Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Doctors hit out at Government's obesity strategy as they launch campaign to tackle Britain's junk food problem

These galoots should stick to healing the sick.  There is no evidence that anything they propose will do any good

Doctors have hit out at the Coalition's obesity strategy today as they launched a campaign to tackle Britain's junk food problem.  The body that represents every doctor in the country said there was a 'huge crisis waiting to happen' because measures to tackle the fat problem are failing.

A quarter of women (24 per cent) and just over a fifth of men (22 per cent) in the UK are now classed as obese - the highest in Europe.  By 2030, experts predict that the problem will have ballooned - with 48 per cent of men and 43 per cent of women obese.

The three-month investigation by the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges will look at the action individuals can take - as well as the impact of advertising and sponsorship.

They are demanding a ban on McDonalds advertising at major sporting events like the Olympics and want the Government to consider bringing in a 'fat tax' on the most unhealthy foods.  They also want fast food free zones around schools to be brought in.

The campaign will be chaired by Professor Terence Stephenson, vice-chairman of the AoMRC and president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.  He said the campaign would see medical professionals coming together in an unprecedented way.

'Our starting point is the collective desire to ensure the healthcare profession is doing all it can to detect, treat, manage - and ultimately prevent - obesity.

'It is unprecedented that the medical royal colleges and faculties have come together on such a high-profile public health issue.'

In an apparent attack on the Coalition, he said that current strategies to tackle obesity were not working.

He added: 'We recognise the huge crisis waiting to happen and believe that current strategies to reduce obesity are failing to have a significant impact.'

He added: 'Speaking with one voice we have a more of a chance of preventing generation after generation falling victim to obesity-related illnesses and death.'

One in three children are overweight or obese by the age of nine.

The campaign will seek the views of healthcare professionals, local authorities, education providers, charities, campaign groups and the public, in the form of written and oral evidence.

It's first report will be published later this year and will offer recommendations for how the medical profession, individuals, organisations and the government can reduce obesity levels.

Professor Sir Neil Douglas, chairman of the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges, said: 'This won't be just another report that sits on the shelf and gathers dust; it will form the bedrock of our ongoing campaigning activity.

'We are absolutely determined to push for whatever changes need to happen to make real progress in tackling - which is why we're casting the net wide to get input from a range of organisations and individuals.

The Academy of Royal Medical Colleges represents all surgeons, psychiatrists, paediatricians and GPs.


Curry spice 'lowers risk of heart attack after surgery'

Sounds like there might be something in this if it can be replicated elsewhere

The curry spice turmeric may help ward off heart attacks in people who have had recent bypass surgery, according to a study.  Curcimins - the yellow pigment in turmeric -  is known for having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Bypass surgery is performed to improve the blood supply to the heart muscle. However, during the operation the organ can be damaged by prolonged lack of blood flow, increasing the patient's risk of heart attack.

The new findings suggest that curcumins may ease those risks when added to traditional drug treatment.

The results need to be confirmed in further research, said Wanwarang Wongcharoen from Chiang Mai University in Thailand.

Turmeric extracts have long been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine.

Research has suggested inflammation plays an important role in the development of a range of diseases, including heart disease, and curcumins could have an effect on those pathways, said Bharat Aggarwal, who studies the use of curcumins in cancer therapy at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

'It's very, very encouraging,' said Aggarwal of the study.

The researchers studied 121 patients who had non-emergency bypass surgery at their hospital between 2009 and 2011.

Half of those patients were given one-gram curcumin capsules to take four times a day, starting three days before their surgery and continuing for five days afterwards. The other half took the same number of drug-free placebo capsules.

The researchers found that during their post-bypass hospital stays, 13 per cent of patients who'd been taking curcumins had a heart attack, compared to 30 per cent in the placebo group.

After accounting for any initial pre-surgery differences, Wongcharoen and his colleagues calculated that people on curcumins had a 65 per cent lower chance of heart attack.

Researchers said it's likely that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumins may have helped limit heart damage in the patients.

'Curcumin has for many years now been shown to reduce inflammation and to reduce oxygen toxicity or damage caused by free radicals in a number of experimental settings,' commented Jawahar Mehta, a cardiologist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

'But that doesn't mean that this is a substitute for medication,' he said, noting that drugs like aspirin, statins and beta blockers have been proven to help heart patients and people in the current study were taking those as well.

One limitation was that the study was relatively small. Another is that while curcumins are thought to be safe, there could be side effects at very large doses.

'Taken in moderation or used in cooking, (curcumins) are quite useful. But I wouldn't go to a health food store and start taking four grams of curcumin a day, as was done in this study,' Mehta said.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Cardiology.


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