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 2- March/April 2014

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7th May 2014
ASOI Stigma and Bias in Obesity, Belfast

28th-31st May 2014
European Congress on Obesity, Bulgaria

17th June 2014
Pregnancy and Obesity, Belfast

16th &17th September 2014
Association for the Study of Obesity Open Conference, Birmingham

27th-28th October 2014
Integrating primary and private care into obesity management, London

1st-3rd December 2014
Obesity and weight management, San Francisco

Follow this link to view a calendar of forthcoming events

Obesity in the News 

Obese 11-year-old girls 'get lower school grades' – NHS choices

Children's diets contain 'too much salt' – NHS choices

Childhood obesity: access to specialists called for – BBC news

Hundreds join University of Birmingham obesity trial – BBC news

Obese pregnant women 'cost NHS up to 37% more' – BBC news

Miscarriage risk “reduced by lifestyle changes” – BBC news

Boris bikes “good for health of users”, study says – BBC news 

Five exercises for the 30% who never exercise – BBC news

Flu risk “cut by vigorous exercise” – BBC news

Cases of diabetes increase to more than 3.2m – BBC news

Easy access to takeaways 'increases obesity risk' – NHS choices

Takeaway clampdowns 'may combat obesity epidemic' – BBC news

Ban TV junk food ads until 21:00, says campaigners - BBC news

Should people with ‘fat genes’ avoid fried food? – NHS choices

Saturated fat advice ‘unclear’ – BBC news

Saturated fats and heart disease link ‘unproven’ – NHS choices

Overweight seen as the norm, says chief medical officer- BBC news

Global cancer surge fuelled by alcohol, smoking and obesity predicted by WHO – The Guardian

Can big food firms get us to eat more health? – BBC News

Could a DNA test predict obesity risk in children? – NHS choices

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 Stormont Hotel, Belfast on Tuesday the 17th June. It will focus on maternal obesity and more specifically current interventions on the island of Ireland as well as a midwifery insight into the current challenges from a practical perspective. The workshop will be hosted by the All-island Obesity Action Forum, supported by safefood, the Health Service Executive and the Public Health Agency. Keynote speakers include Professor Michael Turner Director of the National Programme for Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Professor Fionnuala McAuliffe Head of Women’s and Children’s health in University College Dublin.

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 from the Institute of Public Health.  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  

The role of obesity in workplace illness

Left to right: Dr Joanna Purdy (IPH), Dr Elizabeth Mitchell (IPH), Teresa Keating (IPH)

The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) recently presented evidence on health and wellbeing measures to reduce workplace sickness absence to the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Finance and Personnel (see photo above).  Excess body weight is associated with significant chronic disease which contributes to lost productivity and sickness absence from work.  The IPH  contributed to research commissioned by Safefood and carried out by the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in UCC on the Cost of overweight and obesity on the island of Ireland’Findings revealed some two-thirds of the estimated cost of obesity (€1.13 billion in the Republic of Ireland and €510 million in Northern Ireland) is related to absenteeism and lost productivity, with lower back pain being a major driver. 
Measures recommended by IPH to the NI Assembly Committee that may also ameliorate the health effects of overweight and obesity include, the promotion of physical activity and healthy eating in the workplace, and the facilitation of active travel.  For full details of the presentation, click here.   For more on the relationship between transport and health and the importance of active travel, view IPH reports and consultation responses here

Forum Member Updates

  • Health Service Executive
In March the Health Service Executive published “The Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) in the Republic of Ireland: Findings from 2008, 2010 and 2012”.  COSI monitors childhood obesity levels by measuring children in sample schools all over Europe. This 2012 data is the third set of results to be published to date, and involved a nationally representative sample of 7, 9 and 11 year old children from a mix of Irish urban, rural and disadvantaged (DEIS) schools.  The levels among 9 year olds have stabilised and have reduced among the 7 year olds. Critically, that reduction or leveling off is not happening in DEIS or disadvantaged schools, and this has implications for all Health and Public Service partners, particularly those working on implementation of the Healthy Ireland framework.
       - an Irish Presidency Success Story
The EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity was launched at the Greek EU Presidency conference on Nutrition and Physical Activity last month. This EU Action Plan arose directly out of the Irish Presidency informal meeting of EU Health Ministers held in Dublin in March 2013, where Minister Reilly chose childhood obesity as a major theme of the Irish Presidency.
This issue is important in the context of ‘Healthy Ireland’, the Government Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing, which seeks to proactively  improve the health and wellbeing of the Irish population, as tackling childhood obesity requires a whole of government and whole of society response that this framework can deliver.
Scientific evidence confirms that overweight and obesity in childhood tracks into adulthood, and that the earlier we intervene to prevent our children from becoming an unhealthy weight, the better their childhood and adult health, and quality and length of life, will be.  By identifying at an early stage children whose weight is out of line with their growth for their age, we can offer them and their parents the supports they need to get the balance right as they grow up.
Understanding this and the need for swift action, Minister Reilly placed the issue of childhood obesity very firmly on the EU health agenda and proposed that this issue be addressed in an EU-wide context.
Other European Ministers supported this proposal and the Ministers Reilly requested EU Commissioner Borg to mandate the EU High Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity to draw up an Action Plan to address childhood obesity.
Reflecting it’s urgency, the Commissioner agreed and set an ambitious time- frame of 1 year. Ireland led out on this initiative with the Commission and attached is the Action Plan was delivered within one year, making it a success story for the Irish Presidency.
The Action Plan will play a central role in the development of national plans to tackle childhood and obesity and in the implementation of the EU Strategy for Europe on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity-related Health issues.
The Action Plan focuses on 8 working areas, including operational objectives and concrete EU targets on the following themes:
Support a healthy start in life;
• Promote healthier environments, especially in schools and preschools;
• Make the healthy option the easier option;
• Restrict marketing and advertising to children;
• Inform and empower families;
• Encourage physical activity;
• Monitor and evaluate;
• Increase research.
The EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 2014-2020 was presented at the Greek Presidency Conference on Nutrition and Physical Activity last month by Ms Ursula O’ Dwyer, the Irish representative on the EU High Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity. The Greek Minister of Health welcomed the Action Plan on Childhood Obesity.

The Deputy Director General at the European Commission underlined the importance of ensuring rapid sharing of good practices in countering children obesity, in particular, in a period of crisis, so that we can build more effective responses.
Implementation of the Action Plan has now been included in the Council Conclusions from the Greek EU Presidency Nutrition and Physical Activity Conference.
EU Member States are encouraged to implement the Action Plan on Childhood Obesity and an interim review will be carried out in 2017.
The next step is an EU- wide Joint Action
to facilitate implementation of the Action Plan and this will commence in January 2015. Ireland has proposed leading out on a Work Package on ‘The cost of Childhood Obesity in Europe and forecasting the increase in the burden of disease arising from childhood obesity in the EU by 2020’.
This Joint Action Work Package will provide economic evidence to support urgent policy action for tackling childhood obesity across Europe. Health Promotion Policy has secured the assistance of the Institute of Public Health to lead out on this Work Package with the Department and support from the Centre for Diet and Health, National University of Ireland, Cork and safefood has also been agreed.
  • Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists
Workout at Work Day aims to promote physical and mental wellbeing in the work environment. The CSP is encouraging members to run an event on 6 June 2014 to help employees become more physically active in a variety of workplaces.

The day is also an opportunity to highlight to employers the business benefits of having a healthy and physically active workforce and it's a chance to remind people that overworking and poor posture could lead to musculoskeletal disorders and stress.

  • Association for the Study of Obesity in Ireland (ASOI)
The third annual ASOI conference will take place this May 7th, 2014 in the University of Ulster Belfast Campus, Belfast city centre. The conference will address the important issues of Stigma and Bias in Obesity. Speakers will include Prof. Andrew Hill, Dr. Judy Swift, Prof. Paulina Nowicka, Dr. Jean O’Connell and Dr. Eilis Hennessy. Please see for the conference programme and further details.

ASOI Abstract Call
ASOI cordially welcome submissions for abstracts for posters on any aspect of obesity for our conference on May 7th  
Abstracts for poster presentation are welcome from clinicians, practitioners, academics, researchers, and students working in all fields of obesity and who wish to share their learning. We accept both quantitative and qualitative research submissions covering all spectra of obesity under the categories of Basic and applied Sciences, Prevention, Treatment, Innovation, Policy. A prize will be awarded for the best poster. The deadline for the submission of abstracts is April 15th. For further details please click
  • Institute of Public Health in Ireland
Update of obesity-related indicators on the Community Profiles Tool
Community Profiles Tool can be used to develop local health profiles and also contains a selection of obesity related indicators.  You can:
  • Create your own publication-ready tables, maps and charts of obesity-related indicators
  • Bring together details of related materials from the Health Well website.
Recently added indicators to the Obesity theme include Local Authority expenditure on sports, recreation and leisure facilities in the Republic of Ireland as well as the percentage of the NI population that walked or cycled to work or place of study in 2011.  Click here to view the Obesity theme on the Community Profiles
Follow @ObesityHub on twitter to keep up to date with the very latest obesity-related news, reports, research and events taking place or visit our Spotlights page on the website.
  • Centre of Excellence for Public Health (NI)
Can people in Northern Ireland consume a Mediterranean diet to improve their vascular health?
Consuming a Mediterranean diet is proven to be an effective way to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Researchers at the Centre for Public Health in Queen’s University Belfast have been awarded funding by The Medical Research Council (National Prevention Research Initiative), to examine whether different ways of giving support has an impact on how much change people in NI can make to their diet towards a Mediterranean-style diet. 
This pilot randomised control trial, called TEAM-MED (Trial to Encourage Adoption and Maintenance of a MEditerranean Diet) is recruiting 75 high CVD risk adults from NI. The trial will evaluate the effect of the interventions on dietary change towards adopting a Mediterranean-style diet, body weight and other CVD/T2DM risk factors. Results for TEAM-MED are anticipated in 2015. 
  • Food Standards Agency (NI)
Update on salt programme of work
New revised UK wide 2017 salt reduction targets have been published, for 76 categories of foods. These set more challenging and wide-ranging targets than the previous targets for 2012.
The revised targets have been developed and agreed by the four UK administrations working closely with industry, NGOs and stakeholders. The 2017 targets recognise the progress that has already made by the food industry and aims to encourage further reduction. Salt levels in many foods covered by previous targets have reduced significantly, some by 40-50% or more, and more than 11 million kilograms of salt have been removed from foods. However, average UK salt consumption remains high at approximately 8.1g-8.8g /day so there is still considerable reduction required to meet the maximum daily intake of 6g for adults (children’s intakes should be lower).

FSA in NI has received the first set of Kantar Worldpanel food purchasing data for NI.  Some interesting headline results include:
  • Average NI household food and drink shop is £75 per week with 30% of grocery spend on promotion
  • 48% of soft drinks are bought on promotion, 36% alcohol is bought on promotion.  Compared with 14% vegetables bought on promotion or 9% starchy carbohydrates bought on promotion!
As part of IFEX Salon Culinaire in Belfast on Tuesday 11th March, Ruth Balmer, FSA in NI helped to judge the IFEX Caloriewise Award which was sponsored by FSA in NI.  This was an award for a nutritionally balanced main course not to exceed 600 calories.  The chefs had 45 minutes to prepare, cook and present two same plated portions of the meal.  Consideration was given to reduction in calorific content when devising the menu.  Cathy Adamson and Paul Vize both got silver awards with Cathy from Sodexo best in class and awarded the FSA in NI Caloriewise Cup. 

Eatright – resource for Early School Leavers
FSA in NI in partnership with safefood have developed a resource to support a healthy diet. This online resource,, was designed for trainers and teachers working with Early School Leavers (14-16-year olds, not in fulltime employment, education or training (NEET). The resource aims to meet the needs of early school leavers in a non-traditional learning environment using a blended learning approach to make learning fun. The resource will be launched in Northern Ireland on 29th April at a NEET Forum meeting.

Diploma in Nutrition and Health
FSA in NI Dietary Health Team continue to work jointly with PHA to coordinate and facilitate the delivery of the Royal Society for Public Health level 4 diploma in nutrition and health diploma.  In the past two years this training has been offered to teachers who are currently teaching the NI Home Economics (HE) syllabus but who have not trained as HE teachers and also to relevant tutors from the NI Regional Colleges. 15 teachers successfully completed the Award in this past year.  A Celebration event was held at Clotsworthy House, Antrim on 4th March where Certificates were presented by Glynis Henderson from CCEA

01.02.14: The influence of market deregulation on fast food consumption and body mass index: a cross-national time series analysis. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of fast food consumption on mean population body mass index (BMI) and explore the possible influence of market deregulation on fast food consumption and BMI. Read the full text on PubMed.

07.02.14: Validity of instruction leaflets for parents to measure their child's weight and height at home: results obtained from a randomised controlled trial.   The objective of the study was to compare the validity of parent-reported height, weight and body mass index (BMI) values of children (aged 4-10 years), when measured at home by means of newly developed instruction leaflets in comparison with simple estimated parental reports. Read the full text on BMJ Open.

08.02.14: Predictors of health-related behaviour change in parents of overweight children in England. The Objective of the study was to provide parents with information about their child's overweight status (feedback) could prompt them to make lifestyle changes for their children. Read the full text on ScienceDirect.

10.02.14: Chronic disease burden associated with overweight and obesity in Ireland: the effects of a small BMI reduction at population level. The aims of this paper were to examine the associations between BMI and chronic disease prevalence; to calculate Population Attributable Fractions (PAFs) associated with overweight and obesity; and to estimate the impact of a one unit reduction in BMI on the population prevalence of chronic disease. Read the full text on BMC Public Health.

10.02.14: Overeating phenotypes in overweight and obese children. The purpose of this study was to identify overeating phenotypes and their correlates in overweight and obese children. Read the abstract on ScienceDirect.

10.02.14: Local Food Prices and Their Associations With Children's Weight and Food Security. Both obesity and food insecurity are important public health problems facing young children in the United States. A lack of affordable, healthy foods is one of the neighbourhood factors presumed to underlie both food insecurity and obesity among children. Read the full text in Paediatrics.

11.02.14: Parent and child interactions with two contrasting anti-obesity advertising campaigns: a qualitative analysis. While social advertising has the potential to effectively communicate information about obesity, some argue that the current framing and delivery of these campaigns are ineffective, and may cause more harm than good. Read the abstract in BMC Public Health.

11.02.14: Patterns of Obesity Development before the Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes: The Whitehall II Cohort Study. Patients with type 2 diabetes vary greatly with respect to degree of obesity at time of diagnosis. To address the heterogeneity of type 2 diabetes, this study characterised patterns of change in body mass index (BMI) and other cardiometabolic risk factors before type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Read the full text on PLOS One.

12.02.14: Weight management in Canada: an environmental scan of health services for adults with obesity. The objectives of the study were to (a) survey and describe programs dedicated to weight management and (b) evaluate program adherence to established recommendations for care. Read the full text in BMC Health Services Research.

12.02.14: Health and happiness is more important than weight’: a qualitative investigation of the views of parents receiving written feedback on their child's weight as part of the National Child Measurement Programme. The present study aimed to explore parental perceptions of overweight children and associated health risks after receiving National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) weight feedback. Read the abstract in Wiley online library.

12.02.14: Motivational interviewing with parents of overweight children: Study design and methods for the NOURISH+MI study. The aim of this report is to provide the rationale and methods for a novel study of MI with parents in the treatment of their children's overweight. Read the abstract on ScienceDirect.

13.02.14: Association Between Alcohol Calorie Intake and Overweight and Obesity in English Adults. We investigated the contribution of alcohol-derived calories to the alcohol-obesity relation. Adult alcohol calorie intake was derived from consumption volume and drink type in the Health Survey for England 2006 (n = 8864). Read the abstract in the American Journal of Public Health.

13.02.14: Mitigating the Health Risks of Dining Out: The Need for Standardized Portion Sizes in Restaurants. This study describes the potential benefits and means of implementing a system of standardized portion sizes that might facilitate a healthier diet among the US population. Read the abstract in the American Journal of Public Health.

13.02.14: Important periods of weight development in childhood: a population-based longitudinal study. The purpose of the study was to explore early growth characteristics in children who become overweight or obese at the age of 8 years to identify important ages for the onset of overweight and obesity. Read the full text in BMC Public Health.

14.02.14: Factors associated with dropout in a group weight-loss programme: a longitudinal investigation. The present study aimed to conduct an extensive investigation of personal, sociodemographic and treatment-related factors associated with attrition at different stages of a 10-week group weight-loss programme. Read the abstract on Wiley Online Library.

15.02.14: Improving diet and physical activity to reduce population prevalence of overweight and obesity: An overview of current evidence. The aim of this study is to provide an overview of interventions to reduce or prevent overweight or obesity and improve diet or physical activity. Read the abstract in ScienceDirect.

18.02.14: A complex intervention to improve pregnancy outcome in obese women; the UPBEAT randomised controlled trial. The primary aim of this randomised controlled trial is to assess in obese pregnant women, whether a complex behavioural intervention, based on changing diet (to foods with a lower glycaemic index) and physical activity, will reduce the risk of gestational diabetes (GDM) and delivery of a large for gestational age (LGA) infant. Read the abstract in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth.

19.02.14: Mood and its association with metabolic health in adolescents: a longitudinal study, EarlyBird 65. The objective of the study was To explore the relationship between mood and metabolic health in adolescents. Read the abstract on PubMed.

March 2014: Health care costs associated with prolonged sitting and inactivity. The purpose of the study was to examine the health-related costs of prolonged sitting and inactivity in middle-aged women. Read the abstract in American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

07.03.14: Body mass index and risk of autoimmune diseases: a study within the Danish National Birth Cohort. This study investigated the associations between body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and 43 Ads as a possible aetiological link between obesity and certain autoimmune diseases (ADs) has been suggested. Read the abstract in International Journal of Epidemiology.

10.03.14: Dietary, lifestyle and socio-economic correlates of overweight, obesity and central adiposity in lebanese children and adolescents. This study aims at examining dietary, lifestyle, and socio-economic correlates of overweight, obesity, and abdominal adiposity amongst children and adolescents in Lebanon, a country of the Eastern Mediterranean basin. Read the abstract in nutritents.

11.03.14: Perceived barriers to exercise and healthy eating among women from disadvantaged neighborhoods: Results from a focus groups assessment. This study explored perceptions and experiences with barriers to exercise and healthy eating among women from predominately African American, disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Read the abstract in Women and Health.

13.03.14: Longitudinal Associations Between Poverty and Obesity From Birth Through Adolescence. This study examined the relationship between timing of poverty and risk of first-incidence obesity from ages 3 to 15.5 years. Read the abstract in the American Journal of Public Health.

13.03.14: Food addiction as a causal model of obesity. Effects on stigma, blame, and perceived psychopathology. The present study examined the impact of the food-addiction model of obesity on weight stigma directed at obese people. Read the abstract in ScienceDirect.

13.03.14: Association between Maternal Body Mass Index and Congenital Heart Defects in Offspring: A Systematic Review. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between maternal body mass index (BMI) and all congenital heart defects (CHDs) combined and 11 individual defects. Read the abstract in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

15.03.14: Hospital admissions in relation to body mass index in UK women: a prospective cohort study. This study aims to describe the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and rates of hospital admission in middle-aged UK women. Read the full text in BMC Medicine.

16.03.14: The effect of obesity prevention interventions according to socioeconomic position: a systematic review. This review aimed to identify interventions for obesity prevention that evaluated a change in adiposity according to socioeconomic position (SEP) and to determine the effectiveness of these interventions across different socioeconomic group. Read the abstract in Obesity Reviews.

16.03.14: Implementation of pregnancy weight management and obesity guidelines: a meta-synthesis of healthcare professionals' barriers and facilitators using the Theoretical Domains Framework. This systematic review aimed to identify the determinants of healthcare professionals' behaviours in relation to maternal obesity and weight management. Read the abstract in obesity reviews. 

17.03.14: Using maximum weight to redefine body mass index categories in studies of the mortality risks of obesity. The study examined mortality associated with excess weight using maximum BMI-a measure that is robust to confounding by illness-induced weight loss. Read the full text in Population Health Metrics.

17.03.14: High prevalence of prediabetes in a Swedish cohort of severely obese children. In this cohort of severely obese children and adolescents in Sweden the prevalence of impaired fasting glucose (IFG), impaired glucose tolerance, (IGT) and silent type 2 diabetes (T2D), in relation to insulin resistance, insulin secretion, disposition index and cardio respiratory fitness was investigated. Read the abstract in PubMed.

18.03.14: Economic evaluation of 'Healthy Beginnings' an early childhood intervention to prevent obesity. The objective was to determine the costs and cost-effectiveness of an early childhood home visiting program delivered to families in socio-economically disadvantaged areas of Sydney, Australia during 2007-2010. Read the abstract in Obesity.

18.03.14: Mindfulness-based interventions for obesity-related eating behaviours: a literature review. A literature review was conducted to determine the effectiveness of Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) for treating obesity-related eating behaviours, such as binge eating, emotional eating and external eating. Read the abstract in Obesity reviews.

18.03.14: Screen Exposure and Body Mass Index Status in 2- to 11-Year-Old Children. The objective was to measure the relationship between screen exposure and obesity in a large, urban sample of children and to examine whether the relationship is moderated by sociodemographics. Read the abstract in Clinical Paediatrics.

18.03.14: Prevalence of obesity in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: study protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis. The study describes the protocol of a systematic review and meta-analysis aimed at assessing the prevalence of obesity/overweight in individuals with ADHD versus those without ADHD. Read the full text in BMJ Open.

18.03.14: Effect of behavioural techniques and delivery mode on effectiveness of weight management: systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression. A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of behavioural weight management programmes and examine how programme characteristics affect mean weight loss. Read the abstract in obesity reviews.

19.03.14: Evaluation of a tailored intervention to improve management of overweight and obesity in primary care: study protocol of a cluster randomised controlled trial. This study investigates a tailored intervention to improve the implementation of these recommendations by primary care team. Read the abstract in Trials.

20.03.14: Restaurant owners' perspectives on a voluntary program to recognize restaurants for offering reduced-size portions, Los Angeles County, 2012. Reducing the portion size of food and beverages served at restaurants has emerged as a strategy for addressing the obesity epidemic; however, barriers and facilitators to achieving this goal are not well characterized. Read the full text on CDC.

24.03.14: Obesity and the risk of stillbirth: a population-based cohort study. The study attempted to further examine the relationship between obesity and stillbirth with a focus on delivery near and at term. Read the abstract on Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

24.03.14: Effect of a Child Care Centre-Based Obesity Prevention Program on Body Mass Index and Nutrition Practices Among Preschool-Aged Children. This study examined the effect of an early childhood obesity prevention program on changes in Body Mass Index (BMI) z-score and nutrition practices. Read the abstract on Health Promotion Practice.

24.03.14: Metabolically healthy obesity and risk of incident type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. The risk of type 2 diabetes among obese adults who are metabolically healthy has not been established. Prospective evidence does not indicate that healthy obesity is a harmless condition. Read the abstract on Obesity Reviews.

25.03.14: A community based prevention of weight gain intervention (Mothers In Motion) among young low-income overweight and obese mothers: design and rationale. This paper describes the study design and rationale of a community based intervention (Mothers In Motion, MIM) aimed to prevent weight gain among low-income overweight and obese mothers18-39 years old by promoting stress management, healthy eating, and physical activity. Read the full text on BMC Public Health.

26.03.14: Disordered Eating and Health-Related Quality of Life in Overweight and Obese Children. The objective of the study was to examine disordered eating and associations with health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in rural overweight/obese (OW/OB) children. Read the abstract in Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

26.03.14: The Association between Adiposity, Mental Well-Being, and Quality of Life in Extreme Obesity. The objective was to explore the cross-sectional association between adiposity, mental well-being, and quality of life in extreme obese individuals entering a UK specialist weight management service prior to treatment commencement. Read the full text on PLOS One.

27.03.14: Overweight in Adolescence Can Be Predicted at Age 6 Years: A CART Analysis in German Cohorts. Objective: To examine, whether overweight in adolescents can be predicted from the body mass index (BMI) category, at the age of 6, the mother's education level and mother's obesity and to quantify the proportion of overweight at the age of 14 that can be explained by these predictors. Read the full text on PLOS One.

27.03.14: Evidence of an Overweight/Obesity Transition among School-Aged Children and Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review. This systematic review aimed to investigate the evidence for an overweight/obesity transition occurring in school-aged children and youth in Sub Saharan Africa. Read the full text on PLOS One.

April 2014: School-wide programs aimed at obesity among latino youth in the United States: a review of the evidence. This was a systematic review of evidence-based, obesity-related interventions in the school setting as from 2003 to 2006, 43.0% of Mexican-American children were classified as overweight compared with 36.9% of non-Hispanic White. Read the abstract in the Journal of School Health.

April 2014: The impact of overweight and obesity on paediatric medical expenditures. The objective of this study was to examine whether methodological choices or temporal trends are driving differences in estimates of the association between weight and paediatric medical expenditures. Read the abstract in Springer Link.

April 2014: Mixed reality virtual pets to reduce childhood obesity. The research shows that a mixed reality system that is of interest to children can be a powerful motivator of healthy activity. Read the abstract in visualization and computer graphics.

April 2014: Mobile technology for obesity prevention: a randomized pilot study in racial- and ethnic-minority girls. The purpose of this study was to test a 12-week mobile technology intervention for use and estimate effect sizes for a fully powered trial. Read the abstract in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

April 2014: Fast-food restaurants, park access, and insulin resistance among Hispanic youth. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between aspects of the neighbourhood built environment and insulin resistance using accurate laboratory measures to account for fat distribution and adiposity. Read the abstract in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
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Nutrition Research

February 2014: The effect of energy and traffic light labeling on parent and child fast food selection: a randomized controlled trial. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of energy and single traffic light labeling systems on the energy content of child and adult intended food purchases. Read the abstract on PubMed.

18.02.14: Weight Status Moderates the Relationship between Package Size and Food Intake. This study examined whether weight and restraint status influence the relationship between package size and consumption as overweight/obese individuals and individuals practicing dietary restraint may be more responsive to external food cues regarding an amount of food to consume. Read the abstract on PubMed.

10.03.14: Nutrient content of school meals before and after implementation of nutrition recommendations in five school districts across two U.S. counties. The objective as to compare changes in nutrient levels of school meals before and after implementation of nutrition interventions at five school districts in two, large U.S. counties. Read the abstract on ScienceDirect.

12.03.14: Lower protein content in infant formula reduces BMI and obesity risk at school age: follow-up of a randomized trial. The objective of this study was to test whether the reduction of protein in infant formula reduces body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2) and the prevalence of obesity at 6 y of age. Read the abstract in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

12.03.14: General and abdominal fat outcomes in school-age children associated with infant breastfeeding patterns. This study examined associations of breastfeeding duration and exclusiveness and age at the introduction of solid foods with general and abdominal fat outcomes in children. Read the abstract in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

12.03.14: Association of Perception of Front-of-Pack Labels with Dietary, Lifestyle and Health Characteristics. The objective of this study was to identify patterns of perception of front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labels and determine dietary, lifestyle and health profiles related to such patterns. Read the full text on PLOS One.

13.03.14: Associations between exposure to takeaway food outlets, takeaway food consumption, and body weight in Cambridgeshire, UK: population based, cross sectional study. The objective of this study was to examine the association between environmental exposure to takeaway food outlets, takeaway food consumption, and body weight, while accounting for home, work place, and commuting route environments. Read the full text in BMJ.

17.03.14: Perceived and objective diet quality in US adults: a cross-sectional analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This study compared perceived diet quality (PDQ) and diet quality measured by a nutrient-based Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) index score in the USA. Read the abstract in Public Health Nutrition. 

19.03.14: A study of early complementary feeding determinants in the Republic of Ireland based on a cross-sectional analysis of the Growing Up in Ireland infant cohort. The aim of the present paper is to identify predictors of early complementary feeding in order to help health professionals target population groups in greater need of dietary intervention as well as to provide effective advice. Read the abstract in Public Health Nutrition.

19.03.14: Understanding and interpreting nutrition information on food labels. This article focuses on the role of food labelling in helping people to select appropriate and healthy foods, and to understand how their food choices might affect their overall nutrition and health. Read the abstract on PubMed.

19.03.14: Fried food consumption, genetic risk, and body mass index: gene-diet interaction analysis in three US cohort studies. This studies objective was to examine the interactions between genetic predisposition and consumption of fried food in relation to body mass index (BMI) and obesity. Read the full text in BMJ.

21.03.14: Dairy consumption and pre-school, school-age and adolescent obesity in developed countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The objective of the present systematic review and meta-analysis was to consider evidence of associations between dairy intake and adiposity in pre-schoolers, school-age children and adolescents in developed countries. Read the abstract on Obesity Reviews.

28.03.14: Irregular consumption of energy intake in meals is associated with a higher cardio-metabolic risk in adults of a British birth cohort. The aim was to study associations between irregular consumption of energy intake in meals and cardio-metabolic risk factors. Read the abstract in International Journal of Obesity.
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Physical Activity Research 

07.02.14: Diet and Exercise Interventions among Overweight and Obese Lactating Women: Randomized Trial of Effects on Cardiovascular Risk Factors. The objective of the study was to examine the effects of Diet (D) and Exercise (E) interventions on cardiovascular fitness, waist circumference, blood lipids, glucose metabolism, inflammation markers, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and blood pressure in overweight and obese lactating women. Read the full text on PLOS One.

10.02.14: The association between ownership of common household devices and obesity and diabetes in high, middle and low income countries. The study hypothesized that device ownership (e.g., television, car, computer) is associated with obesity and diabetes and that these effects are explained through reduced physical activity, increased sitting time and increased energy intake. Read the full text in CMAJ.

12.02.14: Parenting style, the home environment, and screen time of 5-year-old children; the 'be active, eat right' study. This study investigated associations of parenting style and the social and physical home environment on watching TV and using computers or game consoles among 5-year-old children. Read the full text on PLOS One.

13.02.14: Health effects of the London bicycle sharing system: health impact modelling study. The objective of the study was to model the impacts of the bicycle sharing system in London on the health of its users. Read the full text in BMJ.

March 2014: Physical activity and body mass index: the contribution of age and workplace characteristics. This paper reports on the distribution of physical activity and BMI by age in a population of hospital-based healthcare workers and investigates the relationships among workplace characteristics, physical activity, and BMI. Read the abstract in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

17.03.14: Health Inequalities in Urban Adolescents: Role of Physical Activity, Diet, and Genetics. This study aimed to compare fitness, fatness, and cardiometabolic risk between urban adolescents from the south and center-north of Europe and to explore whether physical activity (PA) and other factors might explain these differences. Read the abstract in Pediatrics.

27.03.14: Youth advocacy as a tool for environmental and policy changes that support physical activity and nutrition: an evaluation study in San Diego county. Youth advocacy, a successful strategy in the field of tobacco control, should be evaluated for its potential in the field of obesity prevention. Study objectives included documenting group process and success of groups in engaging in community advocacy with decision makers. Read the full text in Preventing Chronic Disease – Public Health Research and Public Policy.
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Resources and Publications

The Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI): This report presents the findings from three waves of the WHO Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative survey in the Republic of Ireland in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

Your Health Matters: Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2012/13. This annual report describes the health of the population in Northern Ireland.

Obesity and disability- children and young people, Public Health England.  This paper examines the evidence linking obesity and disability in children and young people. It looks at a range of impairments or health conditions associated with disability and explores the main obesity-related chronic health conditions that can develop during childhood and adolescence. It also highlights: inequalities experienced by children and young people in relation to obesity and disability, implications for policy, practice and research and survey data on obesity and limiting long-term illness or disability

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

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. 

Proposed Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax: Health Impact Assessment (HIA). The IPH was requested by the Department of Health to undertake this HIA in 2012.The public health priority for this proposal was to consider the potential of such a tax to address the problem of overweight and obesity in Ireland.  The HIA process involved a population profile, a stakeholder consultation event and a literature review, paralleled by a modelling exercise undertaken by Dr. Mike Rayner and his team in the University of Oxford and presented to the steering group to inform their conclusions.   

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. 

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

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