The UK’s chlamydia mass media campaign encouraged high risk groups to get tested

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) today in the United Kingdom, and sexually active young people (15 – 24) are most at risk.  It can be difficult to know if you have chlamydia as most people do not have symptoms, and if left untreated can lead to serious long-term health consequences including [read the full story…]

How can we get kids to be more active at school? New review highlights gaps

boy looking through hole in playground equipment

What do you remember about school break times? Did we fall into predictable groups, with boys playing football and girls walking round arm in arm, sharing gossip? It seems to me, looking back, that it was a time spent on the move, one way and another, and from a health perspective that was a Good [read the full story…]

Schools can help to prevent kids starting smoking

“See you round the back of the bike shed at lunchtime?”  That was a familiar whisper from a rebellious bunch of elf maidens when I was at school.  To be followed by a lot of giggling and a smoke cloud rising up from the aforementioned bike shed just after the bell rang.  In those days [read the full story…]

How effective is a personality-targeted prevention program for adolescent alcohol misuse?

Prevention is better than cure, or so the old saying goes. So, following on with the alcohol theme this week I decided to turn our attention to alcohol abuse in young people. More specifically the idea that effective preventative intervention can involve more than just increasing adolescent knowledge about the harms of alcohol misuse. Research has [read the full story…]

Huge international study investigates asthma, eczema and diet in children and teens

“Fast food link to childhood asthma and eczema” hit the headlines yesterday and, whilst there were variations on this theme, I was glad to see that the word ‘link’ was there across the headlines. All too often, research which could only show an association between one thing and another is reported in news items as though [read the full story…]

Your life, your health – researchers invite you to share what they know about how life gets under your skin

I’m really excited today as I’ve been looking at a wonderful example of research that’s relevant to us all, presented in an accessible way. The team at the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) know they have really interesting findings and want to share them with everyone. They also want your feedback and encourage anyone who’s [read the full story…]

Can incentives help children resist starting smoking?

Who doesn’t like the chance to win a prize? I can still remember the thrill of taking my turn at the Egg & Bacon competition at our summer féte, when I was a very small elf. You had to choose an egg from a box, all looking the same, but only some were still whole. [read the full story…]

More evidence that obese children are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease

If you’re an overweight adult, you are at increased risk of a load of health problems you don’t want, including cardiovascular diseases (CVD). These affect the heart and blood vessels and include coronary heart disease and stroke. As for children, evidence for a similar association is building up but the link is less well understood, including the [read the full story…]

Interventions increased children’s physical activity by just four minutes

When we’re asked to recall things, how near to the truth do we really get, even when we’re reporting the very recent past? For example, the other day I was travelling with Mr Elf to another, far off woodland, and due to a slight navigational difficulty we found ourselves making something of a detour. Mr [read the full story…]

Longer, more intensive aerobic exercise programmes more effective for obese children

We finish up the week with a critical appraisal from Health Evidence Canada, on a meta-analysis of studies on improvement in aerobic fitness in obese children and adolescents, following a variety of interventions, which was published in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity last year. They assessed the review as being ‘strong’ in terms of how well it was [read the full story…]