Thursday, December 31, 2009

British parents to be banned from parking near school gates to tackle childhood obesity

Get kids to walk to school so pedophiles can attack them? Brilliant!

Parents face being banned from the school run as part of a controversial attempt to combat childhood obesity. Health chiefs hope introducing residents-only parking areas near schools will encourage pupils to walk or cycle instead. The plans were criticised as 'absolute nonsense' by parents' groups, who claim the Government is at fault for the rise in overweight youngsters. They point to physical exercise classes being cut from the national curriculum and school playing fields being sold off.

Margaret Morrissey, founder of and former chairman of the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations, said: 'Children are not obese because they are driven to school and walking a mile to school every day is not going to make any real difference.'

The proposals have been drawn up by the Greater Manchester Health Commission and could be rolled out nationwide. One in ten four and five-year-olds and 18 per cent of ten and 11-year-olds in Greater Manchester are classified as being dangerously overweight or obese. Will Blandamer, director of the Greater Manchester Public Health Network, said: 'It's about exploring as many opportunities as possible because we cannot continue to have obesity figures at the levels they are.' The Greater Manchester Health Commission, a quango of health, education and council bosses, plans to lobby the region's ten local authorities over a parking ban, which could affect around 1,100 schools.

Forecasts predict that more than 1.7million men and women in Greater Manchester will be overweight by 2020. GMHC's report also recommends more 20mph zones in residential side streets to create more spaces to allow safe outdoor play. Mr Blandamer added: 'The basic idea is to try and make walking and cycling and active travel as easy as possible and particularly to promote it among children. 'Twenty mile-per-hour zones have had success elsewhere and now we are asking what else can we do to make areas around schools as safe and pleasant for children as possible? 'Walking buses are already in use at a lot of schools but it's about exploring as many opportunities as possible because we cannot continue to have obesity figures at the levels they are.'

Now the report on the parking ban has been sent to the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, the GMHC will lobby councils to introduce the measures.


Hunger hormone ghrelin causes us to eat more cake

This is a very dubious mouse experiment only -- employing very indirect inferences

NO matter how much you've eaten or how full you feel, the prospect of an extra slice of cake can sometimes be too tempting. Now scientists have discovered why some people crave sugary, fatty food - even when they are stuffed. A study has shown the hunger hormone ghrelin - which the body produces when it feels peckish - encourages the brain to seek out high-calorie food, no matter how much one has eaten. The finding helps explain why Christmas lunch all too often turns into an orgy of overeating.

Ghrelin acts on the brain to make certain foods more attractive. It has also been shown to intensify the pleasurable feelings animals get from cocaine or alcohol.

An experiment at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre suggests ghrelin also makes people crave fatty foods when they are already full. Dr Jeffrey Zigman, a coauthor of the study, said: "What we show is that there may be situations where we are driven to seek out and eat very rewarding foods, even if we're full, for no other reason than our brain tells us to."

The researchers tested the role of the hormone on mice given a large meal. Once the creatures were full, they tested whether they preferred a room where they had previously found high-fat food over one that had offered only bland snacks. When the mice were injected with ghrelin, they preferred the room they associated with high-fat food.


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