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Child obesity: their lives in our hands

Children's Food Trust | 2 December 2015

This white paper, ‘Child obesity: their lives in our hands’, also recommends:

  • a ban on junk food advertising on TV before 9pm;
  • more local public health investment in teaching children and families to cook;
  • funding for the Government’s free childcare scheme to reflect the cost of good food for children.

Recommendations: Our recommendations below take from our recent submission to the government’s child obesity strategy development process via the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

They focus on four key areas:

  • Children’s food at home
  • Children’sfood in childcare
  • Children’sfood at school
  • Children’s food in the wider world beyond. 


Physical activity in the early years

BHF National Centre | Evidence Briefing | December 2015

To increase physical activity levels in this age group, the evidence suggests that training early years practitioners to promote physical activity in their setting increases physical activity. Environmental changes in early years settings, eg, spend more time outdoors or providing shorter more frequent activity breaks are also effective strategies for promoting physical activity. 

The briefing also summarises information on the factors that affect physical activity levels, how to measure physical activity, current activity levels and information on sedentary behaviour in the early years. 


Childhood obesity— brave and bold action

House of Commons Health Committee | First Report of Session 2015–16 | November 30 2015

The scale and consequences of childhood obesity demand bold and urgent action from Government. We urge the Prime Minister to make a positive and lasting difference to children’s health and life chances through his childhood obesity strategy.

One fifth of children are overweight or obese when they begin school, and this figure increases to one third by the time they leave primary school. Furthermore, the most deprived children are twice as likely to be obese both at Reception and at Year 6 than the least deprived children. Obesity is not only a serious and growing problem for individual children and the wider population, it is also a significant contributor to health inequality. 



Interventions for Promoting Early Child Development for Health

The Early Life Working Group of the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy (SCPHRP)

This literature review was conducted to provide practitioners, academics, policymakers and other interested stakeholders with a synthesis of international research evidence that assesses the effectiveness of early childhood interventions aimed at promoting cognitive and social development. Further objectives were to identify the key policies, programmes and interventions, already in use or being piloted in Scotland, designed to impact on cognitive and social development in young children, highlight deficiencies in the current system and suggest potential areas for action. 


Active play evidence briefing

Public Health Ontario has produced an evidence briefing on promoting active play for children aged 0-12. The evidence briefing identifies what type of community-based interventions are being implemented to promote active play in children and youth aged 0 to 12, and whether they have been effective? 

From the 20 studies included in the review, the main findings were:

  • modifications to the school play environment by adding markings or equipment increased physical activity
  • short term increases in physical activity occurred following playground modifications in pre-school settings, eg, looping paths, grassy hills and open spaces
  • opening school playgrounds to communities outside of school hours, public park renovations and a skate park renovation show varying increases in physical activity 
  • providing community access after school and on weekends to a supervised playground in the inner-city leads to increased usage and activity levels. 


SPORTS ENGLAND | Active Design Guide

Active Design Guide provides essential guidance to help planners include sport when designing spaces

In partnership with Public Health England, we have built upon the original Active Design (2007) objectives and produced new guidance to ensure the places we live and work take sport into account when putting plans together.

The guidance links health, design and planning by creating the right environment for people to lead active lifestyles.

With this in mind, the 10 active design principles have been developed to inspire and inform the layout of cities, towns, villages, neighbourhoods, buildings, streets and open spaces, to promote sport and physical activity and active lifestyles.


ukactive | Blueprint for an Active Britain

ukactive's Blueprint for an Active Britain calls for a single-minded focusing of resources, energy and policy to turn the tide of physical inactivity.  It is one of the UK's greatest-ever social challenges. At its heart, the ukactive Blueprint lays the foundations for a stakeholder-supported government-led review of how and where physical activity can play a part in improving the nation's well-being, with practical policy recommendations across a range of areas.


DfE | The Study of Early Education and Development

What is SEED?

The Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) is a major new longitudinal study which will follow 8,000 two-year-olds from across England through to the end of KS1. It will find out how childcare and early education can help to give children the best start in life and what is important for high quality childcare provision. The study is being carried out by NatCen Social Research, working with Frontier Economics, the University of Oxford and 4Children, on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE).

Reports | December 2014: Views and experiences of childminders
                July 2015: Baseline survey of families
                September 2015: Quality of childminder provision


Analysing the peer relationships of obese and normal-weight preschool children aged between five and six years

European Early Childhood Education Research Journal | 3 November 2015

The objective of this study is to reveal whether the peer relationships of preschool children who are determined to be obese, based on their body mass index (BMI), differentiate or not. The study was conducted within the frame of a relational survey model. A total of 114 five- to six-year-old children (57 normal-weight children and 57 obese children), who attend preschool educational institutions, participated in the study. 

Introduction | Obesity is defined as a multilateral condition that occurs as a result of the deterioration of the balance between energy intake and consumption in favour of the energy intake (Dişçigil 2007). Occurring as a result of malnutrition in children, this condition is caused by genetic, environmental and psychological factors. Psychological factors such as negative relations between mother and father, failure at school and being unable to make friends might adversely affect the mental structure of the child, cause over-eating and finally obesity (Babaoğlu and Hatun 2002; Köksal and Özel 2008; Öztora 2005). 


The final report of the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty

Fabian Society | Report Author, Cameron Tait | October 2015

The Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty began an investigation into the relationship between food and poverty in the UK, and what steps could be taken to ensure the food system works better for everybody, including those on low incomes.

The Commission released an interim re- port in March 2015 (A Recipe for Inequality: Why our food system is leaving low-income households behind) and this final report sets out the Commission’s findings and recom- mendations.

The Commission is hosted by the Fabian Society and generously supported by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. The Commission is independent and is not affiliated to any political party.


The state of the North 2015: Four tests for the northern powerhouse

IPPR North | Published Tue 27 Oct 2015
This year, IPPR North’s annual State of the North report looks to the long-term future and asks a simple question: How will we know whether the ‘northern powerhouse’ is working?
Abstract: Test 2

The northern powerhouse must liberate the potential of its greatest asset – its people – through huge improvements to the development of skills, starting with the very youngest.

Our benchmarks to indicate progress in relation to this test are as follows.

  1. We have caught up with the national rate of early years attainment for under-5s, having focussed on the needs of the most deprived children.

  2. We have closed the gap in GCSE attainment, in terms of the number of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs including English and maths, having again focussed on deprived young people.

  3. We have met the projected demand from employers for skilled workers qualified to QCF level 3 and above. Projections indicate that there will be demand for more than 2.4 million people qualified to QCF level 3 or higher by 2022. 


SCAN | Carbohydrates and Health | 2015

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition | London: TSO | 2015 

Dietary carbohydrates and their role in health were last considered by the Committee on the Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA) in reports published in the 1980s and 1990s. Since then, considerable evidence has emerged on the role of carbohydrates in cardio-metabolic, colo-rectal and oral health. In 2008, the Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health asked SACN to provide clarification of the relationship between dietary carbohydrates and health and to make public health recommendations. This report was prepared in response to this request.


Sugar Reduction | Public Health England

PHE | October 2015

The findings from PHE review and the assessment of the evidence-based actions to reduce sugar consumption are set out in this report. The review first considers the need for action – how much sugar we eat, where it comes from, the health issues associated with this and the benefits in reducing our intakes. It then moves on, using our analysis of the evidence, to draw conclusions about what drives our consumption and advises on actions that could be implemented to change our sugar intakes. These include the environment around us that influences our food choices; our food supply and changes that could be made to this; knowledge and training; and local action. 


WHO | Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity

29 September 2015 -- The Draft Final Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity is now open for comment from relevant stakeholders. In addition, the Commission will hold regional consultations and hearings throughout this consultative period. The Commission reviewed the feedback received on their Interim Report from relevant stakeholders and through the regional consultation. This Draft Final Report proposes key policy actions to address childhood obesity.


Tackling inequalities in the early years: key messages from 10 years of the Growing Up in Scotland study

This report by the Scottish Government compares outcomes for and experiences of children in households with higher and lower incomes, summarising what the GUS study has revealed about inequalities up to age 8. 

It also explores whether there is any evidence that the socio-economic gap has narrowed or widened in recent years and highlights some key messages from the study about how to improve outcomes for all children and to reduce inequalities.


Exploring play and creativity in pre-schoolers’ use of apps

This research is a collaboration between academics at the Universities of Sheffield and Edinburgh, the BBC (CBeebies), Monteney Primary School and two children’s media companies. It examined preschool children’s use of apps on tablets, to identify how far apps for preschool children promote play and creativity. The research found that a third of pre- school children in the UK have their own tablet that they use for an average of one hour and 19 minutes every weekday, often on their own without a parent or guardian. In children aged between three and five, 37% have their own tablet, and are most likely to use them from 4-6pm during the week. 


Dental caries and obesity: their relationship in children

This Public Health England evidence summary of dental caries and obesity explores whether they are found in the same individuals and populations; reviews and summarises what is currently known about their relationship using the published literature and routine public health monitoring data; and supports the dental public health and obesity teams, who may be asked about the relationship between these two outcomes. 


Report by APPG on a fit and healthy childhood

The purpose of the APPG is to promote evidence based discussion and produce reports on all aspects of childhood health and wellbeing including obesity; to inform policy decisions and public debate relating to childhood; and to enable communications between interested parties and relevant parliamentarians.  The Working Group is Chaired by Helen Clark, a member of the APPG Secretariat. Working Group members are volunteers from the APPG membership with an interest in this subject area. Those that have contributed to the work of the Working Group are listed on page 2.

The Report is divided into themed subject chapters with recommendations that we hope will influence active Government policy. 


Early years foundation stage profile results in England, 2015

The Department for Education today (13 Oct 2015) published the latest national statistics on Early Years Foundation Stage Profile Attainment by Pupil Characteristics in England.

The percentage of children achieving a good level of development continues to increase, with 66.3% of children achieving a good level of development. This is an increase of 5.9% points from last year.

Girls continue to do better than boys, but the gender gap has decreased for 2 of the 2 key measures.

The gap between all children and the lowest 20% of attaining children has narrowed very slightly by 1.9% points from last year and stands at 32.1%.



Physical activity strategy for the WHO European Region 2016–2025

WHO | Regional Committee for Europe | 65th session | Sept 2015

This physical activity strategy was prepared in the light of the existing voluntary global targets set out in the WHO Global action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases 2013–2020, endorsed by the Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly in May 2013.

The strategy focuses on physical activity as a leading factor in health and well-being in the European Region, with particular attention to the burden of noncommunicable diseases associated with insufficient activity levels and sedentary behaviour. It aims to cover all forms of physical activity throughout the life-course.