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Gum disease and tooth loss linked to high blood pressure in older women

A new study suggests that gum disease and tooth loss are linked to high blood pressure in older women. The research, which was published in the American Journal of Hypertension, suggests that post-menopausal women who have suffered from tooth loss are 20 per cent more likely to develop hypertension.

The study involved more than 35,000 women who were monitored annually for nearly two decades. Researchers involved in the study believe that improved dental hygiene in general is key to reducing the risk of hypertension. As a result of the findings, the Oral Health Foundation is urging women of all ages to develop and maintain a good oral health routine to lower their likelihood of developing gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss in the UK.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, the foundation’s chief executive, said: “In addition to an increased risk of high blood pressure, gum disease has also been linked with many conditions such as diabetes, strokes and cardiovascular disease. However, the good news is that gum disease is an entirely preventable and treatable disease. In the grand scheme of things, it takes a relatively small amount of time each day to keep our teeth and gums clean but it can lead to a lifetime of health and wellbeing benefits.”

North East is the UK’s most active region

People in the North East of England are the most active in the UK, according to the results of a new survey. The survey of more than 7,600 UK adults was carried out by sports brand Decathlon. The results revealed that people in the North East exercise 5.20 times per month on average – compared to the UK average of 4.82 times per week.

Those living in Northern Ireland (5.04 times) and the South West (5.03 times) in cities like Bristol and Bath were the second and third most active in the UK. Wales (5.02 times) and Scotland (4.87 times) completed the list of the top five most active regions in the UK.

Report highlights inactivity in youngsters

Over 2.3 million children and young people (32.9 per cent) do fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity a day, a new report by Sport England has revealed. The findings were published as part of the Our Active Lives Children and Young People Survey. The report gives an insight into how children in England are taking part in sport and physical activity, both in and out of school. The findings also showed that more than 40 per cent of children in England do an average of more than 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

A further 1.7 million (23.9 per cent) are fairly active, doing between 30 and 59 minutes of physical activity a day. The report was put together using data from more than 130,000 children aged between five and 16 in England during the academic year from September 2017 to July 2018.

Sport England’s chief executive, Tim Hollingsworth, said: “Parents, schools, the sport and leisure industry and government all have a role to play in addressing and increasing childhood activity. We all care about the health and wellbeing of our children. These results tell us that what is currently being done to support them is not enough and change is required.”

New community kitchens launched

Eighty per cent of people aged over 60 in Britain say they are not getting their recommended five portions of fruit and veg every day, according to the findings of a new survey. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of people over 60 said they did not eat as much fresh fruit and veg as they could because they lived alone and the produce went off before they could eat it, with another 22 per cent not being confident enough in their cooking ability to use certain produce.

The survey was carried out by home appliance brand NEFF. As a result of the findings, NEFF has launched two community kitchens in Britain, with the aim of bringing communities and ages together. The kitchens will see old and young take part in cookery courses to brush up on their skills and ensure they are confident cooking a range of fresh produce and not reliant on frozen meals. The first two are opening in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire and Haverhill, Suffolk, with two more set to open next year in Yorkshire and London. Find out more at www.neffkitchenlove.co.uk or #neffkitchenlove

Mediterranean diet in pregnancy found to benefit offspring

A new study has revealed that mums-to-be who follow a Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of having children with a high birth weight and an accelerated weight gain in childhood, which could lead to an increased risk of obesity later on. The research was carried out by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and was published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes and nuts. It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods. The diet has been linked with lower obesity and cardiometabolic risk in adults, but few studies have analysed its effect on children.

The researchers analysed data from over 2,700 pregnant Spanish women. The women completed a questionnaire about their diet in the first and third trimester of pregnancy. Then, the diet, weight and height of their children were followed up from birth till the age of four. The results revealed that pregnant women who adhered closely to the Mediterranean diet had a 32 per cent lower risk of having children with a high birth weight and an accelerated weight gain in childhood, compared to women who did not follow the diet.

Could you be deficient?

According to the World Health Organization, over 30 per cent of the world’s population are anaemic, many due to an iron deficiency. “Iron is an essential element for almost all living organisms, as it participates in a wide variety of metabolic processes, including oxygen transport,” says Michela Vagnini, a nutritional therapist with Nature’s Plus (naturesplus.co.uk).

“Iron deficiency, which can be known as anaemia, occurs when your body doesn’t have enough iron to produce haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that gives blood its red colour and enables the red blood cells to carry oxygenated blood throughout your body.”

Key signs of iron deficiency include: pale skin, tiredness, a foggy brain, palpitations and shortness of breath. If you have checked with your GP and you are lacking in iron, you may want to consider taking a supplement.

Help needed for research project

Researchers from Edinburgh Napier University are looking to recruit members of the public to take part in a study aimed at helping to improve the post-retirement health of top-flight athletes. The researchers are analysing the risks and benefits associated with participating in elite sport. The first phase of the study involved interviewing more than 4,000 Olympic athletes. Now, for the second phase, the researchers want to recruit thousands of members of the public to take part so that they can carry out meaningful comparisons.

Lead researcher Dr Debbie Palmer said: “In order to identify the risks, and benefits, associated with Olympic sport participation we want to compare what is normal for the general population to the findings of our retired Olympian population. We need people of all ages from the general population to complete a 20-minute questionnaire, the only criteria being you must be 16 years or older, and not have competed in a summer or winter Olympic games. The more people we can get involved, particularly older individuals, the better our study findings will be.”

To take part, visit www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/olympianhealthGPCE and use the password health2018. The research team can be contacted at health@olympian.org

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