Recent Submissions

  • Body composition, sarcopenic obesity, and cognitive function in older adults: Findings from the national health and nutrition examination survey (NHANES) 1999-2002 and 2011-2014

    Stephan, Blossom C. (2024)
    OBJECTIVE: Sarcopenic-obesity (SO) is characterized by the concomitant presence of low muscle mass and high adiposity. This study explores the association of body composition and SO phenotypes with cognitive function in older adults. METHODS: Cross-sectional data in older adults (≥60 years) from NHANES 1999-2002 and 2011-2014 were used. In the 1999-2002 cohort, phenotypes were derived from body mass index (BMI) and dual-X-ray-absorptiometry, and cognition was assessed the by Digit-Symbol-Substitution-Test (DSST). In the 2011-2014 cohort, phenotypes were derived from BMI, waist-circumference (WC), and hand-grip-strength (HGS). Cognition was assessed using four tests: DSST, Animal Fluency, the Consortium-to-Establish-a-Registry-for-Alzheimer's-Disease-Delayed-Recall, and Word Learning. Mediation analysis was conducted to evaluate the contribution of inflammation (C-reactive-protein, CRP) and insulin resistance (Homeostatic-Model-Assessment-for-Insulin-Resistance, HOMA-IR) to the association between body composition and cognitive outcomes. RESULTS: The SO phenotype had the lowest DSST mean scores (p < 0.05) and was associated with a significant risk of cognitive impairment [Odds Ratio (OR) = 1.9; 95%CI 1.0-3.7, p = 0.027] in the 1999-2002 cohort. A higher ratio of fat mass and fat free mass (FM/FFM) also showed a greater risk of cognitive impairment (OR = 2.0; 95%CI 1.3-3.1, p = 0.004). In the 2011-2014 cohort, the high WC-Low HGS group showed significantly lower scores on all four cognitive tests (p < 0.05) and a higher risk of cognitive impairment. CRP and HOMA-IR were significant partial mediators of the association between FM/FFM and DSST in the 1999-2002 cohort. CONCLUSIONS: The SO phenotype was associated with a higher risk of cognitive impairment in older adults. Insulin resistance and inflammation may represent key mechanisms linking SO to the development of cognitive impairment.
  • Breast feeding in infants diagnosed with phenylketonuria (PKU): a scoping review

    Chadborn, Neil (2023)
    BACKGROUND: Phenylketonuria (PKU) is the most common inherited disease of amino acid metabolism, characterised by elevated levels of phenylalanine (Phe). There is a lack of infant feeding guidance for those with PKU. From birth to 6 months of age, breast feeding is the optimal nutrition for an infant and continuing breast feeding for infants with PKU is recommended by European guidelines. However, human breast milk contains Phe in varying quantities, and therefore, the effects breast feeding might have on infants with PKU needs careful consideration. AIM: To assess the effects of breast feeding (exclusive or partial) compared with low-Phe formula feeding in infants diagnosed with PKU, on blood Phe levels, growth and neurodevelopmental scores. METHODS: The Cochrane Inborn Errors of Metabolism Trials Register, MEDLINE and Embase were searched (date of latest search: 9 August 2022). Studies were included if they looked at the effects of breast feeding in infants diagnosed with PKU compared with formula feeding. Predetermined outcomes included blood Phe levels, growth in the first 2 years of life and neurodevelopmental scores. RESULTS: Seven observational studies (282 participants) met the inclusion criteria. All studies compared continuation of breast feeding with low-Phe formula versus formula feeding only. While most studies concluded that there was no difference in mean serum Phe levels in their follow-up period, two reported that breastfed infants were more likely to have a normal mean Phe level. Two studies described no difference in mean weight gain after birth, while one found that breastfed infants were more likely to have higher mean weight gain. Two studies commented that breastfed infants achieved higher developmental scores in childhood as compared with formula fed infants. CONCLUSION: Although there are no randomised trials, observational evidence suggests that continuation of breast feeding and supplementation with low-Phe formula is safe and may be beneficial for infants diagnosed with PKU.
  • Caloric restriction (CR) plus high-nitrate beetroot juice does not amplify CR-induced metabolic adaptation and improves vascular and cognitive functions in overweight adults: A 14-day pilot randomised trial

    Stephan, Blossom C. M. (2023)
    Caloric restriction (CR) and dietary nitrate supplementation are nutritional interventions with pleiotropic physiological functions. This pilot study investigates the combined effects of CR and nitrate-rich beetroot juice (BRJ) on metabolic, vascular, and cognitive functions in overweight and obese middle-aged and older adults. This was a two-arm, parallel randomized clinical trial including 29 participants allocated to CR + BRJ (n = 15) or CR alone (n = 14) for 14 days. Body composition, resting energy expenditure (REE), and hand-grip strength were measured. Resting blood pressure (BP) and microvascular endothelial function were measured, and Trail-Making Test A and B were used to assess cognitive function. Salivary nitrate and nitrite, and urinary nitrate and 8-isoprostane concentrations were measured. Changes in body composition, REE, and systolic and diastolic BP were similar between the two interventions (p > 0.05). The CR + BRJ intervention produced greater changes in average microvascular flux (p = 0.03), NO-dependent endothelial activity (p = 0.02), and TMT-B cognitive scores (p = 0.012) compared to CR alone. Changes in urinary 8-isoprostane were greater in the CR + BRJ group (p = 0.02), and they were inversely associated with changes in average microvascular flux (r = -0.53, p = 0.003). These preliminary findings suggest that greater effects on vascular and cognitive functions could be achieved by combining CR with dietary nitrate supplementation.
  • Impact of a dietitian in general practice: Paediatric food allergy

    Freeman-Hughes, Amy (2022)
    BACKGROUND: Food allergy in infants and young children places a significant burden on primary care. This study evaluated a dietetic-led paediatric food allergy service, which attempts to provide more rapid access to the dietitian and reduce the need for general practitioner (GP) and secondary care appointments. METHOD(S): Two community dietetic services for children referred with food allergy were compared. The first was dietetic-led care where dietitians train community children's nurses to recognise potential cases of food allergy, undertake basic diagnostic assessment and subsequently refer to the dietitian. The other is a more traditional dietetic community service where patients are referred predominantly by the GP or secondary care. RESULT(S): In dietetic-led care 86 patients were seen, compared to 96 in dietetic community care. Dietetic-led care received less referrals from the GP; 36% vs 67% (p<0.001), GP appointments for allergy-related conditions prior to dietetic referral were lower; 3 vs 6 visits (p=0.001) and input from secondary care was also lower; 8 vs 25 patients (p=0.002) compared with dietetic community care. Children referred to dietetic-led care were younger; 78% <6 months vs 40% (p<0.001) in dietetic community care. CONCLUSION(S): Dietetic-led care describes a model that has the potential to reduce GP and secondary care appointments, identify patients more quickly and reduce the time to receive dietetic input, thereby resolving symptoms more quickly and reducing prescribed medications. This model demonstrates the importance of integrated care and multidisciplinary working; offering a solution to reducing GP workload whilst maintaining or improving patient care. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  • Dietary nitrate and brain health. Too much ado about nothing or a solution for dementia prevention?

    Stephan, Blossom C. M. (2022)
    Dementia is a significant public health priority with approximately 55 million cases worldwide, and this number is predicted to quadruple by 2050. Adherence to a healthy diet and achieving optimal nutritional status are vital strategies to improve brain health. The importance of this area of research has been consolidated into the new term ‘nutritional psychiatry’. Dietary nitrate, closely associated with the intake of fruits and vegetables, is a compound that is increased in dietary patterns such as the Mediterranean and MIND diets and has protective effects on cognition and brain health. Nitrate is characterised by a complex metabolism and is the precursor of the nitrate–nitrite–nitric oxide (NO) pathway contributing to systemic NO generation. A higher intake of dietary nitrate has been linked to protective effects on vascular outcomes including blood pressure and endothelial function. However, the current evidence supporting the protective effects of dietary nitrate on brain health is less convincing. This article aims to provide a critical appraisal of the current evidence for dietary nitrate supplementation for improving brain health and provide suggestions for future research.
  • Impact of community dietetic leadership in paediatric food allergy on the burden of care for both primary care and families: A service evaluation comparison

    Freeman-Hughes, Amy (2022)
    Objectives: Food allergy is common in infants and young children and symptoms overlap with other common gastrointestinal disorders and atopic conditions, all impacting on primary care practitioner (GP) workload. This project aimed to describe the potential benefits of a dietetic-led allergy service to support this. Method: Between October 2019 and July 2020, two dietetic services for children aged 0-11 years referred with food allergy were compared. One is a dietetic-led service where dietitians train community children's nurses (0-19 team) to recognize potential cases of food allergy. The second is a traditional model of dietetic community care, obtaining referrals from GPs and secondary care. Ethical approval was obtained. Results: In the dietetic-led service 86 patients were seen [80% non-IgE cow's milk allergy) CMA)], of which 62% were referred by the 0-19 team. In the community service 96 patients were seen (85% non-IgE CMA), of which 27% were referred by the 0-19 team and 67% from GPs. 78% of children referred to the dietetic-led service were under 6 months of age, compared to 40% in the community service, where 34% were over 1 year. Hypoallergenic formula was first prescribed at a mean age of 9.4 weeks in dietetic-led vs 13.9 weeks in community care. Patient contacts with GPs prior to referral was 3 vs 6 visits (p = 0.001) and input from secondary care was also lower (8 vs 25 patients; p = 0.002) in dietetic-led vs community services respectively. There were similar numbers of patient contacts with the 0-19 team in both services (median 2). A substantial reduction in prescription of medications occurred following diagnosis (Figure 1). Conclusions: Real-world data highlight that a dietetic-led paediatric service can relieve the burden of care of food allergy in primary care, empowering community children's nurses as part of integrated care system working.
  • Feasibility and acceptability of a dietary intervention to reduce salt intake and increase high-nitrate vegetable consumption in Malaysian middle-aged and older adults with elevated blood pressure: Findings from the DePEC-Nutrition trial

    Stephan, Blossom C. M. (2022)
    The DePEC-Nutrition trial is a complex dietary and behavioural intervention of salt intake reduction combined with increased high-nitrate vegetable consumption among Malaysian middleaged and older adults with elevated blood pressure. This study aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the trial. Participants were recruited from the South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO) database and randomised into one of four groups: (1) low salt; (2) high-nitrate vegetable; (3) combined high-nitrate vegetable and low salt; and (4) control. The intervention included a combination of group counselling sessions, information booklets, reinforcement videos and text messages to modify dietary behaviour. The primary outcomes evaluated were the measures of feasibility and acceptability of (1) recruitment, follow-up attendance and retention; (2) data collection procedures and clinical outcome measures; and (3) individual and combined multi-modal dietary interventions. A total of 74 participants were recruited, and the 10-month retention rate was 73%. Data collection procedures were acceptable with minimal missing data. All intervention strategies were feasible and acceptable, with group counselling being the most acceptable strategy. This study provides important insights into improving the screening process of participants, facilitating their access to the research facilities and refining the measurement protocols and dietary recommendations, which are instrumental in formulating the design of a full-scale definitive DePEC-Nutrition trial. © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
  • Nutritional interventions in older people with COVID-19: an overview of the evidence

    Archer, Elizabeth (2021)
    Older people are a high-risk group for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) because of a range of factors, including age-related changes in anatomical pulmonary and muscle function, decreased immunity and increased inflammation. These factors partly explain why older people with COVID-19 experience more severe symptoms and higher mortality than younger adults and are more likely to require nutritional support. Furthermore, there is an association between suboptimal nutritional status and poorer recovery from COVID-19. Therefore, nutritional interventions are an important aspect of care for older people with COVID-19. All members of the multidisciplinary team, including dietitians and nurses, need to assess, treat and prevent nutritional deficiencies in older people with COVID-19. This literature review provides an overview of the evidence regarding the role of nutritional interventions in the treatment of, and recovery from, COVID-19 in older people.
  • Sarcopenic obesity is associated with telomere shortening: findings from the NHANES 1999-2002

    Stephan, Blossom C. M. (2021)
    Sarcopenic obesity (SO) is characterised by the concurrent presence of sarcopenia and excess adiposity. Telomere shortening has been associated with sarcopenia and obesity alone but the association between SO and telomere length (TL) has not been investigated. This study aimed to investigate SO and TL in an adult population. Data were from 5397 individuals (mean age = 44.7 years, 51.3% male) enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Body composition (BC) was assessed by Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry. Two models were used to assess SO: a BC model including four phenotypes derived from the combination of high or low adiposity and muscle mass; and, a truncal fat mass to appendicular skeletal mass ratio (TrFM/ASM). TL was assessed using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and expressed as base pairs. The mean TL, relative to the reference DNA, was calculated and expressed as the mean T/S ratio. A General Linear Model was applied to determine associations between TL for SO. In adjusted analysis, only individuals with SO, defined as the presence of high adiposity-low muscle mass (four-phenotype model), had significantly shorter telomeres (p = 0.05) than the reference group (i.e. low adiposity-high muscle mass), with a mean T/S ratio of 1.02 (95%CI: 0.98–1.05) compared to 1.05 (95%CI: 1.01–1.09), respectively. TrFM/ASM was not associated with TL. Preliminary findings suggest that sarcopenia and obesity may act synergistically to shorten telomeres.
  • Mediterranean diet and cognitive function: From methodology to mechanisms of action

    Stephan, Blossom C. M. (2021)
    The traditional Mediterranean diet (MedDiet), rich in minimally processed plant foods and fish, has been widely recognized to be one of the healthiest diets. Data from multiple randomized clinical trials have demonstrated its powerful effect against oxidative stress, inflammation and the development and progression of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic conditions that play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. The protecting effects of the MedDiet against cognitive decline have been investigated in several observational and experimental studies. Data from observational studies suggest that the MedDiet may represent an effective dietary strategy for the early prevention of dementia, although these findings require further substantiation in clinical trials which have so far produced inconclusive results. Moreover, as we discuss in this review, accumulating data emphasizes the importance of: 1) maintaining an optimal nutritional and metabolic status for the promotion of healthy cognitive aging, and 2) implementing cognition-sparing dietary and lifestyle interventions during early time-sensitive windows before the pathological cascades turn into an irreversible state. In summary, components of the MedDiet pattern, such as essential fatty acids, polyphenols and vitamins, have been associated with reduced oxidative stress and the current evidence from observational studies seems to assign to the MedDiet a beneficial role in promoting brain health; however, results from clinical trials have been inconsistent. While we advocate for longitudinal analyses and for larger and longer clinical trials to be conducted, we assert our interim support to the use of the MedDiet as a protective dietary intervention for cognitive function based on its proven cardiovascular and metabolic benefits.
  • Safety of antidepressants in a primary care cohort of adults with obesity and depression

    Morriss, Richard K. (2021)
    BACKGROUNDObesity, depressive disorders and antidepressant drugs are associated with increased mortality, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, fractures and falls. We explored outcomes associated with the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in overweight or obese people with depression.METHODS AND FINDINGSWe identified a cohort of overweight or obese adults (≥18 years) in primary care from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink, linked with hospital and mortality data, between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2016 who developed incident depression to January 2019. Cox proportional hazards models and 99% confidence intervals were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) for mortality, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and falls/fractures associated with exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic (TCA)/other, combination antidepressants, citalopram, fluoxetine, sertraline, amitriptyline and mirtazapine, adjusting for potential confounding variables. In 519,513 adults, 32,350 (9.2 per 1,000 years) displayed incident depression and 21,436 (66.3%) were prescribed ≥1 antidepressant. Compared with no antidepressants, all antidepressant classes were associated with increased relative risks of cardiovascular disorders [SSRI HR: 1.32 (1.14-1.53), TCA/Other HR: 1.26 (1.01-1.58)], and diabetes (any type) [SSRI HR: 1.28 (1.10-1.49), TCA/Other: 1.52 (1.19-1.94)]. All commonly prescribed antidepressants except citalopram were associated with increased mortality compared with no antidepressants. However, prescription ≥1 year of ≥40mg citalopram was associated with increased mortality and falls/fractures and ≥1 year 100mg sertraline with increased falls/fractures.CONCLUSIONSIn overweight/obese people with depression, antidepressants may be overall and differentially associated with increased risks of some adverse outcomes. Further research is required to exclude indication bias and residual confounding.
  • Mediterranean diet and the hallmarks of ageing

    Stephan, Blossom C. M. (2021)
    Ageing is a multifactorial process associated with reduced function and increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Recently, nine cellular and molecular hallmarks of ageing have been identified, which characterise the ageing process, and collectively, may be key determinants of the ageing trajectory. These include genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion and altered intercellular communication. Healthier dietary patterns reduce the risk of age-related diseases and increase longevity and may influence positively one or more of these hallmarks. The Mediterranean dietary pattern (MedDiet) is a plant-based eating pattern that was typical of countries such as Greece, Spain, and Italy pre-globalisation of the food system and which is associated with better health during ageing. Here we review the potential effects of a MedDiet on each of the nine hallmarks of ageing, and provide evidence that the MedDiet as a whole, or individual elements of this dietary pattern, may influence each hallmark positively-effects which may contribute to the beneficial effects of this dietary pattern on age-related disease risk and longevity. We also highlight potential avenues for future research.
  • Feasibility and acceptability of a multi-domain intervention to increase Mediterranean diet adherence and physical activity in older UK adults at risk of dementia: protocol for the MedEx-UK randomised controlled trial

    Stephan, Blossom C. M. (2021)
    INTRODUCTION: Dementia prevalence continues to increase, and effective interventions are needed to prevent, delay or slow its progression. Higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) and increased physical activity (PA) have been proposed as strategies to facilitate healthy brain ageing and reduce dementia risk. However, to date, there have been no dementia prevention trials in the UK focussed on combined dietary and PA interventions. This study aims to: (1) assess feasibility and acceptability of a theory-underpinned digital and group-based intervention for dementia risk reduction in an 'at risk' UK cohort; (2) evaluate behaviour change responses to the intervention; and, (3) provide information on cognitive, neurological, vascular and physiological outcomes to inform the design of a follow-on, full-scale efficacy trial. METHODS: One hundred and eight participants aged 55 to 74 years with a QRISK2 score of ≥10% will be recruited to take part in this 24-week multi-site study. Participants will be randomised into three parallel arms: (1) Control; (2) MedDiet; and, (3) MedDiet+PA. The study will evaluate a personalised website, group session and food delivery intervention to increase MedDiet adherence and PA in older adults at risk of dementia. Diet and PA will be monitored prior to, during and following the intervention. Feasibility, acceptability and hypothesised mediators will be assessed in addition to measures of cognitive function, brain structure/perfusion (MRI), vascular function and metabolic markers (blood, urine and faecal) prior to, and following, the intervention. DISCUSSION: This trial will provide insights into the feasibility, acceptability and mechanism of effect of a multi-domain intervention focussed on the MedDiet alone and PA for dementia risk reduction in an 'at risk' UK cohort. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study has received NHS REC and HRA approval (18/NI/0191). Findings will be disseminated via conference presentations, public lectures, and peer-reviewed publications. TRIAL REGISTRATION DETAILS: NCT03673722.
  • What are the risk factors for malnutrition in older-aged institutionalized adults?

    Stephan, Blossom C. M. (2020)
    Malnutrition is common in older adults and is associated with functional impairment, reduced quality of life, and increased morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to explore the association between health (including depression), physical functioning, disability and cognitive decline, and risk of malnutrition. Participants were recruited from nursing homes in Italy and completed a detailed multidimensional geriatric evaluation. All the data analyses were completed using Stata Version 15.1. The study included 246 participants with an age range of 50 to 102 (80.4 ± 10.5). The sample was characterised by a high degree of cognitive and functional impairment, disability, and poor health and nutritional status (according to Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), 38.2% were at risk for malnutrition and 19.5% were malnourished). Using a stepwise linear regression model, age (B = −0.043, SE = 0.016, p = 0.010), depression (B = −0.133, SE = 0.052, p = 0.011), disability (B = 0.517, SE = 0.068, p < 0.001), and physical performance (B = −0.191, SE = 0.095, p = 0.045) remained significantly associated with the malnutrition risk in the final model (adjusted R-squared = 0.298). The logistic regression model incorporating age, depression, disability, and physical performance was found to have high discriminative accuracy (AUC = 0.747; 95%CI: 0.686 to 0.808) for predicting the risk of malnutrition. The results of the study confirm the need to assess nutritional status and to investigate the presence of risk factors associated with malnutrition in order to achieve effective prevention and plan a better intervention strategy. © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
  • Nutrition, growth, and other factors associated with early cognitive and motor development in Sub-Saharan Africa: a scoping review

    French, Blandine (2020)
    BACKGROUND: Food insecurity, poverty and exposure to infectious disease are well-established drivers of malnutrition in children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Early development of cognitive and motor skills - the foundations for learning - may also be compromised by the same or additional factors that restrict physical growth. However, little is known about factors associated with early child development in this region, which limits the scope to intervene effectively. To address this knowledge gap, we compared studies that have examined factors associated with early cognitive and/or motor development within this population. METHODS: Predetermined criteria were used to examine four publication databases (PsycInfo, Embase, Web of Science and Medline) and identify studies considering the determinants of cognitive and motor development in children aged 0-8 years in Sub-Saharan Africa. RESULTS: In total, 51 quantitative studies met the inclusion criteria, reporting on 30% of countries across the region. Within these papers, factors associated with early child development were grouped into five themes: Nutrition, Growth and Anthropometry, Maternal Health, Malaria and HIV, and Household. Food security and dietary diversity were associated with positive developmental outcomes, whereas exposure to HIV, malaria, poor maternal mental health, poor sanitation, maternal alcohol abuse and stunting were indicators of poor cognitive and motor development. DISCUSSION: In this synthesis of research findings obtained across Sub-Saharan Africa, factors that restrict physical growth are also shown to hinder the development of early cognitive and motor skills, although additional factors also influence early developmental outcomes. The study also reviews the methodological limitations of conducting research using Western methods in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Incidence of depression and first-line antidepressant therapy in people with obesity and depression in primary care

    Morriss, Richard K. (2020)
    Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the age- and gender-specific incidence of depression, the dose-response relationship between BMI and risk of depression (Cox proportional hazards), and antidepressant drug prescribing in adults with overweight or obesity. Methods: A retrospective electronic health record study using the Clinical Practice Research Datalink was conducted to identify adults with overweight and obesity (≥ 18 years) with incident depression (no prior depression diagnosis in their records), followed up from 2000 to 2019. Results: Among 519,513 adults, incidence of depression was 9.2 per 1,000 person-years and was higher in women and in 40- to 59-year-old men who had severe obesity. Compared with having overweight, the hazard of depression increased with each BMI category as follows: 1.13 (30-34 kg/m2; 95% CI: 1.10-1.16), 1.34 (35-39 kg/m2; 1.29-1.40), 1.51 (40-44 kg/m2; 1.41-1.61), and 1.67 (45-49 kg/m2; 1.48-1.87), attenuating at BMI 50+ kg/m2 (1.54; 2.91-1.84). Antidepressants were prescribed as first-line therapy in two-thirds (66.3%) of cases. Prescriptions for fluoxetine reduced over time (20.4% [2000]; 8.8% [2018]), and prescriptions for sertraline increased (4.3% [2000]; 38.9% [2018]). Conclusions: We recommend guidance on antidepressant drug prescribing and specific services for people with obesity and depression that address both symptoms and behaviors. © 2020 The Obesity Society
  • Proactive Assessment of Obesity Risk during Infancy (ProAsk): A qualitative study of parents' and professionals' perspectives on an mHealth intervention

    Glazebrook, Cris; Ablewhite, Joanne (2019)
    Background: Prevention of childhood obesity is a public health priority. Interventions that establish healthy growth trajectories early in life promise lifelong benefits to health and wellbeing. Proactive Assessment of Obesity Risk during Infancy (ProAsk) is a novel mHealth intervention designed to enable health professionals to assess an infant's risk of future overweight and motivate parental behaviour change to prevent childhood overweight and obesity. The aim of this study was to explore parents' and health professionals' experiences of the overweight risk communication and behaviour change aspects of this mHealth intervention. Methods: The study was conducted in four economically deprived localities in the UK. Parents (N = 66) were recruited to the ProAsk feasibility study when their infant was 6-8 weeks old. Twenty two health visitors (HVs) used a hand-held tablet device to deliver ProAsk to parents when their infants were 3 months old. Parents (N = 12) and HVs (N = 15) were interviewed when infants in the study were 6 months old. Interview data were transcribed and analysed thematically using an inductive, interpretative approach. Results: Four key themes were identified across both parent and health visitor data: Engaging and empowering with digital technology; Unfamiliar technology presents challenges and opportunity; Trust in the risk score; Resistance to targeting. Most participants found the interactivity and visual presentation of information on ProAsk engaging. Health visitors who were unfamiliar with mobile technology drew support from parents who were more confident using tablet devices. There was evidence of resistance to targeting infants at greatest risk of future overweight and obesity, and both parents and health visitors drew on a number of reasons why a higher than average overweight risk score might not apply to a particular infant. Conclusions: An mHealth intervention actively engaged parents, enabling them to take ownership of the process of seeking strategies to reduce infant risk of overweight. However, cognitive and motivational biases that prevent effective overweight risk communication are barriers to targeting an intervention at those infants most at risk. Trial registration: NCT02314494. Date registered 11th December 2014. © 2019 The Author(s).
  • "I am gaining weight-get me out of here." What happens to body mass index (BMI) following admission to a medium secure unit?

    Bloye, Darran; Bowlie, S. (2011)
    Introduction: A diagnosis of mental illness has been associated with weight gain, particularly among patients suffering from schizophrenia. Aims & objectives: This study aims to establish trends in weight gain among inpatients and the effects of several public health interventions between 2006 and 2009. Methods: A body mass index (BMI) was calculated on admission and one of the authors has routinely measured the BMI of all inpatients on an annual basis since 2005 as part of a regular audit cycle. Results: Admission BMIs are comparable to the male general population2. The vast majority of patients are prescribed antipsychotic medication, approximately 50% receiving clozapine or olanzapine at any given time. There is a wide range of weight change from admission to discharge (-8.5kg to +60kg) but the average BMI of each sample exceeds the general population such that a majority of patients in each sample are clinically obese (BMI >=30).In response to the audit findings the unit promoted public health and individual care plans (2006-09) aimed at addressing the high rates of obesity. Despite these initiatives there was a substantial rise in mean BMI between July 2007 and February 2008. Conclusions: Admission to a medium secure unit results in substantial weight gain for the majority of patients. The causes of weight gain in a relatively closed institution are probably multi-factorial in origin.

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