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Showing posts from February, 2020

Austerity kills people

The stark reality of a decade of austerity is laid bare, and the truth told.  Austerity kills people.  For the first time since the beginning of the 20th century, the improvements in life expectancy have ground to a halt. This is the conclusion of the latest Health Review of England , published by the Institute of Health Equality. Let's not beat about the bush.  This is politics.  It is the result of a decade of the most brutal right-wing Tory rule in the United Kingdom - and it is set to continue.   The needs of Brexit means that for all the promises made by Boris Johnson in the general election, austerity is set to continue. The poorest are being made to pay, not just for the cost of the financial crisis, but also now for Brexit. "From the beginning of the 20th century, England experienced continuous improvements in life expectancy but from 2011 these improvements slowed dramatically, almost grinding to a halt."  Of course, it is difficult to demonstrate

United, we are unstoppable | Keir Starmer for Leader of the Labour Party

Do TV food shows influence children?

Food, food, and more food.  More and more television programs are devoted to food.  Some are pure entertainment, like Hell's Kitchen with Gordon Ramsey.  In reality, they are all entertainment, of course.  These shows can be a bit like watching the weather forecast behaviours can view but not take in any of the recipes - a cold front here, a dash of this and that.  Yet others have a semblance of the educational about them.  But do they influence our eating habits? Whatever their intention, they influence our approach to food.  But what about children? Can they make children hungry for fruit and veg? Television programs featuring healthy foods can be a key ingredient in leading children to make healthier food choices now and into adulthood. A new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior , published by Elsevier, found kids who watched a child-oriented cooking show featuring healthy food were 2.7 times more likely to make a healthy food choice than those

Women shouldn't nap too long?

We are generally told that taking an afternoon nap is good for us, although who has the time to do that? However, the benefits may be limited and depend on how long a rest we take, mainly if you are a woman.  Taking a long nap may have limited rewards.  Afternoon naps may help de-stress and refresh during the day. Still, new research in the journal Heart & Lung reveals that taking extended afternoon naps (over 90 mins) is connected to developing high blood pressure for women. The study of 7,980 Chinese participants, measured variables including age and gender and found that middle-aged and older women who took naps longer than 90-minutes were 39 per cent and 54 per cent more likely to have high blood pressure, respectively. "Not found to be associated with high blood pressure in men." However,  the study found a difference between men and women, and extended afternoon napping was not found to be associated with high blood pressure in men The researcher

Where's Boris?

It is said that Boris Johnson is 'fuming' because people say they don't trust him.  Whether or not Boris tells the truth, he certainly hides from it. He hides from a lot of things - and has been known to hide in a refrigerator to avoid interviews!  I suppose that is an excellent way to cool down! Well, now the country is flooding, and Boris is nowhere to be seen.  The country is flooding, and the minister responsible says that our flood defences are 'working'.  There's a flood! What is working about that?  Some people are chest high in water in their own homes: what flood defence worked for them? But Boris is nowhere to be seen. For all his blustering tomfoolery, Boris isn't useful in a crisis. Now, there is a good argument that he should keep out of the way.  After all, what could he do wading around in his wellington boots looking silly? Being silly has prevented him from appearing in the past. Remember that dangling fiasco on a high-wire dur

Keir Starmer has a lot to offer

All the candidates for the leadership of the UK's Labour Party have presented themselves well on the hustings. I confess to being sad that Emily Thornbury will not go forward into the final round. It bodes well for the future.  Labour has the potential for an excellent frontbench team. What is also clear is that Keir Starmer can command respect across the party. His brief as Shadow Brexit Secretary has been the most difficult of all to take on. I believe he has performed that duty brilliantly in the house of commons and it didn't surprise me that he received a resounding standing ovation during his speech at the party conference. But what he is showing now is his breadth and vision.  As a leader, Keir Starmer can unite the party and reach out to voters with a credible platform. Now, more than ever, The United Kingdom needs a robust opposition.  Boris Johnson's Tories have a commanding majority, and there is the danger that he will move towards what Lord Hailsham

Has China's one-child policy benefited women?

Women’s educational attainment has increased tremendously and even exceeded men’s all over the world in the late 20th century.  Now, a new review published in   Contemporary Economic Policy  concludes that China’s One-Child Policy had a beneficial effect on women’s education and explains about half of the increase in educational attainment for women born between 1960–1980.  The One-Child Policy was formally conceived in 1979 and rapidly established across the country in 1980. It has been the most restrictive policy adopted across the globe, with enforcement through monetary penalties on above‐quota birth, denial of public service, required abortion of subsequent pregnancy, and even sterilisation.  It also encouraged delay in having a child.  In China, the One-Child Policy was the biggest social movement that fundamentally changed the lives and family structure of the entire generation born in the 1960s. Analyses in the review indicate that reductions in fertility expectati

Staying active for health in old age

The evidence clearly shows that maintaining an active life keeps older people healthier.   Thus, the more we invest as a society and communities helping older people stay fit and active, the less strain it would place on our overstretched health services.  It is just simple common sense.  Maintaining a healthy life in old age should be based on more than a cocktail of drugs. In England, we spend around £18-20 billion annually on medicines.  With an average growth of about 5% per year, this is set to go up and up. Spending on resources for the elderly to keep active in their communities would pay massive dividends.   This is why we must invest in local infrastructure to help older people remain active.  This requires not just facilities at particular locations but also decent transport to enable older people to access them. Such an approach would be supported by the evidence.   Physically active older adults benefit from reduced risks of early death, breast and prostate