Public Health Evidence Bulletin

March 13th 2020, No.287 

Mental health
Public Health England have published a briefing aiming to understand the mental health needs of young people affiliated with gangs. It considers risk factors and the burden of mental illness in gangs, and describes a life course approach to prevention. Local crime statistics around gang activity up to December 2017 are available in a dashboard hosted by the Greater London Authority.

Survey responses from around 1,500 UK doctors suggest that one third are suffering from burn-out, secondary traumatic stress and score low on compassion satisfaction. The findings should be considered in light of potential selection bias (80% of respondents were female) and response bias. Response bias includes occasions where a survey respondent might give a socially acceptable response instead of a truthful one.

A study from the UCL institute of Education compiles data from three population surveys (Labour Force Survey, Annual Population Survey and Health Survey for England) to reveal  that there has been an increase in the number of teachers reporting mental health issues over the last 20 years. At the same time, more teachers are seeking help for these conditions. The rise in mental health conditions in teachers over time is also mirrored in other professions.
Researchers at Queen Mary University have found that many plant based or vegan meals served at UK restaurants and fast food outlets are very high in salt content. Nearly half of the meals surveyed contained 3 g or more of salt, half the recommended daily limit for an adult.   

A european-wide study has explored the effect of a Mediterranean diet on the gut microbiomes of 600 elderly participants in relation to frailty.  Gut microbiota enriched by adherence to the diet were found to be positively associated with several markers of lower frailty and improved cognitive function. 

Researchers working with Tesco have released an aggregated dataset showing food buying habits across London at lower super output area census geography level. The paper considers the data alongside figures for child and adult obesity, and rates of diabetes.
Air quality
NICE have recently published guidance on indoor air quality in residential buildings, aiming to raise awareness of good air quality and how to achieve this. Recommendations include those aimed at planners, building control, private property managers, housing associations and the general public.

The Greater London Authority has produced a report looking at four years of air quality monitoring data from 2016 to 2020. It finds some encouraging reductions in annual nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels (a major air pollutant), but some sites are still above the legal annual limit.

Physical activity
A recent Public health England ‘Health Matters’ blog explores physical activity for the prevention and management of long-term conditions (LTCs). It discusses the health benefits of physical exercise, barriers to exercise for those with LTCs.It also includes resources like the “We Are Undefeatable” campaign designed to help people with LTCs find a way of exercising that is right for them.
Copyright © 2020 City & Hackney Public Health Team, All rights reserved.

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