UK children severely obese

Analysis of Public Health England data from the National Child Measurement Programme by the Local Government Association shows 1 in 25 children aged 10-11, in the UK are now ‘severely obese’ with 1 in 40 children aged 4-5 classed as obese. This is despite the introduction of the UK government’s childhood obesity plan in 2016. In defence of government policy the Secretary of State for health and social care has answered a parliamentary question about fruit and vegetable consumption, highlighting the government’s School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme. The scheme is designed to give children aged 5-7 a piece of fruit or veg each day in an effort to increase levels of fruit and vegetables to “assist a healthy balanced diet”. It’s not just the health issues and risk of developing chronic disease that threatens today’s children in the UK. A new study has highlighted the increased risk to children’s mental health. Those children who are overweight in the first two years of life were found to have reduced reasoning skills and working memory when tested at ages five and eight. As more and more calls are made to reduce junk food advertising to children surely now is the time for governments to crack down on Big Food’s profiteering at the expense of citizens’ health. It’s also high time that Government guidelines looked more like ANH-Intl’s Food4Health guidelines, which have been developed in line with the current science in nutrition research and which put health front and centre.

UK Government advisors get it wrong – again!

Rates of morbid obesity in the UK are predicted to soar to more than 4 million people by 2035. The UK government has so far stubbornly refused to consider changes to their eating guidelines to halt this rise. Despite evidence supporting the use of plant-based lower carbohydrate, higher fat diets, as recommended by ANH-Intl. Instead, government advisors are still peddling the use of very low-calorie meal replacement diets following publication of the DIRECT study. Whilst these diets may result in more short-term weight loss, maintenance of that weight loss can often prove extremely difficult, with people regaining not only the weight they lost, but more on top. Advice should instead focus on teaching people a different way to eat, one that will not only stabilise weight, but promote health and reduce risk of developing chronic disease. Rather than continuing to do what’s always been done, and is clearly not working, now is the time for a radical shift in thinking and for the government to consult those practitioners who are achieving lasting, sustainable results outside of the mainstream.

High protein diets linked to heart disease

A new study published in Circulation: Heart Failure journal warns that high protein diets can increase an individual’s risk of heart disease. The only proteins not associated with a higher risk of heart disease were fish and eggs. Humans are essentially omnivores, therefore a balance of macro-nutrients must be maintained to realise the full health potential of the food we ingest. When little priority is given to the diversity and amount of plant foods eaten daily, and no care is taken when preparing animal proteins (e.g. high temp cooking, smoking, processing) or ensuring the right types of fats are included in the diet, then risks to health will ensue as a result. Eating a plant-based diet that includes at least 50% (by weight) of whole, unprocessed vegetables and minimal fruit, with healthy fats and moderate amounts of protein allows food to take its place as the medicinal bedrock our bodies have flourished on for thousands of years. Just as our primate cousins continue to eat a wide diversity of plant foods, so our evolutionary heritage suggests the basis of our diet should be similar. To ease any concerns over protein intake and find out more about creating a balanced diet for daily health and vitality look at our updated Food4Health guidelines.

Brexit – is Italy next?

Negotiations are continuing to agree the conditions for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, while the rest of Europe watches and waits. Already politically unstable and recovering from previous economic crises with limited growth forecast for the coming year, Italy has once again been thrown into political and financial chaos. As the main political parties manoeuvre to form a government, there is a very real possibility they could fight yet more elections in which euro skeptic parties may prevail. Commentators are now considering the possibility of an Italian withdrawal from the EU single currency. However, what could be good for Italy long-term would further destabilise the largest trading union in the world following the UK’s exit.