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Suspicious child A&E visits to be logged and minister warns on post-Christmas fad diets

A roundup of the health news headlines on Thursday 27th December

The Guardian reports that a new national database will help identify child abuse by logging all visits by children to A&E departments and consolations with out-of-hours GP services.

Health minister Dan Poulter says the Child Protection Information System, to be established by 2015, will allow medical staff to check whether a child has been identified as at risk of abuse and whether they have been a frequent visitor to A&E departments.

He says the £9 million IT system is designed to avoid cases like that of Baby Peter.

He said: ‘Providing instant access to that information means vulnerable and abused children will be identified much more quickly, which will savelives.’

As the nation faces up to the consequences of Christmas over-eating and drinking, a minister has urged magazines and media outlets not to promote post-Christmas fad diets that promote rapid weight loss.

Equalities minister Jo Swinson has written an open letter to editors of magazines and other health, celebrity and gossip publications urging them to avoid ‘fad diets and fitness myths’ in their January editions.

She said: ‘At this time of year in particular far too much of magazine coverage tends to focus on irresponsible, short-term solutions and encourages
readers to jump on fad diet bandwagons.’

Instead, she suggested that magazines ‘celebrate the beauty of diversity in body shape, skin colour, size and age’.

According to the Daily Express, the widespread use of statins is being credited with a 50% reduction in the  number of deaths from heart attacks.

It quotes figures from the British Heart Foundation that show that heart attack death rates in men fell from 78.7 per 100,000 to 39.2 between 2002 and 2009. The death rate among women fell from 37.3 to 17.7.

According to the Express, eight million people in the UK take statins and Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British HeartFoundation, said statins have played play a big part in both primary and secondary prevention of heart attacks.

Professor Weissberg also said millions of Britons over 45 were unaware they are entitled to a free vascular health check from their GP.

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