It’s only four days until Christmas Day, but that hasn’t slowed the flow of health news. Instead, it seems to have spurred a number of health professionals to call for stronger actions to dissuade people from eating unhealthy foods. This is our last round-up of 2018 so, from all of us at talkhealth, we wish you a happy and healthy Christmas!

England’s chief medical officer demands higher tax on unhealthy food

In her annual report, England’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies has warned that the “food industry has not done enough” about reducing the levels of sugar and salt in many foods, and requested the government to do more to help the nation eat more healthily. She explained that the voluntary agreement with the industry to lower sugar and salt content had not worked, and that obesity and diabetes were severely damaging the country’s health and its economy.

The food industry was “asked by Public Health England to reduce sugar by 20%. We have recently heard that they have not achieved their present target and we know there is too much sugar and salt in our diet.”

Find out more on the Guardian website.

In early January, talkhealth will launch its mywellbeing support programme, which has a wealth of practical advice about everything from salt and sugar to weight and exercise, and from seasonal health to sexual health. Why not take a look and sign up today?

Supermarket checkouts influence shopping habits

Researchers who analysed data from 30,000 households and nine supermarkets believe that banning chocolates, sweets and other sugary treats from checkouts helps people resist adding them to their shopping.

“It’s really heartening that small changes in supermarket layout could make such a difference and have an impact on people’s diets,” says lead researcher Dr Jean Adams, from the University of Cambridge.

Read more about this study on the BBC website.

Campaigners criticise missed salt level targets

In a related article, Public Health England (PHE) has come under fire from experts for not forcing the food industry to reduce the levels of salt in food. It comes after the organisation published a report stating that only just over half if its targets have been met. Campaigners, such as Action on Salt, say that thousands of people have died unnecessarily due to high salt levels. Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine and chair of the pressure group, said, “Such poor progress in PHE’s attempt to reduce salt intake is a national tragedy.”

Learn more about this on the Guardian website.

Could cancer sickness drug help IBS patients?

A new trial will assess the ability of anti-sickness cancer drug, ondansetron, relieving the abdominal pain and urgent bowel movements experienced by people with irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoea (IBS-D). Researchers conducting the 12-week trial, which is being carried out in collaboration with Nottingham University NHS Hospital Trust, want to recruit 400 volunteers.

Visit the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) website to find out more.

Did you know that talkhealth recently launched a free support programme for anyone with any of the forms of IBS? myIBS provides a wealth of practical information and tips about what to ask your doctor. Why not take a look today?

Top 10 oral and dental health tips

The NIHR has also reported the news that healthcare professionals, patients and carers have met to compile the top ten unanswered research questions about oral and dental health. Its article stresses that dental care is a major challenge in Britain today, despite improvements in dentistry.

As in other areas of health, the difference in dental health varies greatly from the wealthiest to the poorest areas of the country. “As a nation we spend more than £3 billion on NHS dentistry every year,” according to the NIHR article.

Read the article, which has a link to the top ten priorities for oral and dental health research, on the NIHR’s website.

talkhealth will soon launch mydentalcare, a support programme for anyone wanting to improve their oral and dental health. It’s packed full of great advice from experts – and it’s free.

Cases of rare polio-like illness increasing

Children in England have fallen ill with a rare illness that has very similar symptoms to polio. It affects the nervous system and causes one, but not all, limbs to become weak. So far, PHE has reported 28 cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), which mainly affects children.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisations at PHE, told the BBC that “AFP is very rare. However, if you or your child develops weakness in any limb, you should seek medical care immediately so that appropriate testing and care can be given.”

Catch up with this developing story on the BBC News website.

News from talkhealth

Did you know that we have a range of freebies available? Take a look on our freebies page to see what’s on offer – but hurry as every freebie has an expiry date.

Wherever you are in the world, enjoy the weekend and have a wonderful Christmas!



This is the talkhealth blog spot, where we post on a wide range of health conditions, topics, issues and concerns. We post when we see something that we believe is of interest to our visitors. Our posts do not reflect any particular view or standpoint of talkhealth, but are merely to raise attention and awareness.

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