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Health crisis for Britain's middle-aged

Ouch, a very interesting international health survey, that has just been released, reports:

"Middle-aged Britons are experiencing a mid-life health crisis, according to new research from Bupa, which shows that those aged 45-54 are more likely to be obese, more likely to smoke and more likely to suffer from depression than their peers around the world.

The international Bupa Health Pulse study, which asked more than 13,000 people in 12 different countries questions about their health and lifestyles has shown that late-middle age is the toughest time health-wise for Britons. No other country in the survey - which included Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia showed such a consistent range of unhealthy results for this age group.

The study, which questioned more than 2,000 people in the UK, found:

Manchester BABCP conference: IAPT, inspiration & generativity (fourth post)

It's the third and last day of this annual BABCP conference (although I'm posting this a day after writing it).  I wrote yesterday about a symposium I went to on the second day.  Today I was more settled - I got out for a pre-breakfast run and then had a chance to meditate.  There's nothing that really grabs my attention in the first set of symposia this morning, so I'm taking the opportunity to review how the conference has been so far and what my plans are for the rest of the day. 

Recent research: six studies on management, health messages, behavioural activation, ACT, expressive writing, and wellbeing

Here are mixed bag of psychotherapy-relevant studies.  Foy & colleagues' meta-analysis highlights the value to patients/clients of having good communication between their primary care physician and their mental health professional.  The second paper I mention - free full text - by Mollen et al is a bit of a wake-up call for me.  The authors write " ... we will discuss why people conform to social norms and then extend this knowledge to the field of health communication and behaviour change. We will elaborate on the advantages and disadvantages of using social norm messages, and then offer alternatives for the use of social norms in health communication messages ... Clearly, there is a substantial evidence suggesting that, when unhealthy behaviour is highly prevalent, descriptive norms should not be conveyed in health promotion campaigns.

Recent research: five papers on overweight - mortality, cardiovascular risk, diets, and schools

Here are five papers mostly looking at aspects of overweight.  The first, published recently in the Lancet, is a huge study on the effects of body-mass index (BMI) on subsequent mortality in nearly 900,000 adults.  It shows progressive excess mortality above the BMI range 22.5-25 kg/m2.  (To calculate your BMI click here).  At 40-45 kg/m2, the reduction in life expectancy of 8-10 years is comparable to the effects of being a smoker.  The second paper, by Neovius et al, also involved large numbers - over 45,000 older adolescents.  Again it showed excess mortality at long term follow-up, and commented "Obesity and overweight were as hazardous as heavy and light smoking, respectively".  The third study by Katseva et al looked at modifiable risk factors in European patients with cardiac disease.  The findings were depressing with obesity, for example, increasing stepwise from 25% at first survey, to 32.6% at second, to 38% at third survey.  Overall the authors concluded "These time trends show a compelling need for more effective lifestyle management of patients with coronary heart disease ... To salvage the acutely ischaemic myocardium without addressing the underlying causes of the disease is futile; we need to invest in prevention." 

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