86529 September 2005 - Brighton - Better School FoodFood in SchoolsMargaret Atkins Communications29/09/200529/09/2005
BETTER SCHOOL FOOD CONFERENCE
Thursday September 29 2005 University of Sussex, Falmer, Nr Brighton 10.15am - 4.15pm
Chaired by David Hawker, Director of Schools & Children's Services, Brighton and Hove
The purpose of this event is to:
Provide updated information on health and education policy relating to School Food
Launch the 'Food in Schools Toolkit' across the region
To explore the impact of poor diet on learning and behaviour
To provide an opportunity for health and education professionals to meet and network
To highlight examples of good local practice
PRESENTATIONS from experts and decision makers in this field including:
Tabitha Jay, Obesity Programme Lead at the Department of Health
Dr Alex Richardson, Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford
Dr Martin Caraher, Reader in Food Policy, City University
Lesley Taylor, Regional Children & Young People Strategy Team
Colin Noble, National Healthy Schools Programme, DH
POSTERS AND EXHIBITION DISPLAYS
PARALLEL SESSIONS on themes including:
improving quality and influencing contracts
schools and communities
Your chance to meet with fellow health and education professionals concerned with the future of school food within South East region.
10.15am - 4.15pmUniversity of Sussex, Falmer, Nr BrightonMargaret Atkins Communications01732 74664429-Sep-2005 Better School Food - flyer and reg form.docDownload Conference Details and Registration Form here
90629 September 2005 - The Scotsman - Kelly pledges new rules to tackle 'scandal' of junk food in schoolsKelly pledges new rules to tackle 'scandal' of junk food in schools29/09/2005Gerri Peev
VENDING machines dispensing junk food are to be banned in schools across England after Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, pledged to tackle the "scandal" of children's diets.
As obesity among youngsters increases, ministers have raised the amount to be spent on school meals. And Ms Kelly told Labour's conference that cheap processed sausages and burgers would be banned in schools from next September.
Westminster is following Scotland in revamping menus to make them healthier; Jack McConnell, the First Minister, has already pledged to ban junk food from school vending machines.
Schools in England that had previously tried to rid their machines of crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks had been warned that they risked breaching their contractual obligations with manufacturers.
Despite some reluctance from headteachers, who warned any ban would simply lead to children smuggling junk food into their lunch boxes instead, Ms Kelly yesterday vowed to push through the changes by next year. "I am absolutely clear: the scandal of junk food served every day in school canteens must end," she said.
Tougher new rules will be brought in, limiting the amount of sugar, fat and salt in school meals, but the move will require fresh legislation. Vending machines will be stocked with milk, bottled water and fresh fruit if the changes are approved.
The government promised to improve the quality of school meals after a high-profile campaign by TV chef Jamie Oliver.
Scotland has been ahead of England in trying to improve the diets of our school children, as witnessed by their 'Hungry for Success' programme), but it is clear that there is still a long way to go.
First, schools need more resources to deliver the changes needed. Second, and more fundamentally, what children eat and drink is not just the responsibility of schools. To succeed in improving children's diets requires support from the rest of society - and again, the rest of the UK would do well to emulate other Scottish initiatives such as the Health Education Board for Scotland Healthy Eating program. Parents and health professionals play key roles, but the wider context also includes public awareness, peer pressures, food advertising, and the price and availability of healthy foods.
Increasing rates of obesity may be the most visible consequence of junk food diets - but what poor nutrition is doing to our brains is even more important. To effect real change, the general public, professionals and policymakers all need to work together - but all of them need access to reliable evidence of 'what really works'.
The mission of FAB Research is to provide more of that evidence, and to make it accessible to everyone - but despite the huge interest in our work from parents, professionals and policymakers worldwide, our work is still funded entirely by voluntary donations. Please join us if you can. The issues are too important to ignore - and they affect all of us.
http://news.scotsman.com/politics.cfm?id=2009322005Read this article in The Scotsman herets.jpgThe Scotsman logo
910Feed Me Better CampaignFeed me better campaign; Jamie Oliver; Jamie Oliver's school dinners29/09/2005
Jamie Oliver's been campaigning to ban the junk and get fresh, tasty and, above all, nutritious food back on the school dinners menu. Help us prove that school meals can be better. Start a revolution in your school dining hall.
http://www.feedmebetter.com/Click here to start a revolution at your school!
911Food in Schools ProgrammeFood in schools programme29/09/2005
For the last three years both the Department of Health and Department for Education and Skills have been working on a Food in Schools programme that aims to help schools implement a whole school approach to food education and healthy eating.
The website will provide valuable guidance and resources for anyone working in or with a school on food related activities throughout the school day, including teachers, parents, school governors, head teachers, pupils and health professionals. There is information on a broad range of activities from guidance on how to set up a school food partnership or a healthier breakfast club to details of local Healthy School's support networks.
http://www.foodinschools.org/View the Food in Schools website here
The National Health Promoting Schools Website has information and resources to help schools take positive steps towards better health and well-being.
Schools in Scotland have been set the target of becoming a health promoting school by 2007. This involves a whole school approach to promoting the physical, social, spiritual, mental and emotional well-being of all pupils and staff.
http://www.healthpromotingschools.co.uk/View Health Promoting Schools website here
907Hungry For Success: A Whole School Approach to School Meals in Scotland29/09/2005
In 2002, the Scottish Executive introduced national nutrition standards for school lunches in a bid to tackle the highest levels of child obesity in Europe. The result was a radical - and inspirational - re-structuring of the whole school meals sector.
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/education/hfs-00.aspView Hungry For Success website herehfs.pdfDownload the report in PDF format
90528 September 2005 - BBC Website - Junk food to be banned in schoolsJunk food to be banned in schoolsBBC Website28/09/2005
Foods high in fat, salt or sugar are to be banned from meals and vending machines in English schools.
The ban, from next September, has been announced by Education Secretary Ruth Kelly at the Labour Party conference.
Vending machines in schools will not be allowed to sell chocolates, crisps or fizzy drinks, Ms Kelly announced. The School Meals Review Panel next week will give details of the nutritional standards for ingredients to be allowed in school meals.
Junk food scandal
"I am absolutely clear that the scandal of junk food served every day in school canteens must end," said Ms Kelly. "So today I can announce that we will ban poor quality processed bangers and burgers being served in schools from next September."
The review panel, an expert advisory group, was set up after a campaign to improve school meals by TV chef Jamie Oliver. In response, the government promised extra funding to bring the primary school meal budget up to 50p per pupil per day, with 60p for secondaries - and created the panel to set minimum nutritional standards. These will be introduced from this term - and will become mandatory from September 2006. Monitoring the standards of food served to pupils will be part of the responsibility of Ofsted school inspectors.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Ms Kelly said it was "common sense" that some sorts of foods should be excluded from school menus. "For example, meat products that are made from reconstituted meat slurry that bears no resemblance to the original product."
But plans to raise the standard of school food will not benefit pupils in local authorities where there is no school meals service. Shadow education secretary David Cameron said: "We welcome this belated U-turn from Ruth Kelly. At the election ministers rejected Conservative proposals to extend a ban on junk food to vending machines, so this is a positive step."
But tighter standards were only part of the solution. "They must be backed by sufficient resources for schools to provide the extra staff and kitchen facilities required - two crucial elements which are not being met in many schools."
Welsh Education Minister Jane Davidson said: "In Wales we have already set up a new group which will be looking at how to improve the quality and nutritional standards of school meals and to ensure we have a consistent and coherent approach to driving forward improvements in food and nutrition in our schools."
Nutritional standards were introduced a few years ago for meals in Scotland's schools, which typically spend more on ingredients than those in England.
The Northern Ireland School Caterers Association says schools there cook from fresh ingredients and do not rely as heavily on convenience foods as those in England.
As well as presenting plans to improve school food, Ms Kelly also pointed to the priorities of her forthcoming White Paper - including the need for greater parental choice. "Every parent should be able to choose the school that is right for their child. "For too long, access to some schools has only been open to those who could afford to buy an expensive house next to a good school, while the rest were told to accept what they'd been given. There was nothing fair about that approach," she said.
She promised more good schools, improved transport, advice for parents and fair admissions. And she emphasised the importance of city academies, "working at the heart of our most deprived communities".
FOODS LIKELY TO BE BANNED
Burgers and sausages from 'meat slurry' and 'mechanically recovered meat'. Sweets including chewing gum, liquorice, mints, fruit pastilles, toffees and marsh mallows. Chocolates and chocolate biscuits. Snacks such as crisps, tortilla chips, salted nuts, onion rings and rice crackers.
LIKELY TO BE EXEMPT
Bread products such as crumpets, English muffins, bagels and croissants. Cakes and biscuits made fresh by school caterers, digestive and ginger nut biscuits, cake bars, iced buns and doughnuts. Yoghurts, dried fruit, unsalted nuts, peanut and raisin mixes and unsalted popcorn.
It is obviously very welcome news that the UK government has finally seen the need to do *something* towards reducing the amount of junk food consumed by children in our schools.
These recent announcements are clearly a step in the right direction - but for schools to provide nutritious lunches even for 50-60p per pupil remains a challenge, and many lack the facilities and staff to do this. Furthermore - if schools lose income as a result of the removal of crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks from vending machines, will the government increase their budgets correspondingly?
These things remain to be seen, but many other people - particularly parents and health professionals - also need to play their part in changing what has too long been 'A Rotten Way to Feed the Children'.
In collaboration with other groups, FAB Research will not only keep campaigning on this issue - but we will also keep providing the real scientific evidence that food and diet affect not just physical health, but also our behaviour, learning and mood. We consider it scandalous that official dietary standards still take no account of the brain's nutritional needs, because much of the research needed to determine these has simply never been done. With no statutory funding, and because we consider it essential to keep such research free from commercial influences, we rely entirely on voluntary donations to support our work - so please join us if you can.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4287712.stmView this article on the BBC website here_40851908_brekkie203.jpg
88020-21 September - Reading - We are what we eat - children's nutrition in the 21st centuryBritish Association for Community Child HealthBACCH20/09/200521/09/2005
British Association for Community Child Health - Annual Scientific Meeting
Provisional meeting programme
Tuesday 20 September DAY ONE
09.30 Registration and coffee 10.00 Welcome - Professor Mary Rudolf 10.10 Keynote lecture. The importance of early nutrition. Professor Alan Lucas, MRC Clinical research Professor, Institute of Child Health 10.55 CPHIG keynote lecture. Defusing the obesity time bomb. Dr Susan Jebb, Head of Nutrition and Health Research, Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research centre (HNR) 11.40 Coffee and exhibition 12.10 Free paper session 1.15 Lunch, posters and exhibition 2.15 - 3.15 Workshops/seminars 3.25 - 4.30 Workshops/seminars Two workshops to be selected from the following:
Obesity - Dr Matt Sabin, Research Registrar, Bristol Hospital for Children
Iron deficiency anaemia - Dr Rob Moy, Senior Lecturer in Community Child Health, Birmingham & Anne Aukett, Consultant Community Paediatrician, Birmingham
Eating difficulties in young children - leader to be confirmed
Food allergies - Dr Warren Hyer, Consultant Paediatrician and Paediatric Gastroenterologist Northwick Park and St Mark's Hospital
Eating disorders - Dr Dasha Nichols, Consultant Psychiatrist, Institute of Child Health
Suggestions for a breastfeeding baby who is not growing - Mary Smale, Breastfeeding counsellor for the National Childbirth Trust
Constipation - Dr Ursula Butler, Consultant Community Paediatrician, Sheffield Children's Trust
Development of children's eating skills - Gill Harris, Birmingham's Children's Hospital
4.30 Tea and exhibition 5.0 Keynote lecture. Seizing the Opportunities to Improve the Lives and Health of Children and Young People. Professor Al Aynsley-Green, Nuffield Professor of Child Health, Institute of Child Health 5.45 BACCH Annual General Meeting 8.00 Dinner (Bar opens at 6.15pm)
Wednesday 21 September DAY TWO
8.30 Coffee and registration (2nd day attenders) 9.00 British Academy of Childhood Disability BACD Keynote lecture. Chair - Dr Jane Williams, Consultant Paediatrician, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham. Nutrition, health and development in children with disabilities. Dr Lewis Rosenbloom, Honorary Consultant Paediatric Neurologist, Liverpool 9.45 Parallel sessions: Free paper/ Personal practice 11.00 Coffee and exhibition 11.30 Child protection Special Interest Group Session. Food fads and eating disorders - when is it child protection? Hilary Davies and Libby Read, Family therapists, Dept of Psychological Medicine, Great Ormond Street Hospital 12.15 Workshops
The role of nutrition in children's behaviour, learning and mood. Dr Alex Richardson, Senior Research Fellow, University Lab of Physiology, Oxford; and co-director, Food And Behaviour Research.
Writing community paediatric exam questions for MRCPCH. Workshop leader tbc
Trainees' Workshop. Dr Gabrielle Laing, Consultant Paediatrician, City and Hackney PCT
Gastrostomy and weaning off tube feeding. Dr Peter Sullivan, University Lecturer in Paediatrics, John Radcliffe Hospital
Eating difficulties and the autistic spectrum. Liz Shea, Clinical Psychologist, Birmingham Children's Hospital
Food poverty - a toolkit for implementing local strategy. Professor Nick Spencer, Professor of Community Paediatrics, University of Warwick
Aspiration and eating safely. Sue Strudwick, Speech and Language Therapist, Kingston Hospital
What's really on the label? - improving communication between manufacturers and parents. Kath Dalmenny, Policy Officer, Food Commission
Failure to thrive. Dr Chris Hobbs, Consultant Paediatrician, St James' University Hospital, Leeds
1.15 Lunch, posters and exhibition 2.15 Workshops (as above) 3.30 BACCH 'University Challenge'. Compered by Dr David Vickers, BACCH Convener Teams from each of the Special Interest Groups 4.15 Award of challenge, CATCH and 'Child' prizes
4.30 Tea and Close
Two daysReadingUniversity of Readingbacch@rcpch.ac.uk020 7307 5625
93413 September 2005 - The Guardian - For the concerned fish eater: a guide to what's safe, what's healthy, and what's sustainableFish, sustainability, omega-3, fish stocks, pollution13/09/2005by Felicity Lawrence
Only organic farmed fish is recommended Government gives contradictory advice
The dilemma of the concerned fish consumer grows more acute each day, it seems. Should you put your own health, enhanced by the goodness of oily fish rich in omega-3, before the wellbeing of the world's dwindling fish stocks?
Sales of fish oil supplements have soared, propelled by reports suggesting it can increase longevity and even improve children's behaviour. Yet environmentalists warn that stocks of many fish are over-exploited, and we should stop eating them. They say toxins such as cancer-causing dioxins and PCBs have built up in the fatty tissue of fish thanks to decades of industrial pollution of the seas.
So which way to turn?
At last the conflicting advice has been pulled together. In a report published this week, the food and farming organisation Sustain has analysed information from seven authoritative sources - the UK Food Standards Agency, marine conservation societies in the UK and Australia, the Royal Society of Chemistry and specialist organisations monitoring the oceans around the world - to draw up a list of fish that are both sustainable and healthy.
Top for health are oily fish high in omega-3s but generally free of contaminants. The 10 fish that fall into this category and are sustainably caught and available in the UK are herring, kippers, pilchards, sardines, sprats, trout (not farmed), whitebait, anchovies, carp (farmed) and mussels.
Of these, sardines, pilchards and sprats have the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. Tinned tuna contains very little because the fat has been squeezed out to be sold as animal feed. Fresh tuna is a good source of omega-3s, but is generally contaminated with mercury. Only pole-caught skipjack, yellowfin, albacore and bigeye tuna is sustainably fished.
Other fish that are safe and sustainably caught include striped farmed bass, white bass, pacific cod, dover sole, alaskan and pacific halibut, red mullet, cold-water (but not warm-water) prawns, tilapia and turbot. These are not, however, oily fish and while they have many beneficial nutrients and are recommended, they are not high in the omega-3 fatty acids that research suggests many of us need more of.
The list of fish that qualify on all counts is not long, but the report's editor, Jeanette Longfield, says "unless people change what they eat, and governments stop running scared of vested interests, we're simply going to run out of fish".
To read the rest of this article, click on the link below.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/food/Story/0,2763,1568652,00.htmlRead the full text of this article in the Guardian online herehaddock on ice.jpg
This year's conference will focus on two major issues. Dr Alex Richardson will talk about the relationship between behaviour and nutrition. Dr Alan Watkins will address the issue of emotions as they relate to managing a child with autism and an ANA team.
Dietary Issues in Autistic Spectrum Disorders - Can Nutrition Help? Alex Richardson
Nutritional and biochemical approaches are not yet standard practice in the identification or management of autistic spectrum disorders, but increasing evidence shows that dietary factors can affect behaviour, learning and mood as well as physical health, and that many of these may be of particular relevance to individuals with autistic spectrum disorders. In this talk, Alex Richardson will explain the latest scientific research into dietary factors in autism and its practical implications for parents and professionals. Key points will include:
Why a nutritional approach to autism and related developmental conditions makes sense
Omega 3 fatty acids and the brain - getting the fats right
Other key nutrients - vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential amino acids
Digestion and intestinal health - enzymes, gut flora and membrane permeability
Food allergies and intolerances - immune reactions and behaviour patterns
Dietary interventions for autism - theory and evidence
Practical approaches - your questions answered
10.00am - 4.00pmReading, BerksReading Town Hall, Blagrave Street, RG1 1QHinfo@peach.org.uk10-Sep 2005 Peach conference flyer.pdfDownload conference details and booking form here
88707 September 2005 - The Independent - Go to school on an egg The right foods can improve reading skills and even increase IQ. Jane Feinmann picks out the ingredients that will boost brain power and give your child a head start in class07/09/2005
"Could do better" was the mantra that regularly appeared on Elliot Best's school reports - and so it proved. Three years ago, he was eight years old and headed for educational mediocrity: apathetic at school, he found reading "boring", and at home he preferred to lie on the sofa and watch TV than to do his homework.
In the space of a few weeks in 2002, however, all that changed. Elliot became a bookworm who tore through Harry Potter and developed a passion for classical music and a talent for story-writing. Within three months, his reading age advanced 18 months and he gained top marks in his SAT tests at the end of the last school year. "His teachers are predicting a great future," says his mother, Sheila. "It's wonderful."
The catalyst for this apparently miraculous change was half a gram of fish oil, delivered daily at Elliot's school by researchers undertaking probably the largest ever investigation into the link between intelligence, behaviour and nutrition. Elliot was one of 117 underachieving children, aged between five and 12, from 12 Durham schools who participated in the groundbreaking study to test the impact of a daily dose of omega-3 rich fish oil. Omega-3 is known to be essential for brain development and function, and largely missing in modern diets.
Half the children were given the supplement for three months while the other half received a placebo. During this time, measurements were made of their motor skills, IQ, spelling, reading and behaviour. The results, published in the US journal Pediatrics in May this year, were unambiguous: they showed an average increase of between 9.5 and 13.5 months in reading age when children were taking the supplement, with similar improvements in behaviour and spelling.
Independent scientific guidelines now recommend the half-gram dose generally for cardiovascular health, and for developing and maintaining cognitive performance and IQ. So, with the new school year upon us, should parents stock up on fish-oil supplements as well as shiny new school shoes?
Sadly, even for low-achieving children, fish oil does not appear to be a panacea. Experts are still divided on the subject and parents are confused. For many psychologists, previously the sole source of therapy for behavioural and learning problems, there is still not enough evidence to suggest that fish oil supplementation is anything other than a "quick fix", designed to persuade gullible parents that struggling children can improve academically without the hard work. Preliminary evidence may seem persuasive, warns Professor Eric Taylor, a child neuro-psychiatrist at King's College London, "but we cannot say yet that this is a recognised therapy".
Part of the unease, perhaps, is due to the fact that the research received extensive TV exposure before the results were even in. BBC 1's The Human Mind, starring nine-year-old Elliot and the rest of the Durham children, was transmitted in October 2003, long before the codes to establish which group had been on the fish oils and which had been on the placebo had been broken. A year later, the series Child of Our Time focused on the impact of fish oil on two four-year-olds: aggressive James and uncommunicative Ruben, both of whom were seen to benefit from treatment - anecdotal evidence, seen on screen by millions, that was both unscientific and hugely persuasive.
Both programmes prompted parents to clear shelves in health food shops and pharmacies of fish-oil products; manufacturers were at one point claiming a 3,000 per cent increase in sales over a 12-month period. "I'm interested in trying my three-year-old on those fish-oil tablets 'cause he's a right handful at the moment," was a typical posting on the BBC's online message board the week after Child of Our Time was transmitted.
But the lead researcher in the Durham study, Alex Richardson, is doubtful that good TV and good science go together. Dr Richardson, a senior research fellow at Oxford University, who funds her studies exclusively through independent grants and charities such as the Dyslexia Research Trust, has watched with concern as supplement companies "make fortunes" from research to which they contribute nothing, or jump on the bandwagon with high-profile, inaccurate advertising campaigns for products that claim to be "omega-3 rich" - "an orange juice that claims to be rich in omega-3 fat while containing barely a trace, for instance", says Dr Richardson.
While the original Durham study was as rigorous as any pharmaceutical trial, more recent "research" has involved little more than monitoring groups of children taking supplements. In June, research on pre-school children taking the supplements showed "dramatic" behavourial improvements in 60 per cent of disruptive toddlers when given fish oil. A Horizon programme, to be screened this autumn, has filmed the impact on 200 children taking the supplements. Yet without the rigour of a properly controlled trial, comments Dr Richardson, "the chances are that you'll simply end up with a record of what happens when you place children and their parents in front of a TV camera."
Yet with fish consumption at historically low levels, the growing consensus is that it is essential to supplement the daily diet to ensure a healthy level of omega-3 fats. What's more, new evidence is showing up what components of the oil are most important. For several years, researchers believed that DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) was the important fatty acid, as it is found in the structure of the brain. Increasingly, however, evidence points to EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) as playing a greater role in brain development and function. "EPA improves blood-flow to the brain, but it also helps to manufacture hormones that boost brain function - and, probably most importantly, acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent, boosting the immune system," says Dr Richardson.
Green leafy vegetables, along with flaxseed and walnut oil, and fortified eggs, contain small amounts of a simpler omega-3 fat - a vegetarian source of EPA, albeit not an efficient one. By far the best source of EPA is oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, pilchards, anchovies, herring, sardines and tuna - challenging tastes even for children with adventurous palates. Sadly, tinned tuna, a mainstay of packed lunchboxes, is significantly, though not entirely, defatted in the canning process. "The smell is too strong," explains the nutritionist Suzannah Olivier, author of Healthy Food for Happy Kids. She recommends mashed sardines on toast as a regular tea-time snack. "Introduce it early on, at two or three," she advises. "If you leave it until later, they may decide they don't like it."
Dr Richardson recommends always getting nutrients from diet as far as possible. Where supplements are needed, however, you should choose products clearly marked as marine fish oil with higher levels of EPA than DHA. The Durham trial used Eye Q, but Dr Richardson's latest trials use MorEPA, which is sold on the internet through Healthy and Essential Ltd (healthyandessential.co.uk) and requires only two capsules daily instead of Eye Q's six. Other products aimed at this market include Efamol's Efalex (although this contains more DHA than EPA) and OM3junior from Isodisnatura.co.uk.
Meanwhile, a product launched today is a sign that business is waking up to the evidence that we're all going short of omega-3s. ProBrain from Seven Seas is one of the first omega-3 products aimed at adults who feel that they, too, could do better.
Need to know
The following menu, devised by the nutritionist Suzannah Olivier, provides your child with omega-3 oils, fibre and slow-release energy, for optimum alertness and school performance.
BREAKFAST Omega-3 rich boiled egg (organic) and wholemeal toast with a piece of fruit and glass of milk
PACKED LUNCH Tinned tuna wholemeal sandwich with lettuce, a small piece of cheese (or a cheese and tomato wholemeal sandwich), carrot sticks, a carton of yoghurt and a piece of fruit
HOMETIME SNACK Oatcakes with a small box of raisins or a cracker spread with mashed banana
DINNER Grilled salmon steaks with boiled new potatoes and spinach or broccoli with a fruit crumble made from dried or fresh fruit
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/article310696.eceRead this article in the Independent online here
899TFX (The Campaign Against Trans Fats in Food)Ban Trans Fats06/09/2005
Trans fats are stealth killers lurking in our food, causing the early deaths of many thousands of people a year in the UK. They are mainly found in hydrogenated vegetable oil and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, common ingredients in thousands of food products.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, at least 30,000 people, and probably more like 100,000 people a year in the USA die prematurely from coronary heart disease as a result of eating trans fats. If Britons are dying in similar proportions to population, some 5,000 - 20,000 people could be dying prematurely every year in the UK, or 15 - 60 people every day.
The aims of TFX.org.uk are:
to persuade Government to place an upper limit on trans fats both in food, and in oils and fats used in the preparation of food, as has already taken place in Denmark
leading up to a ban, to persuade Government regulators to make labelling of trans fats compulsory, in much the same way as saturated fat and total fat content already are stated on nutrition labels (as will be legally required in the USA from 1 January 2006)
to persuade the food industry to voluntarily reduce levels of trans fats in their products, or eliminate them altogether
to persuade the food industry to voluntarily label trans fats in products, as detailed above.
902Bottiglieri & Diaz-Arrastia 2005 - Hyperhomocysteinemia and cognitive function: more than just a casual link?Hyperhomocysteinemia and cognitive function: more than just a casual link?Hyperhomocysteinemia and cognitive function: more than just a casual link?Bottiglieri T, Diaz-Arrastia R.01/09/2005Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 82(3)493-4.
Over the past 2 decades, numerous epidemiologic studies have confirmed that elevated plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) is associated with an increased risk of vascular diseases, including cardiovascular, peripheral vascular, and cerebral vascular disease (1, 2). Because elevated plasma tHcy is effectively treated with B vitamin supplements (folic acid, vitamin B-12, and vitamin B-6), therapy that is inexpensive and well tolerated, an explosion of clinical and basic research on the vascular effects of hyperhomocysteinemia has occurred over the past decade.
Vascular disease has deleterious effects on various organs of the body, and the brain is particularly susceptible. Elevated tHcy is now a recognized risk factor for vascular dementia. More surprising have been a series of observations from cross-sectional and prospective epidemiologic studies that elevated tHcy is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer disease (AD) and with cognitive problems in the elderly that fall short of dementia.
In this issue of the Journal, Ravaglia et al (3) present the latest data on this issue, which led them to conclude that elevated plasma tHcy and low serum folate concentrations are independent predictors of AD development. The prospective and longitudinal nature of this study provides an important measure of confidence to their conclusions. The authors point out that several case-control and cross-sectional studies have reported an association between AD and elevated plasma tHcy. However, only 2 prospective longitudinal studies, which have conflicting results, have appeared in the literature. The findings of the current study by Ravaglia et al confirm previous findings from the Framingham Study (4), which indicate that hyperhomocysteinemia is associated with a 2-fold increase in the relative risk of developing AD. The negative findings from the Washington Heights–Inwood Columbia Ageing Project (WHICAP) (5) were dismissed on the basis of insufficient statistical power and other methodologic issues. There are other important findings of the study by Ravaglia et al. The increased risk of developing AD in hyperhomocysteinemic persons remained unchanged even after subjects with brain imaging evidence of vascular disease were excluded. Although elevated tHcy may promote vascular disease that contributes to AD pathology, it may also have other direct neurotoxic effects. Another interesting aspect of this study, which was conducted in Italy (where food fortification is not mandated), was the observation that low folate status is independently associated with an increased risk of developing AD—a finding not evident in the Framingham Study or WHICAP.
Another article in this issue, by Tucker et al (6), presents data on the relation between tHcy, B vitamins, and cognitive decline that falls short of dementia. Study subjects from the VA Normative Aging Study were assessed over a 3-y period before the fortification of food sources with folate. On the basis of both plasma concentrations and dietary intake assessments, this longitudinal study showed that tHcy, folate, vitamin B-12, and vitamin B-6 are independently associated with various measures of cognitive decline. Although elevated plasma tHcy was shown to be associated with memory recall, low plasma folate was shown to be associated with constructural praxis after adjustment for tHcy and other B vitamins. These independent associations highlight a central argument in this field of research: whether elevated plasma tHcy is merely a marker for deficiencies in folate and other B vitamins or whether it is more directly involved in cognitive function and dementia. Recent data from studies in Parkinson disease (PD) argue for a more direct neurotoxic role for Hcy in central nervous system function. In the setting of L-dopa therapy for PD, hyperhomocysteinemia results from an excessive methylation burden rather than from a vitamin deficiency, and PD patients with elevated plasma tHcy and normal B vitamin status are more likely to be cognitively impaired and depressed (7).
Epidemiologic studies, even when elegantly designed and rigorously conducted, cannot address the issue of causality. The available data are consistent with the hypothesis that elevated tHcy is toxic to the nervous system; however, the possibility that elevated plasma tHcy is simply a marker of an underlying neurodegenerative process cannot be excluded. In the latter case, therapy aimed at correcting hyperhomocysteinemia will not be effective at correcting neurodegeneration. Studies to address this important issue will have to focus in 2 directions. First, molecular and animal model studies are needed to identify as precisely as possible the neuropathogenic mechanisms associated with tHcy elevations. The metabolic relations between homocysteine, folate, and B vitamins are intimate and complex. The consequences of hyperhomocysteinemia or B vitamin deficiency and the potentially associated neurotoxic mechanisms involved are equally complex. These consequences have been discussed in various reviews (8-11) and include the following: Hcy-induced atherosclerosis; neurotoxicity from the activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors; hypomethylation of DNA, proteins, lipids, and neurotransmitters; increased oxidative stress; and increased ß-amyloid toxicity. It is probable that multiple mechanisms, perhaps acting synergistically, may be responsible for the pathophysiologic consequences of hyperhomocysteinemia and B vitamin deficiency. Fortunately, animal models are now available to test these possibilities. Second, clinical studies are needed to determine whether the correction of tHcy concentrations results in cognitive improvement or, at a minimum, protection from cognitive deterioration. Several secondary treatment trials are currently underway. Although we eagerly await their results, we must realize that the epidemiologic literature indicates that the toxic effects of elevated plasma tHcy may occur over years or decades, which raises the possibility that the ongoing secondary therapy trials may fail to identify a beneficial effect of tHcy-lowering therapy. Primary treatment trials are expensive and lengthy, and, although such trials are ultimately necessary, clinical scientists must first take advantage of insights from preclinical studies to design more feasible studies that use biomarkers or neuroimaging as surrogate endpoints.
The direction pointed to by excellent epidemiologic studies, such as those conducted by Ravaglia et al and Tucker et al and published in this issue of the Journal, should stimulate exciting studies over the next decade. Although it is unlikely that the answers will be simple, the potential to ameliorate one of the major public health burdens facing developed nations today is substantial.
None of the authors had a conflict of interest.
1. Kaplan ED. Association between homocyst(e)ine levels and risk of vascular events. Drugs Today 2003;39:175-92.
2. The Homocysteine Studies Collaboration. Homocysteine and risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke: a meta-analysis. JAMA 2002;288:2015-22.
hyperhomocystemia, homocysteine, Vit_B, B6, B12, folate, methionine, methylation, cognition, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disease, review, free full texthttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16155257View this and related abstracts via PubMed here. Free full text of this article is available from the AJCN website
1283Effect of randomized supplementation with high dose olive, flax or fish oil on serum phospholipid fatty acid levels in adults with ADHD.Effect of randomized supplementation with high dose olive, flax or fish oil on serum phospholipid fatty acid levels in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.Effect of randomized supplementation with high dose olive, flax or fish oil on serum phospholipid fatty acid levels in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.Young GS, Conquer JA, Thomas R01/09/2005Reprod Nutr Dev. 45(5)549-58.
Dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids has been positively correlated with cardiovascular and neuropsychiatric health in several studies. The high seafood intake by the Japanese and Greenland Inuit has resulted in low ratios of the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6) to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3), with the Japanese showing AA:EPA ratios of approximately 1.7 and the Greenland Eskimos showing ratios of approximately 0.14. It was the objective of this study to determine the effect of supplementation with high doses (60 g) of flax and fish oils on the blood phospholipid (PL) fatty acid status, and AA/EPA ratio of individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), commonly associated with decreased blood omega-3 fatty acid levels. Thirty adults with ADHD were randomized to 12 weeks of supplementation with olive oil (< 1% omega-3 fatty acids), flax oil (source of alpha-linolenic acid; 18:3n-3; alpha-LNA) or fish oil (source of EPA and docosahexaenoic acid; 22:6n-3; DHA). Serum PL fatty acid levels were determined at baseline and at 12 weeks. Flax oil supplementation resulted in an increase in alpha-LNA and a slight decrease in the ratio of AA/EPA, while fish oil supplementation resulted in increases in EPA, DHA and total omega-3 fatty acids and a decrease in the AA/EPA ratio to values seen in the Japanese population. These data suggest that in order to increase levels of EPA and DHA in adults with ADHD, and decrease the AA/EPA ratio to levels seen in high fish consuming populations, high dose fish oil may be preferable to high dose flax oil. Future study is warranted to determine whether correction of low levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids is of therapeutic benefit in this population.
ADHD, adults, dietary supplementation, omega-3, flaxseed oil, fish oil, ALA, EPA, DHA, EFA-HUFA conversionhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16188207?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=2&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmedView this and related abstracts via PubMed here
895Galler et al 2005 - Behavioral Effects of Childhood MalnutritionBehavioral Effects of Childhood MalnutritionBehavioral Effects of Childhood MalnutritionGaller AR, Waber D, Harrison R, Ramsey F01/09/2005American Journal Of Psychiatry1621760-b-1761
We read with interest the recent article by Jianghong Liu, Ph.D., et al. (1). For the past 35 years, we have been studying behavioral outcomes of Barbadian children with histories of protein-energy malnutrition or kwashiorkor in their first year of life and a healthy comparison group, classmates of the index children (2). The children had adequate birth weights and no repeat episodes of malnutrition and were followed by the National Nutrition Centre through age 11. The children were assessed extensively through age 18 and are now being reexamined by us at 32-37 years of age. Using both teacher and parent behavior checklists at several ages, we documented attentional deficits in 60% of the children with histories of malnutrition versus 15% of the comparison group, lasting at least until age 18 (3-5). Other behaviors reported by us that were associated with infantile malnutrition included increased aggressive behavior at ages 9-15 (4) and poor socialization at ages 5-11 (3).
Our concern with the study by Liu and colleagues is that it did not distinguish between the effects of chronic and acute malnutrition, the timing of the malnutrition, or the different forms of childhood malnutrition. Nutritional status was documented only at age 3; medical care before and after this age was not analyzed. It is well known that malnutrition during critical periods of brain development (from the second trimester of pregnancy to age 2) is associated with permanent deficits in brain and behavioral function, whereas malnutrition experienced after this period does not produce permanent deficits (6). Moreover, the authors were unable to eliminate the presence of continuing health and nutritional problems after age 3 as contributing to the observed behaviors. The definition of malnutrition used in this study is very unconventional. Heights and weights, standard measures of nutritional status, were not included despite a prior article by these authors that included heights and weights (7). Especially confusing is that the taller and heavier children (who were therefore presumably not malnourished) in their earlier study showed more aggression, conflicting with findings in the current study of more aggression in "malnourished" children. Finally, the term "dose-response," ordinarily used to describe quantitative differences on a single construct when the authors actually meant one or more comorbid conditions, was misleading.
References 1. Liu J, Raine A, Venables PH, Mednick SA: Malnutrition at age 3 years and externalizing behavior problems at ages 8, 11, and 17 years. Am J Psychiatry 2004; 161:2005-2013 2. Galler JR, Barrett LR: Children and famine: long-term effects on behavioral development. Ambulatory Child Health 2002; 7:85-95 3. Galler JR, Ramsey F, Solimano G, Lowell WE: The influence of early malnutrition on subsequent behavioral development, II: classroom behavior. J Am Acad Child Psychiatry 1983; 22:16-22 4. Galler JR, Ramsey F: A follow-up study of the influence of early malnutrition on development: behavior at home and at school. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1989; 28:254-261 5. Galler JR, Ramsey F, Morley DS, Archer E, Salt P: The long-term effects of early kwashiorkor compared with marasmus, IV: performance on the national high school entrance examination. Pediatr Res 1990; 28:235-239 6. Dobbing J: Vulnerable periods of brain development, in Lipids, Malnutrition and the Developing Brain. Ciba Found Symposium 1971; 9-29 7. Raine A, Reynolds C, Venables PH, Mednick SA, Farrington DP: Fearlessness, stimulation-seeking, and large body size at age 3 years as early predispositions to childhood aggression at age 11 years. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1998; 55:745-751
See also the Reply to Galler et al by Liu and colleagues in the same issue of this Journal
antisocial behaviour, aggression, externalising behaviour, ADHD, malnutrition, children, child developmenthttp://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/162/9/1760-bView this article on the AJP website here
897Liu et al 2005 - Reply to Galler et al - Behavioral Effects of Childhood MalnutritionDr. Liu and Colleagues Reply (to Galler et al 2005 - Behavioral Effects of Childhood Malnutrition)Dr. Liu and Colleagues ReplyLiu J, Raine A, Venables PH, Mednick SA01/09/2005Am J Psychiatry1621761
We appreciate the thoughtful comments of Dr Galler et al regarding our recent work on malnutrition and externalizing behavior problems. They point out that we did not test for the effects of acute versus chronic malnutrition on long-term behavior, that we measured malnutrition at only one time point, and that the effect of malnutrition may be prenatal rather than postnatal. In response, we refer the reader to the limitations section of our article, where we acknowledged all of these issues. The important study of Neugebauer et al. (1), demonstrating a link between prenatal malnutrition and, later, antisocial personality disorder, clearly demonstrates the significance of prenatal nutrition on later externalizing behavior. Our research took this further by demonstrating that malnutrition assessed at age 3 years has long-term effects on children's externalizing behavior (aggression, hyperactivity, and conduct disorder) across 14 years, as assessed at three age points. We believe our study is the first to demonstrate a link between malnutrition assessed postnatally and later externalizing behavior. Furthermore, although malnutrition was not assessed after age 3, the important practical and intervention implication is that the children who showed external, observable signs of malnutrition at age 3 are at risk for developing externalizing behavior. If we assume that this link is causal, better nutrition postnatally could help prevent such problems. In support of this, we recently demonstrated that a multimodal postnatal enrichment that included better nutrition significantly reduced conduct disorder at age 17 and criminal behavior at age 23 (2), and furthermore, these beneficial effects on conduct disorder were potentiated in children with signs of malnutrition at entry into the prevention program. This finding and work on the effects of nutritional supplements in reducing antisocial/aggressive behavior in prisoners (3) are not consistent with the claim of Dr. Galler et al. that the negative effects of prenatal malnutrition are permanent and instead suggests that whether prenatal or postnatal, the deleterious effects of early malnutrition can be addressed. We fully agree that future studies that elucidate the relative roles of prenatal and postnatal malnutrition in the development of children's externalizing behavior are important.
Dr. Galler et al. suggest that our definition of malnutrition was unconventional and that height and weight were not used. In response, there are at least two types of malnutrition: macromalnutrition, which often refers to protein-energy malnutrition, and micromalnutrition, which usually refers to mineral and vitamin deficiency (e.g., zinc, iron, vitamin A). Although assessment of the former often includes height and weight, the latter can be assessed by signs and symptoms in addition to laboratory measurements. In our article, we emphasized that the indicators of malnutrition reflect deficits not only of protein (red hair, sparse/thin hair) but also of iron (low hemoglobin level) and zinc (red hair, sparse/thin hair). A deficiency in iron and zinc could negatively affect brain growth and development and result in antisocial behavior. In our study, anemia indicated by a low hemoglobin level, which reflects iron deficiency, was the most common indicator of malnutrition; this cannot be viewed as an unconventional measure. Furthermore, unlike the indicators we used, height and weight are strongly influenced by genetic factors unrelated to malnutrition. The fact that we previously found that children at age 3 who are taller and weigh more (hypothesized to reflect increased testosterone and/or a physical advantage that predisposes to aggression through social learning) illustrates both the importance of recognizing different forms of malnutrition and also the fact that multiple etiological factors are at play in shaping externalizing behavior (Raine et al., 1998, reference 6 from previous letter).
Finally, Dr. Galler et al. felt that our use of the term "dose-response" was misleading. The empirical fact remains that the more indicators of the single construct of malnutrition that a child has, the greater the level of later externalizing behavior.
antisocial behaviour, diet, malnutrition, childhood, externalising behaviour problems, early malnutritionhttp://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/162/9/1761View this article on the AmJPsychiat website here
904Ravaglia et al 2005 - Homocysteine and folate as risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer disease.Homocysteine and folate as risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer disease.Homocysteine and folate as risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer disease.Ravaglia G, Forti P, Maioli F, Martelli M, Servadei L, Brunetti N, Porcellini E, Licastro F.01/09/2005Am J Clin Nutr. 82(3)636-43.
BACKGROUND: In cross-sectional studies, elevated plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations have been associated with cognitive impairment and dementia. Incidence studies of this issue are few and have produced conflicting results.
OBJECTIVE: We investigated the relation between high plasma tHcy concentrations and risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease (AD) in an elderly population. DESIGN: A dementia-free cohort of 816 subjects (434 women and 382 men; mean age: 74 y) from an Italian population-based study constituted our study sample. The relation of baseline plasma tHcy to the risk of newly diagnosed dementia and AD on follow-up was examined. A proportional hazards regression model was used to adjust for age, sex, education, apolipoprotein E genotype, vascular risk factors, and serum concentrations of folate and vitamin B-12.
RESULTS: Over an average follow-up of 4 y, dementia developed in 112 subjects, including 70 who received a diagnosis of AD. In the subjects with hyperhomocysteinemia (plasma tHcy > 15 mumol/L), the hazard ratio for dementia was 2.08 (95% CI: 1.31, 3.30; P = 0.002). The corresponding hazard ratio for AD was 2.11 (95% CI: 1.19, 3.76; P = 0.011). Independently of hyperhomocysteinemia and other confounders, low folate concentrations (11.8 nmol/L or lower) were also associated with an increased risk of both dementia (1.87; 95% CI: 1.21, 2.89; P = 0.005) and AD (1.98; 95% CI: 1.15, 3.40; P = 0.014), whereas the association was not significant for vitamin B-12.
CONCLUSIONS: Elevated plasma tHcy concentrations and low serum folate concentrations are independent predictors of the development of dementia and AD.
hyperhomocystemia, homocysteine, B6, B12, folate, methionine, methylation, cognition, dementia, Alzheimer's dieases, cardiovascular diseasehttp://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/82/3/636Licensed users of AJCN can view the full text of this paper here
903Tucker et al 2005 - High homocysteine and low B vitamins predict cognitive decline in aging menHigh homocysteine and low B vitamins predict cognitive decline in aging men: the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. High homocysteine and low B vitamins predict cognitive decline in aging men: the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study.Tucker KL, Qiao N, Scott T, Rosenberg I, Spiro A 3rd.01/09/2005Am J Clin Nutr. 82(3)627-35
BACKGROUND: Elevated homocysteine concentrations may contribute to cognitive impairment. Most elevations in homocysteine result from inadequate folate, vitamin B-12, or vitamin B-6 intake. It is not clear whether the observed associations between homocysteine and cognitive measures are causal or whether they are due to homocysteine, to independent actions of the B vitamins, or to both.
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to assess the individual and independent effects of baseline plasma homocysteine, folate, vitamin B-12, and vitamin B-6 and of dietary B vitamin intakes on 3-y changes in cognitive measures in 321 aging men.
DESIGN: Participants were from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. Cognitive function was assessed with the Mini-Mental State Examination and on the basis of measures of memory, verbal fluency, and constructional praxis, which were adapted from the revised Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease batteries at 2 time points. At baseline, dietary intakes were assessed with a food-frequency questionnaire, and blood was drawn for the measurement of B vitamins and homocysteine.
RESULTS: Over a mean 3-y follow-up, declines in constructional praxis, measured by spatial copying, were significantly associated with plasma homocysteine, folate, and vitamins B-6 and B-12 and with the dietary intake of each vitamin. Folate (plasma and dietary) remained independently protective against a decline in spatial copying score after adjustment for other vitamins and for plasma homocysteine. Dietary folate was also protective against a decline in verbal fluency. A high homocysteine concentration was associated with a decline in recall memory.
CONCLUSIONS: Low B vitamin and high homocysteine concentrations predict cognitive decline. Spatial copying measures appear to be most sensitive to these effects in a general population of aging men.
hyperhomocystemia, homocysteine, B6, B12, folate, methionine, methylation, cognition, dementia, Alzheimer's dieases, cardiovascular diseasehttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16155277View this and related abstracts via PubMed here. Free full text of this paper is available online
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