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Children face ‘co-sleeping’ and fizzy drink dangers



The health headlines on Tuesday 25 October 2011

The Guardian reports on a Great Ormond Street Hospital study finding that nearly two-thirds of small babies who die suddenly were co-sleeping with a parent at the time. Their study highlights sleeping on a sofa as a particular danger.

For older children, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has warned the Guardian that he is ‘very worried’ that the coalition Government is not as committed to improving school dinners as its Labour predecessor, and that the considerable progress in this area since his Jamie’s School Dinners TV series in 2005 is under threat.

Oily fish should definitely be on the menu according to a British study reported in the Telegraph, which finds that eating food rich in omega-3 boosts blood flow to the brain and improves its performance during mental tasks. The findings could have implications for treating dementia, the paper says.

Fizzy soft drinks on the other hand should definitely not be given to school children if a report in the Independent is to be believed. The University of Vermont study says drinking five of the drinks a week makes teenagers more likely to act violently and carry a weapon.

Drinking more than four pints of water on the other hand, Brown University research published in the Telegraph suggests, cuts the risk of bladder cancer in men by almost a quarter.

Meanwhile, the Mail reports on University of Cambridge findings that spending more time outdoors reduces a child’s risk of becoming short-sighted.

Finally, the Independent reports on a House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report that has questioned the way expensive scanners are bought and used. In the report published today, the MPs note that NHS trusts in England have got limited value for money from the £50 million spent annually over the last three years on magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scanners, used mainly for diagnosis, and linear accelerator machines for cancer treatment.

The same report carried by the Independent says stroke victims are having to wait more than 24 hours for a brain scan because of ‘unacceptable variations’  in the way hospitals operate.