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Calorie labels on alcohol to tackle obesity, therapy chickens an egg-cellent idea, and don't demonise mental illness this Halloween

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

The Telegraph reports that we should introduce calorie warnings to tackle the nations obesity epidemic, after new research found drinkers consumed 400 fewer calories when drinks were labelled up.

The evidence found by a Royal Society of Public Health trial lends weight to European Commission plans, due to be decided by December, to make unit and calorie labels mandatory on alcohol.

The study found eight in ten people wrongly guessed the number of calories in a large glass of wine, and suggests clear labelling could also tackle problem drinking.

Also in the Telegraph, a charity initiative to equip care home and supported living residents with chickens to help combat the rise in loneliness and depression in the elderly has come home to roost, expanding to new sites after poultry beginnings in the north east.

Currently running across eight pilot sites, the HenPower project encourages ‘practical poultry keeping’ and ‘hen-based activities’ (not basted, we checked) including dance and singing.

The scheme is aimed at men who are vulnerable to depression in care homes, and charity director Douglas Hunter said: ‘Men tend not to have such broad social networks as women, and they tend to have very different hobbies. Hen keeping appeals to certain groups of men.’

And finally The Guardian reports a seasonal story with a serious message, as care minister Norman Lamb has struck out at ‘pscho’ and schizo’ Halloween costumes which ‘demonise’ people with mental illness.

In a speech at the National Children and Adult Services conference today, Mr Lamb will call on retailers to be more responsible after supermarkets were forced to withdraw ill-considered outfits after public outcry.

“This Halloween culture is dangerous. It conditions all of us to fear mental illness, to see people as ‘psychos’, or ‘schizos’ or ‘freaks’… I urge all retailers to behave more responsibly – don’t demonise mental illness.’

 

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