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NIHR Signal A football programme for overweight men achieves sustained weight loss
A 12-week weight management programme for men, centred on football, achieved 4.9kg weight loss at 12 months. Modest weight loss of 2.9kg was maintained at 3.5 years. Rates of overweight and obesity are higher for men than women in the UK, and there is little evidence that interventions are effective in the longer term. This NIHR-funded study followed 488 of 747 men (65%), average age 47 years, originally allocated to a programme of behavioural advice and football training with a professional co...
NIHR Signal Financial incentives may help workers quit smoking
Financial incentives, when given alongside free smoking cessation aids, improved abstinence rates compared with free cessation aids or motivational information alone. This workplace-based US trial assigned 6,000 smokers, unselected for willingness to quit, to information only, free e-cigarettes, free nicotine replacement or drug therapy, or free cessation aids with a $600 reward in one of two ways. Quit rates at six months were very low though the substantial financial incentive increased the r...
NIHR Signal School-based self-regulation interventions can improve child academic, health and behavioural outcomes
Different types of interventions improve self-regulation in children and young people, which helps children to manage their behaviour and emotions. School curriculum-based interventions show the most consistently positive results. Interventions also improve longer-term academic, health and social outcomes. Self-regulation encompasses a range of skills, including controlling your own emotions, interacting positively with others, avoiding inappropriate or aggressive actions, and carrying out self...
NIHR Signal Group-based diet and exercise programmes can lead to weight loss
The evidence is growing that group-based weight loss programmes can offer effective and acceptable options for overweight people, particularly men. On average, people in group dietary advice and exercise programmes lose 3.5kg more than non-participants by six months – a modest 4% weight loss overall but less than the 5% that is often regarded as clinically important. In this systematic review on the group weight loss approach, participants in the 47 trials were adults from the general pop...
NIHR Signal Vaccination likely to reduce influenza in healthy children
In healthy children aged two to 16, vaccines are likely to reduce laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza and may reduce the risk of influenza-like illness compared to placebo. Seven children need to receive the live vaccine to prevent one case of confirmed influenza. Twenty children need to be vaccinated to prevent one case of influenza-like illness. This updated Cochrane review included 41 trials of either live attenuated (weakened) or inactivated influenza vaccines, with over 200,000 partici...
NIHR Signal Sending patient reminders improves immunisation uptake
Contacting patients by telephone or mail about recommended immunisations leads to eight more people in every 100 being immunised. Text messages, postcards or automatic dialling techniques and recorded voices are the reminder methods that have the highest certainty of being effective. In the UK over 90% of children currently receive the recommended immunisation programme, but this is still below optimal to prevent infection. The uptake of the influenza vaccination in over 65s is also below natio...
NIHR Signal Swimming in seawater is linked with an increased chance of some illnesses
People who swim in seawater have almost double the odds of experiencingillness than people who avoid it. The specific illnesses linked to seawater exposure are ear and gastrointestinal illnesses, but the exact or absolute rates of infection are not available. Many people enjoy coastal waters for sport and recreation, and it's important that they can access relevant risk information. This is the first systematic review to look at infection risk from swimming in seawater. It gathered data fro...
NIHR Signal A school-based obesity prevention programme was ineffective
A school-based healthy lifestyle programme delivered to 6-7-year-old children and their parents made no difference to children’s weight, diet or activity levels. Around 1 in 4 remained overweight or obese. The NIHR-funded year-long programme was delivered in 54 primary schools in one region of England. Teachers were trained to provide an additional 30 minutes of physical activity a day and deliver cookery workshops with parents each term. It also included activities with a local football ...
NIHR Signal A third of health practitioners do not get vaccinated against flu
Flu vaccination uptake amongst healthcare workers in England is below the NHS target of 75%. Reasons may include mixed views on the vaccine’s effectiveness, side effects and belief they are unlikely to catch or transmit flu. Surprisingly, practical barriers such as time and access to vaccination were not mentioned in this systematic review of qualitative studies for the Department of Health. Though it included mainly North American studies, the findings are consistent with issues raised i...
NIHR Signal Free entry for leisure centres may increase physical activity across all social groups
Removing access fees from gyms and leisure centres with a strong marketing campaign and five extra community health trainers gave 26,400 more physical activity “swim and gym” visits per quarter in a borough of 150,000 people. Re:fresh, a subsidised access scheme implemented in a socially disadvantaged local authority in England, Blackburn and Darwen, also found increases in monthly gym and swim activity from 3 to 15%, and overall levels of participation were more pronounced in disad...
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