by Lily Roberts, Centre for Health Policy, Institute of Global Health Innovation
Did you know that not only does your gut do an incredible job of nourishing you by digesting your food, but that the composition of your resident gut bacteria also has a profound impact on your quality of life? While some of the specific mechanisms are still to this day unclear, a plethora of significant research is out there, with answers to our burning questions on how our gut bacteria can affect us.
On day one, the human body is exposed to a multitude of bacteria via the birthing canal.
Obesity is a growing global health problem that has received increasing attention in recent years. It has been estimated that over 700 million people in the world are classified as obese. In the UK, the obese population has more than triple in the last 25 years. Obesity has been identified as an escalating global epidemic health problem and is found to be associated with many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Although there is well-publicised guidance on recommended daily calories intake, very seldom people will comply with such guideline as recording of calorie intake is time consuming and inaccurate, as methods for dietary and daily activity assessments mostly rely on questionnaires or self-reporting.
By Emma Rose McGlone, RCS-funded research fellow, PhD student and bariatric surgery registrar, department of metabolic medicine, Hammersmith Hospital. Author of ‘Is bariatric surgery in patients following renal transplantation safe and effective? A best evidence topic’
Many patients undergoing renal transplant are overweight or obese. This is not surprising given that the two most common causes of long-term renal failure in this country are type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, conditions often associated with obesity. After transplant, many patients gain further weight: on average 8-14kg during the year after transplant. There are several reasons for this, including the immunosuppressant drugs, such as steroids, given to patients after transplant to prevent kidney rejection.
The two states of malnutrition (under and over nutrition) account for a large percentage of non-communicable diseases worldwide. 65% of the world’s population live in countries where being overweight and obesity kills more people than those who are underweight. Obesity, the result of over nutrition, is no longer the preserve of high income countries with the prevalence of obesity now rising in low and middle income countries.
By Nicholas Penney, Clinical Research Fellow, Osama Moussa, Clinical Research and Surgical Fellow and Sanjay Purkayastha, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Bariatric Surgery at the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery & Cancer, Imperial College London
Obesity is a worldwide epidemic and leading preventable cause of death, with increasing rates in both adults and children. Between 1980 and 2008, global obesity prevalence doubled from 4.8% to 9.8% in men and from 7.9% to 13.8% in women1. In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight, of which over 600 million were obese2.
By Michael J. Taylor, Honorary Research Associate, Division of Surgery, Imperial College London
Weight management camps can provide an effective way for obese children to lose weight. Although many attendees successfully maintain their new healthier weight after leaving the camp, there are also some who regain the weight they lost after they go back home. Imperial College London, in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University and Qatar University, have been carrying out a project investigating how weekly educational after-school clubs can be used to encourage children to continue to work towards reaching and maintaining a healthy weight after they have attended a weight management camp.
Earlier this year I made the trip down to London from Aberdeen to participate in the final of the Institute of Global Health Innovation’s Student Challenges Competition. Upon reflection, I have to say that I was slightly apprehensive about delivering my pitch. Imperial College commands a pretty formidable reputation as a centre for excellence in life sciences and I knew that the format of the competition was a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event, which essentially means that the participants get a good grilling by the judges.
The health of a population is influenced by a wide range of factors, most of which lie outside the healthcare system. This includes social, economic and environmental factors, as well as individuals’ behaviours.
Tackling the major health challenges facing populations across the globe – including the rise of chronic diseases and widening inequities in health requires co-ordinated action between different parts of society. Yet approaches to improving population health are typically fragmented and imbalanced towards healthcare services.