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Big meal portions causing obesity, health inequalities exposed again and the perils of… chairs

Researchers have called for smaller food portions to tackle the obesity epidemic, the BBC reports this morning.

Apparently they have found the ‘most conclusive evidence to date’ that portion size affects how much we eat.

Elsewhere the health gap between rich and poor is raised again, as The Independent reports the richest people from the south and east of England can expect to live more than eight years longer than the poorest in living in the north.

The findings come from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors study, which found the life expectancy gap has barely altered in 25 years.

On the positive side, the study did find life expectancy overall has increased five years between 1990 and 2013. However, rates of illness and disability have barely declined, the paper says, with the highest rates of the ‘biggest killers’ – including heart disease and lung cancer –in the most deprived areas, driven by risk factors like smoking and unhealthy drinking.

Professor John Ashton, President of the Faculty of Public Health said: ‘Healthy life expectancy powerfully reflects our social environment: having a living wage, living in decent housing and eating healthy food. We urgently need government to make peoples’ social environments healthier.’

Lastly, the innocuous chair is ‘slowly killing us’, The Times reports, after a study found that sitting for more than five hours a day increased the risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Michael Trenell, professor of metabolism and lifestyle medicine at Newcastle University, told the paper: ‘The message is clear, our chairs are slowly but surely killing us. Our body is designed to move and it is not surprising that sedentary behaviour, characterized by low muscle activity, has a direct impact on physiology.

‘With a dearth of approved drug therapies for NAFLD, lifestyle changes remain the cornerstone of clinical care.’


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