Category Archives: Alergies

Popular social media sites ‘harm young people’s mental health’

Four of the five most popular forms of social media harm young people’s mental health, with Instagram the most damaging, according to research by two health organisations.

Instagram has the most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing, a survey of almost 1,500 14- to 24-year-olds found, and the health groups accused it of deepening young people’s feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

The survey, published on Friday, concluded that Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are also harmful. Among the five only YouTube was judged to have a positive impact.

The four platforms have a negative effect because they can exacerbate children’s and young people’s body image worries, and worsen bullying, sleep problems and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness, the participants said.

The findings follow growing concern among politicians, health bodies, doctors, charities and parents about young people suffering harm as a result of sexting, cyberbullying and social media reinforcing feelings of self-loathing and even the risk of them committing suicide.

“It’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing. Both platforms are very image-focused and it appears that they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people,” said Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, which undertook the survey with the Young Health Movement.

She demanded tough measures “to make social media less of a wild west when it comes to young people’s mental health and wellbeing”. Social media firms should bring in a pop-up image to warn young people that they have been using it a lot, while Instagram and similar platforms should alert users when photographs of people have been digitally manipulated, Cramer said.

The 1,479 young people surveyed were asked to rate the impact of the five forms of social media on 14 different criteria of health and wellbeing, including their effect on sleep, anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-identity, bullying, body image and the fear of missing out.

Instagram emerged with the most negative score. It rated badly for seven of the 14 measures, particularly its impact on sleep, body image and fear of missing out – and also for bullying and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness. However, young people cited its upsides too, including self-expression, self-identity and emotional support.

YouTube scored very badly for its impact on sleep but positively in nine of the 14 categories, notably awareness and understanding of other people’s health experience, self-expression, loneliness, depression and emotional support.

However, the leader of the UK’s psychiatrists said the findings were too simplistic and unfairly blamed social media for the complex reasons why the mental health of so many young people is suffering.

Prof Sir Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “I am sure that social media plays a role in unhappiness, but it has as many benefits as it does negatives.. We need to teach children how to cope with all aspects of social media – good and bad – to prepare them for an increasingly digitised world. There is real danger in blaming the medium for the message.”

Young Minds, the charity which Theresa May visited last week on a campaign stop, backed the call for Instagram and other platforms to take further steps to protect young users.

Tom Madders, its director of campaigns and communications, said: “Prompting young people about heavy usage and signposting to support they may need, on a platform that they identify with, could help many young people.”

However, he also urged caution in how content accessed by young people on social media is perceived. “It’s also important to recognise that simply ‘protecting’ young people from particular content types can never be the whole solution. We need to support young people so they understand the risks of how they behave online, and are empowered to make sense of and know how to respond to harmful content that slips through filters.”

Parents and mental health experts fear that platforms such as Instagram can make young users feel worried and inadequate by facilitating hostile comments about their appearance or reminding them that they have not been invited to, for example, a party many of their peers are attending.

May, who has made children’s mental health one of her priorities, highlighted social media’s damaging effects in her “shared society” speech in January, saying: “We know that the use of social media brings additional concerns and challenges. In 2014, just over one in 10 young people said that they had experienced cyberbullying by phone or over the internet.”

In February, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, warned social media and technology firms that they could face sanctions, including through legislation, unless they did more to tackle sexting, cyberbullying and the trolling of young users.

Popular social media sites ‘harm young people’s mental health’

Four of the five most popular forms of social media harm young people’s mental health, with Instagram the most damaging, according to research by two health organisations.

Instagram has the most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing, a survey of almost 1,500 14- to 24-year-olds found, and the health groups accused it of deepening young people’s feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

The survey, published on Friday, concluded that Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are also harmful. Among the five only YouTube was judged to have a positive impact.

The four platforms have a negative effect because they can exacerbate children’s and young people’s body image worries, and worsen bullying, sleep problems and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness, the participants said.

The findings follow growing concern among politicians, health bodies, doctors, charities and parents about young people suffering harm as a result of sexting, cyberbullying and social media reinforcing feelings of self-loathing and even the risk of them committing suicide.

“It’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing. Both platforms are very image-focused and it appears that they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people,” said Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, which undertook the survey with the Young Health Movement.

She demanded tough measures “to make social media less of a wild west when it comes to young people’s mental health and wellbeing”. Social media firms should bring in a pop-up image to warn young people that they have been using it a lot, while Instagram and similar platforms should alert users when photographs of people have been digitally manipulated, Cramer said.

The 1,479 young people surveyed were asked to rate the impact of the five forms of social media on 14 different criteria of health and wellbeing, including their effect on sleep, anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-identity, bullying, body image and the fear of missing out.

Instagram emerged with the most negative score. It rated badly for seven of the 14 measures, particularly its impact on sleep, body image and fear of missing out – and also for bullying and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness. However, young people cited its upsides too, including self-expression, self-identity and emotional support.

YouTube scored very badly for its impact on sleep but positively in nine of the 14 categories, notably awareness and understanding of other people’s health experience, self-expression, loneliness, depression and emotional support.

However, the leader of the UK’s psychiatrists said the findings were too simplistic and unfairly blamed social media for the complex reasons why the mental health of so many young people is suffering.

Prof Sir Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “I am sure that social media plays a role in unhappiness, but it has as many benefits as it does negatives.. We need to teach children how to cope with all aspects of social media – good and bad – to prepare them for an increasingly digitised world. There is real danger in blaming the medium for the message.”

Young Minds, the charity which Theresa May visited last week on a campaign stop, backed the call for Instagram and other platforms to take further steps to protect young users.

Tom Madders, its director of campaigns and communications, said: “Prompting young people about heavy usage and signposting to support they may need, on a platform that they identify with, could help many young people.”

However, he also urged caution in how content accessed by young people on social media is perceived. “It’s also important to recognise that simply ‘protecting’ young people from particular content types can never be the whole solution. We need to support young people so they understand the risks of how they behave online, and are empowered to make sense of and know how to respond to harmful content that slips through filters.”

Parents and mental health experts fear that platforms such as Instagram can make young users feel worried and inadequate by facilitating hostile comments about their appearance or reminding them that they have not been invited to, for example, a party many of their peers are attending.

May, who has made children’s mental health one of her priorities, highlighted social media’s damaging effects in her “shared society” speech in January, saying: “We know that the use of social media brings additional concerns and challenges. In 2014, just over one in 10 young people said that they had experienced cyberbullying by phone or over the internet.”

In February, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, warned social media and technology firms that they could face sanctions, including through legislation, unless they did more to tackle sexting, cyberbullying and the trolling of young users.

General election 2017: May says ‘there’s no Mayism’, only ‘solid Conservatism’ at manifesto launch – politics live

10:37

10:27

Ukip accuses Tories of ‘biggest tax raid in history’ on pensioners

10:22

Corbyn accuses Tories of unleashing ‘nasty party triple whammy’ on pensioners

10:17

The Tories appear to be fishing for votes in the Scottish Borders with the same zeal as an angler fishing for salmon on the Tweed. The party has a new manifesto pledge to create a major “Borderland” investment plan, for a region where the Tories are fighting to protect their only MP and hopefully secure at least one more.

Theresa May’s manifesto said:

Building on the city and growth deals we have signed across Scotland, we will bring forward a Borderlands Growth Deal, including all councils on both sides of the border, to help secure prosperity in southern Scotland.

By coincidence, the Scottish secretary, David Mundell is defending a slender 798 majority in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, while John Lamont, a prominent ally of the Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson, is fighting to unseat the Scottish National party’s Calum Kerr in Berwickshire, Roxbugh and Selkirk.

Kerr is protecting the smallest majority among Scotland’s 59 Commons seats, of 328 votes, and is widely expected to lose to Lamont, who is Tory MSP for the contiguous Holyrood seat.

No further details have yet emerged about the shape and value of the Borderlands offer, but in a party statement Mundell said:

From the Borders to the North Sea, this manifesto delivers for Scotland. It shows that a re-elected Conservative government will continue to ensure that Scotland benefits from its membership of the United Kingdom.

The SNP, which has itself faced Tory accusations of buying votes with Scottish government announcements before the council elections on 4 May, said it had reopened the Borders railway and was planning a new South of Scotland enterprise agency linked to the new city deal for Edinburgh.

Calum Kerr added:

The usual routine by the Tories is they announce these growth deals, put up a bit of the money and then rely on the Scottish government to stump up the rest.

Updated

10:12

The Conservative manifesto pledge to increase school funding in England gets a tepid response from Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. He says:

We welcome any improvement to school funding, but unfortunately the Conservative pledge of a £4bn boost includes a large element of sleight of hand. The schools budget would have to increase by about £2.8bn in any case because the pupil population will rise by 490,000 by 2022. So, the “extra” money is in fact just over £1bn, which is not enough to counteract the rising costs which are hitting schools and will amount to £3bn a year by 2020.

Barton is also unimpressed by the promise to revive grammar schools and selection.

The evidence we have seen does not support the premise that the further expansion of selection will improve education for the majority of young people. The evidence indicates that it will have a damaging impact on the life chances of the majority who do not attend a selective school.

10:07

How the Tory manifesto differs from David Cameron’s – Analysis

The headlines will focus on the Conservatives abandoning triple lock protection for pensions and an end to David Cameron’s “tax lock” promise of no increase in income tax, national insurance or VAT.

But what else has changed in the small print between today’s Tory manifesto and David Cameron’s two years ago?

On child poverty

Tory manifesto 2015: We will work to eliminate child poverty

Tory manifesto 2017: We want to reduce child poverty

What it means: Four million of our children are living below the official poverty line and the IFS projects the number will pass 5 million by 2020. That demands a muscular response. But the Conservatives have abolished the child poverty unit which has been subsumed into the DWP. This looks like no muscular response on the rising numbers will be forthcoming.

On balancing the budget

Tory manifesto 2015: Deliver a balanced structural current budget in 2017-18

Tory manifesto 2017: “A balanced budget by the middle of the next decade”

What it means: A far less specific commitment, and ten years later than George Osborne promised.

On the Human Rights Act

Tory manifesto 2015: Scrap the Human Rights Act and curtail the role of the European Court of Human Rights, so that foreign criminals can be more easily deported from Britain

Tory manifesto 2017: We will not repeal or replace the Human Rights Act while the process of Brexit is underway but we will consider our human rights legal framework when the process of leaving the EU concludes. We will remain signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights for the duration of the next parliament.

What it means: Another ditching of a flagship Cameron pledge, and a promise May made during her leadership campaign to remain signatories to the ECHR. A U-turn maybe, but one that will be welcomed by many progressives.

On defence

Tory manifesto 2015: We will maintain the size of the regular armed services and not reduce the army to below 82,000.

Tory manifesto 2017: We will maintain the overall size of the armed forces, including an army that is capable of fielding a war-fighting division.

What it means: No numbers here, because the Conservatives have failed to meet this pledge, the numbers are currently 78,500. Defence secretary Michael Fallon has been regularly castigated in TV interviews about the figure.

On prosperity

Tory manifesto 2015: We will pursue our ambition to become the most prosperous major economy in the world by the 2030s

Tory manifesto 2017: It doesn’t appear

What it means: This was a key pledge by George Osborne as a case for deficit reduction. The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world though it slipped to sixth below France in the direct aftermath of Brexit. With such economic uncertainty surrounding the Brexit negotiations, it seems unsurprising this has been quietly dropped.

On rail travel

Tory manifesto 2015: We will keep commuter rail fares frozen in real terms for the whole of the next Parliament

Tory manifesto 2017: It doesn’t appear

What it means: It means rail fares could rise above inflation under the Tories. Labour has pledged to renationalise the rail network, prompted in part by rising fares.

On Heathrow

Tory manifesto 2015: We will deliver on our National Infrastructure Plan and respond to the Airports Commission’s final report.

Tory manifesto 2017: We will continue our programme of strategic national investments, including High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport

What it means: Heathrow’s third runway is going ahead and Conservative candidates in seats where they at risk against anti-Heathrow Lib Dems will have to explain that on the south west London doorsteps. Among them will be Zac Goldsmith, standing again for the Tories in Richmond Park after quitting and sparking a by-election to protest the decision, which he subsequently lost to Lib Dem Sarah Olney.

Updated

10:01

10:00

Tories promise to review honours system

One small element of the Conservative manifesto promises to examine the method for selecting people for honours. It says:

We will review the honours system to make sure it commands public confidence, rewards genuine public service and that recipients uphold the integrity of the honours bestowed.

While there is no further explanation of what this will involve, it follows briefings from those around May that she wanted to move the system away from giving knighthoods and other gongs to civil servants and former special advisers, instead rewarding more people outside Westminster, particularly those who assist social mobility.

It follows controversy about the last two lists of honours. David Cameron’s resignation list brought recognition to a series of No 10 and Tory party staffers, and the New Year’s collection – in part drawn up under Cameron – had awards for a series of senior officials.

What the promised review of the system will actually bring remains to be seen. But it shows May remains keen on the idea.

Updated

09:37

09:31

No mention of air pollution in Tory manifesto

The manifesto made no mention of air pollution, which MPs have described as a public health emergency. The Tories commit to investing £600m by 2020 to pursue a desire for “almost every car and van” to be zero-emissions by 2050, but they make no mention of pollution from diesel vehicles and the 40,000 premature deaths each year from air pollution.

There is no mention either of tax changes to support the public to ditch their diesel cars in favour of less polluting alternatives, or a diesel scrappage scheme.

David Timms, from Friends of the Earth, said:

The lack of policies to deal with the dirty air crisis is astounding. Polluting car manufacturers will sleep easy knowing that they have been let off the hook, while children with asthma will continue to choke. This is a national disgrace which can’t be hidden behind planting a few trees.

The one mention of air quality is a commitment to planting one million trees in towns and cities.

Updated

The work of the Salford venereal diseases clinic – archive, 18 May 1929

On April 1 last year a municipal clinic for venereal diseases was established in Salford, and the first annual report, for the nine months’ working, has just been issued by Dr. E. T. Burke, venereal diseases medical officer for the city. The existence of the venereal diseases scheme of the Ministry of Health implies the existence of a venereal diseases problem, he writes. In pre-war times the question of venereal disease was something of a national taboo. The great – almost inevitable – increase in venereal disease occasioned by the Great War was driven into the public consciousness. “It was realised,” he writes, “that, covered by a carefully fostered conspiracy of silence, the ulcer of venereal disease was gnawing at the very vitals of the national health.

A new generation has sprung up, and the memories of the older generation are short. There has been a tendency to rest upon our oars; and the ancient taboo – the pernicious policy of ‘hush-hush’ – has been gradually reasserting its anaesthetic effect.”

“Campaigns against cancer and consumption are very necessary,” he goes on. “They are popular; they are respectable, and they have a wide appeal both among the medical profession and the laity. An anti-venereal campaign starts with the dice heavily loaded against it. The thought that the venereal problem is but one of very minor importance is fathered by the wish that it might be so.”

Venereal disease prevention poster, 1920.


Venereal disease prevention poster, 1920. Photograph: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Misleading Returns
After reviewing the various researches to discover the proportion of cases of syphilis in the community, Dr. Burke says that the neat proportion of deaths from syphilis are hidden under various other labels in the mortality lists of the Registrar General. Confidential death certification would go a long way toward turning an annual mass of figures, in many respects both useless and misleading, into something of practical value. The truth as to the killing power of syphilis lay at the bottom of the Registrar General’s statistical well. They found by scientific analysis that about 10 per cent of the total deaths were due to syphilis, and as gonorrhea was about twice as common syphilis the grand total of venereally infected persons was brought to about 500,000 or 14 per cent of the population of the whole country. In the city of Salford, with a population of 250,000 (assuming that the community was infected at a rate no higher than the country generally, there would be at least some 30,000 infected persons. That meant about 1,000 annual fresh infections, and 200 deaths from syphilis every twelve months.

The cost of the clinic in its first year (April to December had been £5,600. It was necessary to consider whether that was justifiable. The devastating economic effect could be gauged by an investigation undertaken by approved societies with a membership of 3,000,000. The average duration of disablement per member per year was found to be: all diseases 7,2 weeks, venereal disease 10,9 weeks. The effect of this in causing a decrease in industrial production and an increase in the cost of living was self-evident. The attitude of the British employer to venereal disease had been either to ignore or penalise it. Both were suicidal policies.

The Care of Children
The report goes on to deal with the actual working of the Salford clinic. It is shown that the total attendances for the nine months were 35,503 (intermediate attendances 26,155) and 1,220 new cases were treated. In comparison with the twelve months’ figures of other big centres, it is seen that the Salford clinic has dealt with more new patients and registered more attendances than any other treatment centre with a similar size of population. Of the total number of patients 21.5 per cent were Manchester residents.

Dr. Burke states that very few children are being treated at the clinic, which fact he regards as unsatisfactory. “It is felt,” he writes, “that school-children suffering from general debility, backwardness, heart disease, epilepsy, &c., should be thoroughly examined for evidence of syphilis.” He also urges the need for a hostel to which women could be admitted while undergoing treatment to enable them to continue in their employment, and he emphasises the necessity of a treatment station within the dock boundaries, with placards, telling of its existence in different languages, to be placed in seamen’s and firemen’s quarters in every ship entering dock. The number of patients belonging to the mercantile marine was 138, 11 per cent of the total.

Manchester Guardian, 18 May 1929.


Manchester Guardian, 18 May 1929.

Warning pregnant women over dangers of alcohol goes too far, experts say

Women are being unfairly alarmed by official guidelines that warn them to avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy, experts claim.

Some mothers-to-be may even be having an abortion because they are worried they have damaged their unborn child by drinking too much, it is claimed.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, maternal rights campaign group Birthrights and academics specialising in parenting say official advice on drinking in pregnancy is too prescriptive.

Revised guidelines that came into force in January 2016 are not based on reliable evidence, they say. The advice, endorsed by the four UK nations’ chief medical officers, deleted a longstanding reference to pregnant women potentially having one or two units of alcohol once or twice a week while expecting and instead said that they should not drink at all.

“We need to think hard about how risk is communicated to women on issues relating to pregnancy. There can be real consequences to overstating evidence or implying certainty when there isn’t any,” said Clare Murphy, director of external affairs at BPAS, the contraception and abortion charity.

“Doing so can cause women needless anxiety and alarm, sometimes to the point that they consider ending an unplanned but not unwanted pregnancy because of fears they have caused irreparable harm.”

Ellie Lee, director of Kent University’s centre for parenting culture studies, said the advice means pregnant women also shun social occasions unnecessarily.

“As proving ‘complete safety’ [of drinking in pregnancy] is entirely impossible, where does this leave pregnant women? The scrutiny and oversight of their behaviour the official approach invites is not benign. It creates anxiety and impairs ordinary social interaction. And the exclusion of women from an ordinary activity on the basis of ‘precaution’ can more properly be called sexist than benign,” Lee added.

Last year’s revised guidelines followed the first in-depth UK review of the evidence on drinking in pregnancy since 2008. It concluded that “definitive evidence, particularly on the effects of low-level consumption [on a baby’s health] remains elusive”. Despite that, it nevertheless recommended that: “If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.”

The NHS’s start 4 life website, which promotes healthy behaviour, says: “What you drink, your baby drinks too. Play safe and cut out alcohol.”

Jennie Bristow, senior lecturer in sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University, criticised the negative effects of advice to mothers to be. “Does it simply make for healthier pregnancies or is it scaring women about their bodies and their babies? Promoting fear is not a good way to care for pregnant women.”

The guidelines state that: “Alcohol, like a numbr of drugs, is a teratogen, which means something that can disturb the deveopment of a fetus. Teratogens may cause a birth defect, or may halt the pregnancy.” The risks to the child also include the child being born prematurely or very small or having behavioural problems.

The Royal College of Midwives believes that any woman who is or is trying to become pregnant should shun alcohol altogether. “Our message [is]… that there is no evidence that any level of consumption is safe for the growing baby,” it said when the guidelines came out last year.

Coca-Cola says sugar cuts have not harmed sales

Coca-Cola has quietly reduced the sugar content of some of its biggest brands, including Sprite, Fanta and Dr Pepper, without affecting sales, the company’s chief executive has said.

The fizzy drinks giant has made a number of reductions in sugar content over the last four years, including a 30% cut in Fanta two weeks ago, according to the Times. There were similar reductions to Sprite and Dr Pepper in 2013 and 2014.

Sweeteners have been added to try to maintain the same taste. For example, in Sprite the company is adding stevia, a plant extract, while in Fanta the company is using acesulfame, an artificial sweetener.

Fanta now contains less than half the sugar of Coca-Cola, the company’s eponymous and most popular brand, at 4.6 grams per 100ml compared with 10.8g.

The chief executive, James Quincey, said the changes had not significantly hit sales. He told Bloomberg Businessweek: “We took some of the calories out of Sprite and consumers like Sprite now as much as they did before. Then we took 30% of the calories out of Fanta to see what would happen. Again, sales seem to be continuing fine.”

A sugar tax is due to come into force in the UK next year affecting heavily sugared fizzy drinks. Under the new rules, producers or importers of soft drinks will have to pay a tax of 18p per litre on drinks containing five grams or more of sugar per 100ml and 24p per litre more if their products contain eight grams or more per 100ml. The Treasury expects the levy to raise £520m a year.

Quincey suggested the size of bottles and cans containing Coca-Cola products may be reduced to help cut sugar consumption.

“If people are going to drink everything that’s in front of them, well, when they’ve got a smaller package, they’ll have less. That’s the sort of thing moms like for kids,” he said.

NHS hospitals across England hit by large-scale cyber-attack

A number of hospitals have been hit by a large scale cyber attack, NHS England has confirmed.

Hospitals across the country appear to have been simultaneously hit by a bug in their IT systems, leading to many diverting emergency patients. NHS England said it was aware of the problem and would release more details soon.

Meanwhile doctors have been posting on Twitter about what has been happening to their systems.

A screen grab of a instant message conversation circulated by one doctor says: “So our hospital is down … We got a message saying your computers are now under their control and pay a certain amount of money. And now everything is gone.”

If.ra (@asystoly)

Why would you cyber attack a hospital and hold it for ransom? The state of the world

Common painkillers may raise risk of heart attack by 100% – study

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Risk of myocardial infarction is greatest in first month of taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen if dose is high, say researchers

Commonly prescribed painkillers including ibuprofen increase the likelihood of having a heart attack within the first month of taking them if consumed in high doses, a study suggests.

All five nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) examined could raise the risk as early as the first week of use, an international team of researchers found.

Related: Should I stop taking Ibuprofen?

Continue reading…

‘Disabled in the body, not the mind or heart’: surviving polio in Nigeria – video

Unable to complete his education after contracting polio as a child, Aminu was determined not to become a beggar on the streets of Kano in north-west Nigeria. His solution was to design a bike that restored his mobility. Now he produces dozens of them, employing fellow polio survivors and helping to transform lives

Political will is needed to tackle obesity in the UK | Letters

The forthcoming general election will not be won or lost solely on the “Brexit battleground”. As campaigning begins in earnest, voters will inevitably look to the other big areas of policy that will determine which party wins their vote.

The public care about health. Alongside the economy and education, health is consistently a top priority for voters. And tackling what is one of the biggest public health threats to our health and NHS sustainability – obesity – continues to be a public priority. The evidence is clear that obesity racks up a staggering bill: at least £5bn to the NHS and tens of billions to society every year.

The Obesity Health Alliance represents hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals and public health specialists. Our message is clear: whoever forms the next government cannot afford to neglect the obesity agenda. Obesity is blighting lives, costing the NHS billions a year, jeopardising the health of future generations, and it is entirely preventable.

Whichever party takes up the reins of power in June, getting to grips with obesity must be high on the agenda and bolder steps taken to address the obesogenic environment in which our children are growing up. The public want this to happen; what’s needed is clear political will.
John Maingay Head of policy and public affairs, British Heart Foundation
Professor Parveen Kumar Board of science chair, British Medical Association
Professor John Wass Special adviser on obesity, Royal College of Physicians
Helen Dickens Head of prevention engagement, Diabetes UK
Professor Simon Capewell Vice-president for policy, Faculty of Public Health
Professor Russell Viner Officer for health promotion, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Alison Cox Director of prevention, Cancer Research UK
Malcolm Clark Coordinator, Children’s Food Campaign
Dr Modi Mwatsama Director, policy and global health, UK Health Forum
Professor Lesley Regan President, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Professor Graham MacGregor Chairman, Action on Sugar
Andrew Furber President, Association of Directors of Public Health
Dr Liam Brennan President, Royal College of Anaesthetists
Robin Ireland Director of research, Food Active
Professor Pinki Sahota Chair, Association for the Study of Obesity
Dr Thom Phillips British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine
Tam Fry National Obesity Forum
Aisling Rollason Children’s Liver Disease Foundation
Shefalee Roth Caroline Walker Trust
Michael Baber Director, Health Action Campaign

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