Monthly Archives

August 2020

Boris’s Blow Out Puts Everyone’s Health On The Line

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

You’ve probably seen adverts like the one above. They’re part of Boris Johnson’s new Obesity Plan for a healthier nation. You might have seen them on the way back from an Eat Out To Help Out ‘blow out’ – another government scheme. What a contradiction to release a campaign encouraging us to eat better at the same time as encouraging us to overindulge!

We’re also disappointed in the messages behind the billboards. Johnson’s campaign yet again focuses on the food industry.

The government’s changes – banning TV and online ads for high fat, sugar and salt foods before 9pm; the end of ‘buy one get one free’ deals on unhealthy food; and putting calorie counts on restaurant menus – are simple smart tweaks that no-one can disagree with. And will make very little material difference to people’s lives.

Meanwhile, Obesity Canada release their guidelines; ‘A Patient-Centred Approach to Obesity Care‘ with a 5 step approach that includes recognising obesity as a chronic disease, individual assessments to identify root causes and barriers to obesity treatment, discussion of different treatment options and agreement of goals. And now everyone is raving about this ‘new approach’ when these are exactly the principles SHINE has had in place for the past 17 years!!!

In the UK, there are still no intervention plans for those already living with obesity. The “Better Health” campaign recommends a 12-week weight loss plan based around an app that helps users to set weight loss goals, plan meals, make healthier food choices, to get more active and to burn more calories. But how will that help those living with severe obesity and complex needs? There are no treatment strategies and still no mention of the whole system approach. When will they understand that obesity is not just about ‘eat less and move more’?

What Do SHINE’s 8-18 Year Olds Think About Coronavirus-19?

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

You might imagine that putting takeaways, supermarkets and vending machines out of reach would make healthy eating habits easier for SHINE’s children and young people. But a recent interactive survey we conducted with our participants highlighted that these challenges haven’t gone away – they’re simply different. As one participant summarised it, “…there’s more access to food when you’re at home…”

There were lots of surprises in our participants responses but before we dive in, a quick word on the format here. The information from our survey was gathered via group Zoom sessions so they’re not anonymous. Also, this is a group of 20 children and young people so not a huge sample. But there are some fascinating findings anyway…

Question: How’s your diet changed since lockdown?

  • SHINE’s participants reported snacking more at home than they used to but still not as much as they did at school.

  • Secondary school pupils highlighted that food at home was healthier than the sausage rolls, bacon sandwiches, burgers and chips on offer at tuck shops and lunch breaks in school.

  • Primary school pupils unanimously said school meals were healthy and controlled.

  • Generally fewer sweets were eaten as no longer passing shops.

  • Some participants highlighted they’d already started to slide back into pre-CV-19 habits and were visiting shops while going out with friends again.

Question: What takeaways have you had since lockdown?

  • A quarter of our participants said they’d not had a takeaway since lockdown. Nine of our participants said they’d had between one and three takeaways in the 17 weeks of lockdown.

  • Everyone said they’d cut down on takeaways since lockdown. Partly due to lack of access, but several participants also highlighted safety concerns around bringing the virus into their homes.

  • Only four out of the 20 reported having a McDonalds since they opened. All four reported feeling sick afterwards.

>Question: What fears and anxieties do you have about the future?

    • The most common fear and anxiety was ‘Going back to school and confronting bullying again’.

    • Next most common was ‘Gaining back the weight I have lost during lockdown’.

    • Followed by ‘I feel nervous about using public transport’.

    • Several participants highlighted worries about how GCSEs would work and uncertainty about how college would function during CV-19 pandemic.

    • Concerns around lost confidence in going out and being around other people were also highlighted.

    • The older group raised health risk concerns related to their weight.

    • Lots of comments around ‘uncertainty’ – what will the ‘new normal’ be like.