertise presented at the seminar and raised important issues surrounding the obesity epidemic. Robin Schepper, the first Executive Director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign was the key note speaker at the event. Her presentation focused on the need for individual behaviour and environmental changes emphasising that it is hard to make the healthy choice if this option is not available. Her key suggestions for Ireland’s obesity problem were to reframe the problem as not just a health issue but an economic issue, have idols from all walks of life making the public aware of the issue and having a multi stakeholder approach to work together and measure return on investment. Speakers presentations from the day can be accessed on the NHF website.
  • Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland (FSANI)
FSA in NI and Safefood are making their final changes to their Early School Leavers Resource.   The aim is to develop course materials for young people who find themselves out of mainstream education at an early age, which can be used towards an accredited qualification in nutrition, food hygiene and cooking skills.  Once the final amendments are made, the resource will be piloted across various organisations supporting these young people.
Front of Pack Labelling: The FSA held four separate one day workshops with EHOs in Northern Ireland on the mandatory and voluntary labelling requirements in EU Regulation No. 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers.. Mandatory requirements covered all aspects on the Regulation including allergens. The journey through consultation and stakeholder engagement to achieve the revised UK voluntary Front of Pack nutrition labelling scheme was presented. The revised guidance was developed by the Food Standards Agency, Department of Health and devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in collaboration with the British Retail Consortium and supports the compliance with the UK Ministers, Recommendation on the use of colour coding.

  • Irish Society for Chartered Physiotherapists
World Physiotherapy Day is a global event held every year on the 8th of September to mark the date of the foundation of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy. Each year, under the general theme of ‘Movement for Health’, a new campaign message is introduced. This year, the message was ‘Fit for the Future’, highlighting that keeping fit is an investment for the future, no matter how young or old you are. Chartered Physiotherapists across the country organised a series of free exercise classes on or around the 8th of September to mark World Physiotherapy Day.  These classes ranged from Pilates classes to Bone Health classes and took place in private practice, hospital and community settings. World Physiotherapy Day this year was a great success, thanks to all who took part. We are planning to grow the event year on year and would be delighted to hear ideas from you the members on how we can do this. Please email with any suggestions.
  • ASOI
ASOI Chair will participate in the 23rd Annual Congress of the European Childhood Obesity Group. This meeting will be held in Liverpool 13-15th 2013. The 2013 Congress will be opened by a joint session between ECOG and the UK Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO).  This year’s congress aims to bring together around 200 childhood obesity experts and young scientists from across Europe.  The key topics of the congress will be the following:
  • Public health and public health policies: designing a healthy environment
  • Psychology in the spotlight and its role in prevention and treatment
  • Learning to eat: critical periods in development
  • Novel ideas and new developments
For further details see 

August 2013: Cost-effectiveness of a primary care intervention to treat obesity. A within-trial cost-effectiveness analysis of a primary care-based obesity intervention was conducted. Intervention costs were estimated from tracking data obtained prospectively. Read abstract in the International Journal of Obesity.

August 2013: Obesity levels in a national cohort of women 9 months after delivery. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between maternal obesity that is calculated 9 months after delivery and sociodemographic variables in Ireland. Read the
abstract in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

7.08.13: Family-based behavioural intervention program for obese children: an observational study of child and parent lifestyle interpretations. An observational study of 26 children (8.3-12.0 years) and their parents participating in a 2-year FBIP (Family-based behavioural intervention programs). Read the full article on PLOS.

10.08.13: Effect of BMI and Binge Eating on Food Reward and Energy Intake: Further Evidence for a Binge Eating Subtype of Obesity. This study examined the influence of trait binge eating in lean and overweight or obese women on appetite, food reward and energy intake. Read the full article in Karger.

13.08.13: Maternal obesity during pregnancy and premature mortality from cardiovascular event in adult offspring: follow-up of 1 323 275 person years. The objective of this study was to determine whether maternal obesity during pregnancy is associated with increased mortality from cardiovascular events in adult offspring. Read full text in the British Medical Journal.

16.08.13: Is he a healthy weight? Exposure to obesity changes perception of the weight status of others. As exposure to obesity increases, perceptions of what is a 'normal' weight are likely to change. Across three experiments the visual judgements of over 350 participants, when exposed to photographs of either obese or healthy weight young males was examined. Read abstract in the International Journal of Obesity.

19.08.13: A health literate approach to the prevention of childhood overweight and obesity. To describe a systematic assessment of patient educational materials for the Growing Right Onto Wellness (GROW) trial, a childhood obesity prevention study targeting a low health literate population. Read the abstract in Pubmed.

19.08.13: Bisphenol A and Chronic Disease Risk Factors in US Children. The NHANES 2003–2010 database was used to evaluate cross-sectional associations between urinary BPA and multiple measures of adiposity, cholesterol, insulin, and glucose for children aged 6 to 18 years, adjusting for relevant covariates (eg, demographics, urine creatinine, tobacco exposure, and soda consumption). Read the full article in the Journal of Paediatrics.

26.08.13: Associations between obesogenic risk factors and depression among adolescents: a systematic review. The aim of the current systematic review was to identify and evaluate the empirical literature reporting the relationships between obesogenic risk factors (physical activity, sedentary behaviour, diet and weight status) and depression in adolescents. Read the abstract in Pubmed.

27.08.13: Social class variation in the predictors of rapid growth in infancy and obesity at age three years. This longitudinal and prospective birth cohort study aimed to examine the extent to which early child nutrition, maternal antenatal lifestyle behaviours and child diet and lifestyle explain social class inequalities in the risk of rapid weight gain between birth and 3 years and obesity at age 3 years. Read the abstract in PubMed.

28.08.13: Richness of human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers. An international consortium, examined the intestinal flora of 169 obese Danes and 123 non-obese Danes. The scientists found that the group with lower species richness in the intestinal flora was more susceptible to developing obesity-related conditions and chronic inflammation. Read the abstract in Nature.

28.08.13: Lifetime adiposity and risk of pancreatic cancer in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study cohort. The association of excess body weight across a lifetime with pancreatic cancer has not been examined extensively. This study determined the association for body mass index (BMI) at different ages and adiposity duration and gain with incident pancreatic adenocarcinoma in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study cohort. There was an average follow-up of 10.5 years. Read the abstract in Pubmed.

30.08.13: Low Inflammation May Explain Healthy Metabolic Status in Some Obese People. Researchers analyzed data from 2,040 participants in the Cork and Kerry Diabetes and Heart Disease Study (Phase II), and found that metabolically healthy people – both obese and non-obese – had lower levels of a range of inflammatory markers. Read the report in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

31.08.13: Parenting styles, feeding styles, and their influence on child obesogenic behaviors and body weight: A review. With recommendations to include parents as targets for childhood obesity interventions, there is a need to review the relationship of general parenting influences on childhood obesity. Read the abstract in Pubmed.

September 13: The longitudinal association between weight change and health-related quality of life: the KORA S4/F4 cohort study. Despite the increasing importance of patient-centered perspectives, the impact of weight change on the health-related quality of life (HRQL) has remained unclear. This work investigated this longitudinal relationship. Read the abstract in the International Journal of Public Health.

September 13: Exploring the complex pathways among specific types of technology, self-reported sleep duration and body mass index in UK adolescents. This study aimed to examine the independent associations between sleep duration, four technology types (computer use, mobile telephones, TV viewing and video gaming) and body mass index (BMI) z-score. Read the abstract in the International Journal of Obesity.

September 13: The associations of anxiety and depression symptoms with weight change and incident obesity: The HUNT Study. To investigate the associations of anxiety and depression symptoms with weight change and incident obesity in men and women using the Norwegian Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT). Read the abstract in the International Journal of Obesity.

September 13: Examination of the relationship between obesity and suicidal ideation. The relationship between obesity and suicidal ideation and behaviour (suicidality) is not well understood, this current study aimed to further examine this relationship and try to determine the potential mechanisms of this relationship.  Read the abstract in the International Journal of Obesity.

September 13: Slowing down of adult body mass index trend increases in England: a latent class analysis of cross-sectional surveys (1992-2010). This research addresses the hypothesis that the slowing down of BMI trend increases in England reflects a majority sub-population resistant to further BMI elevation. Read the abstract in Pubmed.

September 13: Relation of adiposity, television and screen time in offspring to their parents. Few studies have examined the relations of adiposity and lifestyle factors in young offspring with their parents as children (parentschild) or at their current age (parentsadult). This research compared measures of adiposity and lifestyle in parentschild and parentsadult with their offspring. Read the abstract in Pubmed.

02.09.13: The Relationship Between Job Enrichment and Abdominal Obesity: A Longitudinal Field Study of Apparently Healthy Individuals. There is a paucity of research about how job context affects obesity. To enhance knowledge this research studied a large, heterogeneous sample of apparently healthy employees (n = 1,949) across two time periods with an average of close to 3.5 years between measures.. Read the
abstract in Pubmed.

03.09.2013: Fibroblast growth factor 21 may help fight obesity and reduce cholesterol. Research has previously shown that giving obese rodents a recently identified circulating protein called fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) helps improve their metabolism. This study reveals that a variant of FGF21 has similar effects in obese people with type 2 diabetes. FGF21 has the ability to favourably affect body weight and to partially normalize abnormal lipid levels in patients with diabetes. Read the abstract in ScienceDirect.

03.09.13: Mobile apps for paediatric obesity prevention and treatment, healthy eating, and physical activity promotion: just fun and games? The content of apps for iPhone/iPad for paediatric weight loss, healthy eating (HE), and physical activity (PA) were analysed in this study. Read the abstract in Springer.

05.09.13: Examining a Ripple Effect: Do Spouses' Behaviour Changes Predict Each Other's Weight Loss? An assessment of whether spouses' diet and activity changes impacted each other's weight loss when both members attended an active weight loss program (TOGETHER) or only the primary participant attended treatment (ALONE). Read the abstract in the Journal of Obesity.

09.09.2013: Healthy Habits, Happy Homes :  Randomized Trial to Improve Household Routines for Obesity Prevention Among Preschool-Aged Children. Results suggest that promoting household routines, particularly increasing sleep duration and reducing TV viewing, may be an effective approach to reduce body mass index among low-income, racial/ethnic minority children. Read the abstract in JAMA paediatrics.

12.09.13: Framing the Consequences of Childhood Obesity to Increase Public Support for Obesity Prevention Policy. The effects of messages describing consequences of childhood obesity on public attitudes about obesity prevention policy were examined by collecting data from 2 nationally representative Internet-based surveys. Read the abstract in the American Journal of Public Health.

17.09.13: Binge eating leads to higher health risk in obese men than in obese women. This research found that after binge eating men were three times more likely than women to fit the criteria for metabolic syndrome. Read the abstract in General Hospital Psychiatry

18.09.13: Association between maternal body mass index during pregnancy, short-term morbidity, and increased health service costs: a population-based study. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of maternal body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) on clinical complications, inpatient admissions, and additional short-term costs to the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland. Read the abstract in the International of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

18.09.13: Improving the management of obesity in adults: a pilot of a method to identify important barriers to change and tailor interventions to address them. This study investigated the tailoring undertaken by two implementation groups as part of a study to improve adherence to NICE guidelines on adult obesity in primary care. Read more in Pubmed.

18.09.13: Predicting adult obesity from measures in earlier life. This study constructed a two-way, multifactor risk assessment framework for predicting adult obesity during childhood using the Foresight Obesity System Map and tested it against longitudinal data from the 1958 National Child Development Study. Read the abstract in Pubmed.

18.09.13: Prolonged obesity can damage nerves in stomach which regulate food consumption. Research conducted at the University of Adelaide has found that the nerves in the stomach which detect and inform the brain how full it is can become damaged as people gain and sustain weight. They found that even after people lost weight the nerves were unable to revert back to normal. Read the abstract in the International Journal of Obesity.

18.09.13: When overweight is the normal weight: an examination of obesity using a social media internet database. Postings to an online forum in which posters asked whether their height and weight qualify themselves as "skinny," "thin," "fat," or "obese" over time and across forum topics were explored. The data was used to develop a better understanding between the effects of a higher than average BMI on mental health. Read the full text on PLOS ONE.

20.09.13:  Family structure and childhood obesity: results of the IDEFICS Project. The aim of this study was to analyse the association between family structure and adiposity in children. Read the abstract in the Cambridge Journals.

21.09.13: The obesity-asthma link in different ages and the role of Body Mass Index in its investigation: findings from the Genesis and Healthy Growth Studies. An investigation in the association of adiposity with asthma in children of different ages, using several indices to assess fat mass
. Read the abstract in Wiley Online Library.

23.09.13: The impact of obesity-related SNP on appetite and energy intake. The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between specific SNP and appetite responses and energy intake in overweight men. Read the abstract in the British Journal of Nutrition.

23.09.13: Exploring the basis for parents' negative reactions to being informed that their child is overweight. This study looks at the qualitative responses of all parents receiving letters informing them that their child was overweight (91st-98th centile) or very overweight (98th-100th centile) through the UK National Child Measurement Programme in 2012. Read the abstract in the Cambridge Journals.

23.09.13: Childhood overweight/obesity and paediatric asthma: the role of parental perception of child weight status. The relation between parental perceptions of child weight status, observed body mass index (BMI) percentiles, and a measure of child feeding practices were explored in the context of asthma, food allergy, or both. Read the abstract in Nutrients.

23.09.13: Weight management interventions in adults with intellectual disabilities and obesity: a systematic review of the evidence. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of weight management interventions in adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) and obesity using recommendations from current clinical guidelines for the first line management of obesity in adults. Read the full text in the Nutrition Journal.

25.09.13: Age-period-cohort analysis for trends in body mass index in Ireland. This study applied partial least squares (PLS) methodology to estimate the separate effects of age, period and cohort on the trends in obesity as measured by body mass index (BMI). Read the full text in BMC Public Health. 

25.09.13: The Worldwide Association between Television Viewing and Obesity in Children and Adolescents: Cross Sectional Study. The aim of this study was to examine the association between television viewing habits and Body Mass Index (BMI) in adolescents and children in a multicentre worldwide sample. Read the full text on PLOS One.

October 13: Using electronic health records to address overweight and obesity: a systematic review. This review sought to summarize current evidence on the use of Electronic Health Records for assessment and management of overweight and obesity. Read the abstract in PubMed.

October 13: Systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between childhood overweight and obesity and primary school diet and physical activity policies. The objective of this systematic review was to evaluate the effects of policies related to diet and physical activity in schools, either alone, or as part of an intervention programme on the weight status of children aged 4 to 11 years. Read the full text in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity.

02.10.13: Birth weight, rapid weight gain in infancy and markers of overweight and obesity in childhood. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between birth weight and rapid weight gain in infancy and markers of overweight/obesity in childhood, using different cut off values for rapid weight gain. Read the abstract in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

03.10.13: A population-based study of overweight and obesity in expectant parents: socio-demographic patterns and within-couple associations. This study aimed to explore the prevalence and socio-demographic patterns of overweight and obesity in Swedish expectant parents, and to assess within-couple associations. Read the abstract in the BMC Public Health

Back Up

Nutrition Research

19.08.13: Lessons from the feeding infants and toddlers study in North America: what children eat, and implications for obesity prevention. The latest exhaustive survey of dietary patterns in infants from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) in North America documents and quantifies current trends in infant feeding. Read the abstract in Pubmed.

24.08.13: Nutrient Intake in Infancy and Body Mass Index at Six Years in Two Population-Based Cohorts Recruited before and after Revision of Infant Dietary Recommendations. The aim of this study was to compare the nutrient intake in infancy and the body mass index (BMI) at age 6 years in two population-based cohorts recruited before and after the revision of infant dietary recommendations. Read the abstract in Pubmed.

31.08.13: The non-advertising effects of screen-based sedentary activities on acute eating behaviours in children, adolescents, and young adults: a systematic review. This review was conducted to systematically synthesise the evidence from laboratory based studies which have investigated the non-advertising effects of screen time (TV viewing, sedentary video games, and computer use) on dietary intake in children, adolescents, and young adults. Read the abstract in Pubmed.

September 13: Experience and acceptability of diets of varying protein content and glycemic index in an obese cohort: results from the Diogenes trial. This study aimed to investigate acceptability and tolerability of diets of different protein and glycaemic index (GI) content aimed at weight maintenance following a phase of rapid weight loss, as part of a large pan-European dietary intervention trial. Read the abstract in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

September 13: Beverages contribute extra calories to meals and daily energy intake in overweight and obese women. Beverages contributed to total energy intake in a near-additive fashion among free-living overweight and obese women, suggesting a need to develop more effective interventions to reduce caloric beverage intake in the context of weight management, and to potentially re-examine dietary guidelines. Read the abstract in Pubmed.

05.09.2013: Acute sleep deprivation increases food purchasing in men. Independent of both type of food offered and price condition, sleep-deprived men purchased significantly more calories (+9%) and grams (+18%) of food than they did after one night of sleep (both P < 0.05). Morning plasma ghrelin concentrations were also higher after TSD (P < 0.05). However, this increase did not correlate with the effects of TSD on food purchasing. Read the article in Obesity.

12.09.13: Taxing Junk Food to Counter Obesity. Advantages and disadvantages of implementing a junk food tax as an intervention to counter increasing obesity in North America was examined. Read the abstract on American Journal of Public Health.

13.09.13: Milk cereal drink increases BMI risk at 12 and 18 months, but formula does not. Infant feeding affects growth, obesity and life-long health. This study examined the impact of dietary patterns on body mass index (BMI) at 12 and 18 months. Read the abstract in Acta Paediatrica.

25.09.13: Public Views on Food Addiction and Obesity: Implications for Policy and Treatment. This study examined the public's acceptance of the concept of food addiction as an explanation of overeating and assessed its effects upon their attitudes toward obese persons and the treatment of obesity. Read the
full text on PLOS One.

October 13: Public say food regulatory policies to improve health in Western Australia are important: population survey results. The aim of this study was to investigate the level of support among Western Australian adults for food control policies to improve diet, reduce obesity and protect the environment. Read the
abstract on PubMed

04.10.13: Consumption of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages by 2-year-olds: findings from a population-based survey. The objective of this research was to determine risk factors for consumption of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) among 2-year-old children by analysing three linked data sets. Read the abstract in Public Health Nutrition.

04.10.13: Harnessing the power of advertising to prevent childhood obesity. A large-scale multi-setting child obesity prevention program was implemented in the Hunter New England (HNE) region of New South Wales (NSW), Australia from 2005--2010. Read the abstract in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity.
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Physical Activity Research 

August 13: Effects of exercise alone on insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in obese youth. The role of regular exercise alone (e.g., no calorie restriction) as a strategy to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes is unclear in obese children and adolescents. In this mini review, the authors examined the independent effects of various exercise on glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in obese youth. Read the full article in the PMC.

August 13: Comparison between the effects of continuous and intermittent aerobic exercise on weight loss and body fat percentage in overweight and obese women: a randomized controlled trial. The objective of this study was to compare the effect of two different aerobic exercises (intermittent and continuous exercises) while prescribed with concurrent calorie-restrict diet on the weight loss and body fat of overweight and obese females. Read the abstract in PubMed

August 13: How active are our children? Findings from the Millennium Cohort Study. This research aimed to describe levels of physical activity, sedentary time and adherence to Chief Medical Officers (CMO) physical activity guidelines among primary school-aged children across the UK using objective accelerometer-based measurements. Read the full text in the British Medical Journal.

26.08.13: Privileging physical activity over healthy eating: 'Time' to Choose? Both physical activity and healthy eating are assumed to go hand-in-hand, but whether one dominates the other has largely remained unexamined. This study consisted of 47 family interviews to tease out whether one was valued over the other. Read the abstract in PubMed.

19.08.13: 'Is it Worth it?' A Qualitative Study of the Beliefs of Overweight and Obese Physically Active Children. This qualitative study explores the experiences of overweight and obese children and young people who have successfully increased their activity levels. Read the abstract on Pubmed.

September 13: Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity and Weight Outcomes: Does Every Minute Count? The purpose of this study was to test if moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in less than the recommended ≥10-minute bouts related to weight outcomes. Read the abstract in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

September 13: Effects of exercise during the holiday season on changes in body weight, body composition and blood pressure. Identifying critical periods of greater weight gain could provide useful information to combat the obesity epidemic. This study tested whether body weight (BW), body fat percentage (BF%) and blood pressure (BP) changed during the holiday season (thanksgiving to new year’s day) and the impact of regular exercise on these parameters. Read the abstract in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

September 13: The effect of physical exercise strategies on weight loss in postpartum women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. This systematic review evaluates the effectiveness of lifestyle modification control trials that utilize exercise interventions, with or without dietary intervention, on weight loss among postpartum women. Read the abstract in Pubmed.

12.09.13: Physical Activity and Screen-Media-Related Parenting Practices Have Different Associations with Children's Objectively Measured Physical Activity. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of PA and screen-media-related [television (TV) and videogame] parenting practices with children's PA by forming an intervention of 9-12 year olds. Read the
abstract at Liebert Open Access.

02.10.13: Associations between sports participation, adiposity and obesity-related health behaviours in Australian adolescents. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between organized sports participation, weight status, physical activity, screen time, and important food habits in a large nationally representative sample of Australian adolescents. Read the abstract in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Research.

03.10.13: Predictors of weight loss after an intensive lifestyle intervention program in obese patients: a 1-year prospective cohort study. The aim of this prospective cohort study was to identify predictors of weight loss after a 1-year partly residential intensive lifestyle intervention program (ILI). Read the full text in Health and Quality of Life Outcomes.

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Resources and Publications

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

Supporting research and evaluation in the Community and Voluntary Sector workshop,  slides and audio now available.  This workshop was held on the 5th September in the Farset International, Belfast and was co-hosted by the Institute of Public Health (IPH), Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and Community Evaluation Northern Ireland (CENI).  The workshop provided an opportunity to discuss the role of the Community and Voluntary Sector, and begin planning for the support it needs to participate in research and evaluation in Northern Ireland.  

Healthy Ireland - A Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013 – 2025. Healthy Ireland, a new government framework for action to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in Ireland. It has been developed in response to rising levels of chronic illness, lifestyle trends that threaten health and persistent health inequalities. Read full text online. 

Walkability Workshop – slides and audio now available on the Health Well.  Walkability of urban communities was the focus of the recent joint workshop from IPH, HRB Centre for Health and Diet Research (UCC) and the Centre of Excellence for Public Health (NI). The workshop looked to explore how recent research in the North and South of Ireland can support national policy and local government planning to increase the walkability of our towns and cities. To access slides and audio from the event on the Health Well, click here.

Best practice guidance for weight management services. This document provides guidance which can be used by local authorities when commissioning tier 2 lifestyle weight management services. It provides explanatory notes for developing a service specification, and includes two best practice example specifications - one for adults and one for children. Read the full report from the Department of Health. 

Public Health Information System (PHIS2013) Tables. The latest version of PHIS2013 produced by the Department of Health in the Republic of Ireland is now available on the Health Well website. The tables include data up to 2011 for a number of health-related themes including cancer, mortality and hospital admissions. PHIS data is an invaluable resource for the measurement of population health, for target-setting and evaluation and for evidence-based service planning and policy formulation at both national and regional levels. Click here to access PHIS2013 tables on the Health Well. 

NICE Guidance - Physical activity: brief advice for adults in primary care. This guidance aims to support routine provision of brief advice on physical activity in primary care practice. 

NICE Guidance: Obesity – Working with local communities. This guidance aims to support effective, sustainable and community-wide action to prevent obesity. It sets out how local communities, with support from local organisations and networks, can achieve this.

NICE Guidance: Walking and Cycling – local measures to promote walking and cycling as forms of travel or recreation. This 
guidance sets out how people can be encouraged to increase the amount they walk or cycle for travel or recreation purposes. This will help meet public health and other goals (for instance, to reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions).

Obesity and disability – adults.  This paper examines the evidence linking obesity and disability in adults.  It looks in detail at the most prevalent disabling conditions in the UK as reported by the Department for Work and Pensions: arthritis, back pain, mental health disorders and learning disabilities. It also discusses:
•        the two-way relationship between obesity and disability in adults
•        issues around obesity, disability and inequalities
•        the implications for health and social care
•        analysis of Health Survey for England data on obesity and long-term limiting illness or disability

Health Impact of Physical Inactivity (HIPI) Tool (UK). HIPI has been developed to estimate how many cases of certain diseases could be prevented in each local authority in England, if the population aged 40-79 were to engage in recommended amounts of physical activity.  HIPI uses estimates of local levels of physical activity from the Sport England Active People survey. It models the potential benefit from increased levels of physical activity for each local authority. 

New European Commission initiative to promote health-enhancing physical activity. One key element of the proposal is a monitoring framework which should help Member States to trace developments and identify trends regarding their national efforts to promote sport and physical activity. By acting together with the Member States the Commission aims at reducing the significant costs caused by the lack of physical activity in Europe.

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

All-island Obesity Action Forum Members

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

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