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ihawkes

Institute of Health and Wellbeing Early Career Researchers' Blog

Posts Categorized / Current Affairs

  • Feb 05 / 2018
  • 0
Current Affairs, David Blane

Adult weight management – Time for action not words

Photo by Hush Naidoo. © 2017 Unsplash. Used with permission under the license of Creative Commons. Via Unsplash Photos.

By David Blane

 

We hear repeatedly that obesity is one of the biggest public health problems in the UK today.  Yet there is a stark mis-match between the newspaper column inches devoted to the nation’s waistline and the resources spent on NHS adult weight management services.  

ON the 26th October 2017, the Minister for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell, launched the Scottish Government’s Consultation on a Diet and Obesity Strategy for Scotland. There is much to commend in the Strategy – prevention is better than cure, and targeting resources on more ‘upstream’ determinants of obesity (changing the so-called obesogenic environment) is rightly the focus of the new Strategy (and of Obesity Action Scotland’s advocacy).

However, for a country with one of the highest obesity rates in the world (where 1 in every 4 adults lives with obesity), there is a need for action at multiple levels.  As a recent Lancet commentary argued, the distinction between population-level and individual-level approaches is a false dichotomy. Yes, we should be restricting advertising and price promotions of junk food, but we also need high quality, accessible, multi-disciplinary treatment services for those with severe and complex obesity – and not just people with type 2 diabetes (the target of the Strategy). Continue Reading

  • May 30 / 2017
  • 0
Current Affairs

On 13 Reasons Why: Acknowledging those working in suicide prevention

Photo by Elisa Riva. © 2017 Pixabay. Used with permission under the license of Creative Commons. Via Startup Stock Photos.

By Katerina Kavalidou 

No matter what you are going through, there is help out there; suicide is not the solution”

The above is an important message from Professor Rory O’Connor, an expert on suicide research and prevention, regarding the recent airing of 13 Reasons Why, a TV series about a teenage girl’s suicide. Reading this, I started thinking about one particular group of people working on suicide prevention: those who pick up the calls at suicide helplines. Continue Reading

  • Oct 05 / 2016
  • 1
Current Affairs, Tiago Zortea

Suicide prevention at the individual level: The role of empathy in saving lives

Photo by Korney Violin. © Dec 2015. Used with permission under the license of Creative Commons. Via Unsplash.

Photo by Korney Violin. © Dec 2015. Used with permission under the license of Creative Commons. Via Unsplash.

By Tiago Zortea

 

Every year, the 10th of September marks world suicide prevention day, with thousands of people across the globe calling for action to reduce deaths by suicide and save lives [1]. Suicide prevention strategies can be implemented at several different levels with interventions including: (i) restricting individuals’ access to the means of suicide, (ii) promoting responsible media coverage of suicide, (iii) improving mental health care systems and training health professionals, and finally (iv) ensuring societal support for the implementation of these interventions. Continue Reading

  • Jul 05 / 2016
  • 1
Current Affairs

The Social Distribution of Physical Activity: Can Bourdieu Help?

Photo by Josiah Mackenzie © April 5, 2009. Used with permission under the license of Creative Commons.

Photo by Josiah Mackenzie © April 5, 2009. Used with permission under the license of Creative Commons.

By Dr Chris Bunn and Dr Victoria Palmer 

Chris and Victoria are at the University of Bristol this week, speaking at the annual conference of the British Sociological Association’s Bourdieu Study Group. In this blog post they reflect on the value that Bourdieu’s work on the social distribution of culture and taste could have for those working in applied health contexts, such physical activity promotion.

We are all familiar with the public health campaigns that tell us to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, to stop smoking and limit alcohol intake, watch our weight and do regular physical activity. These messages are the most visible manifestations of the public health agenda. They operate, through campaigns such as ‘Change 4 Life’, as a form of counter-ideology that attempts to contest the many incitements to consume health-damaging foods, drinks and sedentary activities that circulate in our media-saturated societies. However, these campaigns – sometimes dubbed ‘social marketing’ – tend to take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to their audiences. Continue Reading

  • May 05 / 2016
  • 0
Current Affairs

Health, Wellbeing and the 2016 Scottish election

twittwer_elections

In the days running up to the Scottish elections IHAWKES has been asking the question: what are the most critical policy issues for health and wellbeing?

Here is a selection of the tweets we received in response:

Andrea E Williamson‏@aewilliamsonl

@IHAWKES1 Single disease models OUT! The role that mental health has in engagement in care -INEXTRICABLY linked to multi-morbidity.

8:07 AM – 4 May 2016

********** Continue Reading

  • Jan 27 / 2016
  • 0
Current Affairs

Science and Semantics: Focus on Immigration

Photo LA(PHOT) Jay Allen ©. Royal Navy Media Archive. Used with permission under Creative Commons license.

By Louis Nerurkar:

In recent months the media has repeatedly discussed the waves of “economic migrants” entering Europe as they attempt to flee from the conflicts that have displaced them. In this context the word economic is often used to imply that the decision to journey to the United Kingdom was taken with the sole purpose of acquiring increased income and exploiting the welfare systems that exist across much of Europe. Continue Reading

  • Nov 25 / 2015
  • 1
Current Affairs, David Blane

Time for a sugar tax?

Photo by Thomas Kelley ©. Unsplash. Used with permission.

By David Blane:

League tables are everywhere, and no-one wants to be bottom of the class.  In terms of health indicators, considerable efforts have been made across Scotland in recent years to shrug off the unfortunate title of “sick man of Europe”, but another dubious accolade is up for grabs.  With some of the worst obesity figures among OECD countries – almost two-thirds of adults and a third of children were considered to be overweight in 2013 [1] – Scotland is in danger of topping the chart as the “fat man of Europe”. Continue Reading

  • Nov 11 / 2015
  • 0
Current Affairs

Eleanor Rigby, Loneliness, and Suicide

Photo by Joshua Earle ©. Unsplash. Used with permission.

By Tiago Zortea:

“Ah look at all the lonely people!
All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?”

The thought provoking, sad, and very reflective Beatles’ song, Eleanor Rigby shocked me when I listened to it for the first time many years ago. For a teenager who was starting to understand how life works and how to navigate relationships, I found the song extremely thought provoking. Who wants to be lonely? Who wishes to have no bonds? Though the music expert Richie Unterberger suggests that Eleanor Rigby focuses on “the neglected concerns and fates of the elderly”, the song tells us about a human experience that can be devastating regardless of age: the constant feeling of being lonely. Continue Reading

  • Sep 10 / 2015
  • 1
Current Affairs

Suicide Prevention: From Illness and Risk Factors, to Thoughts and Actions

Photo by Austin Ban ©. Unsplash. Used with permission.

 

By Tiago Zortea

As a PhD student carrying out research in suicidality, I am recurrently asked why people take their own lives. The thing is, there is not an obvious, quick, or complete answer. Suicide is a complex phenomenon, and it involves biological, psychological and social factors that interact with each other, and these interactions vary across cultures, genders, and ages. The main reason why researchers have been working so hard to understand it and to develop effective interventions is the fact that there is no time to lose when the aim is saving lives; equivalently, someone dies by suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world [1]. Continue Reading

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