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Nutrition and Health Seminar

Hosted by Public Health Hub and partly supported by International Office, this event brought together speakers from Andalas University (Prof Indra Liputo), University of Sheffield (Dr Margo Barker) and Sheffield Hallam (CHSCR - Dr Hora Soltani, Alex Scott, Dr Shona Kelly, Dr Khaled Khatab and SBS - Dr Rachel Rundle, Dr Jenny Paxman) to showcase research into Nutrition and Health.

The event was led by Dr Hora Soltani as the Chair of Maternal and Early Childhood Research Interest Group (MECHRIG). This was well attended with 40+ delegates, bringing together colleagues and students from different faculties in Sheffield Hallam, Sheffield University and NHS Trusts (Sheffield and Barnsley).

Dr Hora Soltani opened the event, summarising her current work and her visit to Indonesia last year for a joint project. She provided background to the event, explaining how it was instigated by funding from British Council Higher Education Research Partnership Programme to promote international academic collaborations.

Prof Indra Liputo presented her work on Nutrition Transition in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. She compared patterns of food consumption in older and younger, and rural and urban populations within the three countries. Most continues to consume a traditional diet, with Western type foods an occasional treat. Those in urban areas had greater variety in their diet, due to food availability and purchasing power. Although traditional foods were predominantly consumed, more sugar, oil and meat were being added to these traditional recipes.

Dr Shona Kelly presented evidence that suggests BMI alone may not be an ideal indicator for health risk in all populations, and that BMI plus waist circumference is a better measure. More research is needed into the health risks of being underweight, as well as those who are obese, as underweight individuals are at risk of many physical and psychosocial issues and are more likely to be smokers.

Dr Khaled Khatab presented evidence of predicting childhood malnutrition in Egypt, using bio-demographic and socioeconomic variables. He concluded factors such as gender, setting (urban Vs rural), mother's education and number of antenatal visits were significant predictors of a child's health.

Dr Margo Barker presented on diet advice from women's magazines from the 1940s to 2010. During the war, nutrition claims centred around providing energy, growth and protecting health. Adverts also suggested foods which aided sleep, strong nerves and made women beautiful. The number of adverts has decreased over the 5 decades, with the number of articles on diet and health advice increasing. The types of food advertised has shifted towards convenience foods and supplements, with adverts and food consumption reflecting food policy such as the 5 -A-Day campaign.

Alex Scott and Dr Rachel Rundle presented a new collaborative project with members from SBS and CHSRC, funded by Tommy's and CLAHRC. The project aims to explore eating patterns of teenage mothers, with a particular attention to supplements during pregnancy. Views will be sought from teenage mums and their care teams including Family Nurse Partnership nurses and midwives from three sites. Initial findings suggested that knowledge of the recommended supplements was limited, access to the Healthy Start vitamins was an issue, but when mothers had received their vitamins they had developed systems to remind them to take the supplements daily.

Dr Jenny Paxman summed up the presentations by reflecting on the scenario of a teenage mum eating sausage rolls in a NHS canteen. Why did the teen mum choose a sausage roll from the range of food provided, what message is the NHS sending out still offering sausage rolls in hospitals.

Presentations from the day are available here

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