Men’s Health Week 2020: Restoring the Balance

This week is Men’s Health Week, a week to raise awareness of health issues that affect men.

16/06/2020   by Niall Grieve  

Handling those COVID-19 cravings

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, our lives have been completely turned upside down. In this stressful time and as we spend so much time at home, it’s tempting to snack a lot more, often on unhealthy foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. With this in mind, here are some tips on how to control those cravings.

15/04/2020   by Niall Grieve  

Can I boost my immune system by taking extra vitamin supplements?

Can supplements help boost your immune system? safefood nutritionist, Marian O'Reilly, has some advice.

08/04/2020   by Marian O’Reilly  

Salt content of vegan meals outside the home

Action on Salt has published a new report that includes a consumer survey and a survey of the salt levels in plant-based meals available in restaurants, fast food chains, and coffee shops.

19/03/2020   by Caitriona Breaw  

State of child health (UK)

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has published a landmark report looking at child health outcomes and data trends across the UK, publishing country-specific policy recommendations for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (NI). Trends in NI show that the percentage of 4-5 year olds recorded as overweight or obese has increased from 25.1% in 2014 to 26.1% in 2019.

09/03/2020   by Caitriona Breaw  

Health equity in England: 10 years in review

The Institute of Health Equity have published The Marmot Review 10 Years On which looks at health equity 10 years after the ‘Fair Society Healthy Lives’ report (commonly referred to as the Marmot Review).

05/03/2020   by Caitriona Breaw  

Improving young diets: new report on weaning

UNICEF has released a new report on improving young children’s diets during the complementary feeding period. The complementary feeding period, also known as weaning, is when a child is introduced to solid food gradually alongside breastfeeding/bottle feeding.

21/02/2020   by Caitriona Breaw  

Fewer drinks meeting sugar levy thresholds

A new study measures the impact of the United Kingdom Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) on price, product size, number of soft drinks on the marketplace, and the proportion of drinks over the lower levy threshold of 5g sugar per 100ml.

18/02/2020   by Caitriona Breaw  

Chile's package of policies: A before and after study

New research looking at sugar-sweetened beverage purchases pre and post implementation of new food labelling and advertising laws in Chile to tackle obesity. These laws include marketing restrictions, banned sales in schools, and the first national mandatory front-of-package (FOP) warning-label system.

13/02/2020   by Caitriona Breaw  

Meat in the European diet

A new paper from researchers in University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology presents an overview of dietary guidelines relating to meat consumption in Europe.

12/02/2020   by Caitriona Breaw  

Have a (healthy) heart this Valentine's day

Our placement student Niall Grieve explores the benefits of having a healthy heart and what to do to help our heart with some great Valentine's day ideas.

03/02/2020   by Niall Grieve  

Less sugar sold from soft drinks in the UK between 2015 and 2018

The amount of sugar from soft drinks being sold has reduced by 30% or 4.6g per person per day between 2015 and 2018 according to a new study from the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University.

28/01/2020   by Caitriona Breaw  

Pre-mixed spirits and cocktails high in sugar and calories

Action on Sugar highlighted this week that pre-mixed spirits and cocktails:

  • Can contain up to 9 teaspoons of sugar in a single 250ml can
  • Have been exempt from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy
  • Nine out of 10 of them have no on-pack nutritional information

21/01/2020   by Caitriona Breaw  

Health Survey Northern Ireland 2018/2019

The Department of Health have released the first findings from the Health Survey carried out in 2018/19 in Northern Ireland. Survey included questions relating to general health, mental health and wellbeing, antibiotics, obesity, smoking, drinking alcohol and sexual health.

16/01/2020   by Caitriona Breaw  

The Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study (HBSC)

The Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) Study has released a new report based on data collected in 2018.

13/01/2020   by Caitriona Breaw  

Effects of labelling food with physical activity calorie equivalents (PACE)

Research was conducted in the UK to study the effect of labelling food wih the amount of physical activity required to brun off the calories.

12/12/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Does it do what it says on the tin?

“Low in fat”, “high in fibre”, “helps to lower cholesterol”. All of these are examples of nutrition or health claims that can be found on a multitude of products in any supermarket or corner store in the country. But what affect do these claims have on our shopping and eating habits?

11/12/2019   by Niall Grieve  

Best Christmas memories

Catherine Conlon, safefood's Director of Human Health and Nutrition shares some ideas about a simpler, healthier Christmas.

06/12/2019   by Catherine Conlon  

Healthy Ireland Survey: Parents and Health

Healthy Ireland recently published a survey on a variety of health topics in the population of Ireland. This survey included a section on parents and their general health, weight, smoking habits, physical activity levels and sleep in comparison to non-parents.

20/11/2019   by Niall Grieve  

Half-time snacks

If you’re a rugby fan, unless you’re lucky enough to be in Japan right now, chances are you’re spending a lot of time in front of the TV and with the 8 hour time difference, this means a lot of the matches are in the morning, leaving you not a lot of time for a shop run.

08/10/2019   by Niall Grieve  

Energy... can I get it from a bottle?

We’ve all had that LONG day in the office or days where we feel like we are dragging our feet everywhere. We have no energy and just not on top form. But how many of us grab an energy drink to give us that pick-me-up we need to get us through the day?

08/10/2019   by Niall Grieve  

Red or processed meat and cancer

safefood rejects the recent finding from Dalhousie University and McMaster University that there is no need to cut down on red or processed meat.

03/10/2019   by Catherine Conlon  

Progress report on sugar reduction in the UK between 2015 and 2018

Public Health England (PHE) released a progress report on the voluntary sugar reduction programme. This programme aims to reduce sugar by 20% by 2020 in food products that are most frequently consumed in children up to the age of 18.

23/09/2019   by Niall Grieve  

Potential impact of a tax on high sugar snacks on the prevalence of obesity in the UK

A study of the general adult population in the UK was conducted to estimate the potential impact of a 20% price increase in high-sugar snacks on body mass index (BMI) and prevalence of obesity.

10/09/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Consumption of soft drinks and its association with mortality risk

Researchers conducted a population-based cohort study to establish a possible association between soft drink consumption and mortality in 10 European countries. 

05/09/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Adolescents sleep, screen-time, and physical activity guidelines in the United Kingdom

Researchers in the UK have examined sleep, screen-time (ST) and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) guidelines and their association with physical, social and mental health outcomes in adolescents.

30/08/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Factors influencing employees' eating behaviours in an office-based workplace

Researchers in the UK conducted a systematic review to identify the factors influencing employee’s eating behaviours within an office-based workplace.

28/08/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

New Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) Recommendations on saturated fats

SACN released a report considering the relationship between saturated fats, health outcomes and risk factors for non-communicable (chronic) diseases such as Diabetes in the UK

23/08/2019   by Niall Grieve  

A recent study shows an increase of sugar in UK confectionary between 1992 and 2017

A cross-sectional study was carried out to compare the sugar and energy content of chocolate confectionary in the UK between 1992 and 2017

20/08/2019   by Niall Grieve  

Factors associated with water consumption among children

Researchers have conducted a systematic review of individual, interpersonal and environmental factors with water consumption among children aged 2 to 12 years.

15/08/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Area deprivation, screen time and high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) consumption in young people

Researches in the UK carried out an online cross-sectional survey to investigate associations between deprivation in young people (aged 11-19 years) and consumption of HFSS foods and drinks, screen time exposure and health knowledge. 

13/08/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

The uptake of new recreation infrastructure by inactive adults

A longitudinal study in Australia examined the uptake and usage of the newly established Peninsula Aquatic and Recreation Centre (PARC), by inactive adults.

08/08/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Child and adult snack food intake

Researchers in Australia used a large (n=1299) population-based cohort to investigate child and adult snack food intake in response to pre-packaged snack item quantity/variety and snack box size.

01/08/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

The impact of a Public Health Responsibility Deal (RD) on salt intake, cardiovascular disease (CVD)

Researchers in the UK estimated the impact of the RD on trends in salt intake and associated changes in CVD and GCa incidence, mortality and economic costs in the UK from 2011-2025.

26/07/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Ending inappropriate promotion of commercially available foods for infants and young children in Eur

A new paper published by the WHO has outlined the first steps in developing a nutrient profile model to drive changes in product composition, labelling and promotion practices in food products aimed at infants and young children in the European Region.

24/07/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

The availability, composition and marketing of baby foods in Europe

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Europe has developed a methodology to identify commercial baby foods available in retail settings and collect data on their nutritional content, labelling and promotion.

18/07/2019   by Niall Grieve  

Pretty little liars

Niall Grieve explores the fantastical world of social media weight loss.

17/07/2019   by Niall Grieve  

Sugary drink consumption and risk of cancer

A French prospective cohort study, called NutriNet-Sante, was used to investigate the associations between the consumption of sugary drinks (such as sugar sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices) and the risk of cancer.

16/07/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Foods and drinks aimed at infants and young children: evidence and opportunities for action

Public Health England (PHE) recently published a report showing inconsistencies between national infant feeding guidelines and how commercial baby food and drink products are marketed.

02/07/2019   by Niall Grieve  

Association of lifestyle factors with physical activity levels in pregnancy

A study was carried out in Cork to investigate the link between age, diet, lifestyle factors and physical activity level in early pregnancy.

27/06/2019   by Niall Grieve  

The nutritional value of children's menus in chain restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland

A study was conducted by researchers in the UK and Ireland to investigate the nutritional quality of children's menus in 20 popular chain restaurants.

13/06/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

The impact of a complex workplace dietary intervention on Irish employees' off-duty dietary intakes

A study was conducted by researchers in the Republic of Ireland on making changes to the food available in workplace canteens in combination with an education programme, and looked at the impact on diet at work and outside of work.

06/06/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Point of choice kilocalorie labelling in the UK eating out of home sector

Research was carried out in major eating out and takeaway food chains in the UK to examine point of choice kilocalorie labelling practices for customers.

30/05/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Association of Sugary Beverage Consumption with Mortality Risk in US Adults

Research carried out by researchers in the US assessed the association of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and 100% fruit juices, alone and in combinations (sugary beverages), with mortality.

28/05/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Association of a beverage tax on sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages with changes i

The research carried out in Philadelphia showed the association between a beverage excise tax on sugar-sweetened and artifically sweetened beverages implemented in 2017 and changes in beverage prices and volume of sales.

16/05/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Adopting a healthy lifestyle helps reduce the risk of dementia

New guidelines published by the WHO provides recommendations on how people can reduce their risk of developing dementia.

15/05/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

How do local governments use planning systems to regulate hot food takeaway outlets?

Researchers in the UK conducted a census of English local government areas to locate planning policies regulating takeaway food outlets.

15/05/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Food choices for coeliacs

Food choice is a big part of everyday family life and having a son with coeliac disease makes it a little more challenging, but nothing that can’t be managed.

14/05/2019   by Alice Sheahan  

A portion size tool has the potential to increase portion size awareness in pregnant women

Research suggests that a portion size tool has the potential to increase portion size awareness in pregnant women

14/05/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Genes hold the key to birthweight

Recently published research has shown the maternal and foetal genetic effects on birth weight and their relevance to cardio-metabolic risk factors.

10/05/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Gaps to bridge: Misalignment between perceptions, reality and actions in obesity

Recently published research aimed to identify international perceptions, attitudes, behaviours and barriers to effective obesity care in people with obesity (PwO) and healthcare professionals (HCPs).

07/05/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Association between dairy and type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk in men versus women

Research has been published suggesting gender plays a role in the association between dairy product consumption and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

07/05/2019   by Joanna Gallagher  

Prevalence of severe obesity among primary school children in 21 European countries

The WHO has published research on the prevalence of severe obesity among primary school children in 21 European countries. The research was collected from member states who took part in the first three Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) studies.

03/05/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Association between characteristics at birth, breastfeeding and obesity in 22 countries

The study confirms the beneficial effect of breastfeeding against obesity, which was significantly increased if children had never been breastfed or had been breastfed for less than 6 months.

30/04/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

WHO guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age

A new report published by the WHO provides clear guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 year of age.

26/04/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Global benchmarking of children's exposure to television advertising of unhealthy foods and beverage

Recently published research presents a global overview of children’s exposure to television advertising of healthy and unhealthy foods and beverages. The study captures data from 22 countries collected between 2008 and 2017.

16/04/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Confusing health and nutrition claims in food marketing to children

Researchers at University of Glasgow investigated how nutritious children’s products with health and nutrition claims are. The research was carried across a variety of UK food retailers with 332 products.

10/04/2019   by Joanna Gallagher  

National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) Report for Northern Ireland

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Northern Ireland have published the results of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) assessing diet, nutrient intake and nutritional status of the general population.

09/04/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Dehumanisation of people with obesity

New research from the University of Liverpool examined whether people believe those with obesity are less evolved and less human than those without obesity.

04/04/2019   by Joanna Gallagher  

Health Inequalities Annual Report 2019 (NI)

The Department of Health in Northern Ireland (NI) have published the Health Inequalities Annual Report 2019. It was found that more than double the number of year 8 children were obese in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas.

02/04/2019   by Joanna Gallagher  

Digital marketing of unhealthy products to children

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have released a report that looks at the rapidly changing digital marketing ecosystem within which action to protect children's online experience must be taken.

20/03/2019   by Joanna Gallagher  

IBEC report indicates reduction in salt, sugar and saturated fat in food products sold in Ireland

A report released by IBEC indicates that food reformulation by 15 major food companies has resulted in reductions in salt, sugar, and saturated fat in food products sold in Ireland.

25/02/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Growing up in Ireland – infant cohort

The Economic and Social Research Institute have published the latest findings from the Growing up in Ireland, national longitudinal study which focused on the five year old infant cohort.

22/02/2019   by Joanna Gallagher  

Artificially sweetened beverages and all-cause mortality in women

The American Heart Association published a report examining the association between artificially sweetened beverage consumption and all-cause mortality in postmenopausal women in the USA.

20/02/2019   by Joanna Gallagher  

French NutriNet-Santé: Ultra- processed food consumption linked to risk of early death in adults

Findings have been relseased from the ongoing French NutriNet-Santé study providing evidence of a strong link between intake of ultra-processed food and mortality in adults aged 45 and above.

20/02/2019   by Deirdre Brennan  

Obesity related cancer trends in young adults

A recent study published by The Lancet found that there is a rising trend in obesity related cancers in young adults aged between 25 and 49 years compared to older generations in the United States.

07/02/2019   by Joanna Gallagher  

Planetary health diet

The EAT Lancet commission released findings from a study which proposes a “planetary health diet”, i.e. a diet best for human health and the planet.

17/01/2019   by Joanna Gallagher  

Health benefits of a high fibre diet

In a study published in the Lancet, Reynolds and colleagues use systematic and meta-analysis review methodology to show that high fibre and wholegrain intakes are associated with positive health outcomes.

11/01/2019   by Joanna Gallagher  

Energy content of main meals at major UK restaurants

An observational study published by the British Medical Journal compared the energy content of main meals served in major UK chain restaurants, both fast food and “full service”.

18/12/2018   by Joanna Gallagher  

Sugar intake in infants, children and adolescents – ESPGHAN guidance

A concise guide was produced by The European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) Committee on Nutrition.

03/12/2018   by Joanna Gallagher  


Children, START, Sugar

Health survey Northern Ireland

This week the Department of Health released data from the Health survey Northern Ireland, with data from 2010/11 to 2017/18 on BMI, diet, sexual health, drinking and smoking habits, physical activity and illness.

22/11/2018   by Joanna Gallagher  

Report on tackling childhood obesity

The Joint committee on Children and Youth Affairs has released a report on tackling childhood obesity stating 20 recommendations the government should consider.

15/11/2018   by Joanna Gallagher  

Northern Ireland consumer perceptions of reformulation of food

A report released by Food Standards Agency (FSA) investigated Northern Ireland consumers’ perceptions of product reformulation and portion size reduction Findings show that consumers are open to reduced-sugar and reduced-fat alternatives as long as the new products match old ones in terms of taste, value and the perceived healthiness or allergy risks posed by replacement ingredients.

15/11/2018   by Joanna Gallagher  

Report on determinants of weight gain, overweight and obesity

The World Cancer Research Fund have released a report on the determinants of weight gain, overweight and obesity as part of their Continuous Update Project which has identified 12 cancers causally linked to greater body fatness.

14/11/2018   by Joanna Gallagher  

Taxation on red and processed meat

Research released by University of Oxford suggests placing a tax on red and processed meat, similar to that placed on sugary drinks, with the intention to reduce the negative impacts that consumption of these products can have on health.

08/11/2018   by Joanna Gallagher  

Growing up in Ireland national longitudinal study

New data has been published today from Growing up in Ireland, a national longitudinal study of children in Ireland.

08/11/2018   by Joanna Gallagher  

Trick or treating with a nut allergy

To take the scare factor out of Halloween, we asked our colleague, Gillian, what tricks and treats she has for her son who has a severe nut allergy.

26/10/2018   by Gillian Fox  

Results from the Healthy Ireland Survey 2018

The Department of Health in the Republic of Ireland today published the results of the Healthy Ireland Survey 2018. This is the fourth wave of the Healthy Ireland Survey and consists of 7,701 interviews conducted with a representative sample of the population aged 15 and older.

24/10/2018   by Joana Caldeira Fernandes da Silva  

Growing Up in Ireland longitudinal study

The latest report from the Growing Up in Ireland longitudinal study presents a comprehensive overview of the lives of the child cohort at age 13, including data on weight, weight perception and snacking behaviours.

17/10/2018   by Joanna Gallagher  

Marketing of foods high in fat, sugar and/or salt to children in Europe

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released an evaluation of the implementation of recommendation for the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children within the European Region.


17/10/2018   by Joanna Gallagher  

Radio DJ Stephen Clements takes on the Play Pact challenge

“I’m a Dad, and sometime it’s so easy to just sit in front of your phone, get the kids to sit in front of the TV.” Putting down his phone and turning off the TV, he made a pact with his kids Poppy (7) and Robbie (3) to be more active – indoors and outdoors.

30/09/2018   by Stephen Clements  

Mandatory calorie labelling on food outside of the home

The Department of Health and Social Care, England is holding a consultation on implementing mandatory calorie labelling on all food and drink served outside of the home, including restaurants, cafes and online third party takeaway platforms.


25/09/2018   by Joanna Gallagher  

The role of deprivation in abdominal obesity

A study conducted amongst adults living in Hong Kong suggests that deprivation is strongly associated with abdominal obesity.

19/09/2018   by Joanna Gallagher  

New study suggests consumption of full fat dairy is linked to lower risk of developing cardiovascula

A new study titled “Association of dairy intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 21 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study” was recently published online by The Lancet.

17/09/2018   by Sinead Hurley  

Carbohydrates and mortality

For many people who have tried to lose weight a low carbohydrate diet is a popular approach.

21/08/2018   by Marian O’Reilly  

15 to 24 year olds more likely to use fast food delivery services

An increased number of Irish people are using fast food delivery services once a month or more says the latest data.

14/08/2018   by Sinead Hurley  

Study suggests that obesity alone does not pose higher risk of mortality

Earlier this month a study titled ‘Individuals with obesity but no other metabolic risk factors are not at significantly elevated all‐cause mortality risk in men and women’ was published online in Clinical Obesity.

10/08/2018   by Sinead Hurley  

Review of the Perinatal Mortality in Ireland Annual Report

The National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre (NPEC) recently released the Perinatal Mortality in Ireland Annual Report 2016.

09/08/2018   by Joanna Gallagher  

New recommendations for tackling obesity published in the Republic of Ireland

A new Joint Committee on Education and Skills report aimed at countering childhood obesity was released this month.

18/07/2018   by Sinead Hurley  

Reducing portion size, packaging and tableware shown to reduce the amount we eat.

Prof Theresa Marteau presented findings from The Cochrane Review on portion sizes at safefood’s recent All-island Obesity Action Forum event.

03/07/2018   by Sinead Hurley  

New strategies to halve childhood obesity by 2030

The UK government have announced the second part of their childhood obesity plan which aims to reduce childhood obesity by half by 2030. This follows on from the first part of the childhood obesity: a plan for action published in 2016.

02/07/2018   by Sinead Hurley  

Healthy Venues Award: Encouraging venues to Facilitate Healthier Choices

The Healthy Venues Award, in conjunction with the World Obesity Forum, are encouraging conference centres around the world to make changes that help delegates make healthier choices. The Healthy Venues Award prioritises workplace health and wellbeing by encouraging venues to offer healthy food options and encourage the use of stairs and outside facilities.

25/06/2018   by Sarah Cassidy  

The health benefits of brisk walking

To help improve overall health and wellbeing, Public Health England (PHE) and the Royal College of General Practitioners are encouraging adults to include brisk walking into their daily routine.

19/06/2018   by Sarah Cassidy  

An end to smoothies and fruit juices in school canteens is on the cards as part of a campaign to tac

The Scottish government announced last week a new strategy to lower sugar limits in schools by tackling fruit juices and smoothies in school canteens. This measure may eventually affect yoghurts and some breakfast cereals.

18/06/2018   by Sarah Cassidy  

Do our emotions influence food intake?

A recent meta-analysis published in Neuroscience and Behavioural Reviews investigated whether negative or positive emotions can lead to overeating.

13/06/2018   by Sarah Cassidy  

FSAI report on vitamin and mineral levels in food supplements on the Irish market

This report will act as a guidance to the Irish food industry to ensure safe food supplement products on the Irish market. The report is also useful to consumers as it will give guidance on what the maximum daily amount of vitamins and minerals by age and gender.

07/06/2018   by Marian O’Reilly  

Five healthy habits may increase life expectancy by ten years or more

Research from the United States has reported that following five healthy habits may add more than ten years to your life.

16/05/2018   by Anne Parle  

Obesity screening in schools - beneficial or harmful?

Last week at the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs a call was made for weight screening to take place annually in schools. The reason for this is because research shows parents of overweight children underestimate their children’s weight.

10/05/2018   by Tracey Thompson  

Let’s drink to a less sugary future

After much debate over the last few years the tax on sugary drinks available in our shops has been introduced both in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. It’s a measure that we welcome at safefood. From now on any sugar sweetened drink with 5g added sugar per 100ml is subject to tax.

03/05/2018   by Marian O’Reilly  

Sugar sweetened drinks tax comes into effect in the Republic of Ireland

Today, 01 May 2018, the sugar sweetened drinks tax came into effect in the Republic of Ireland. The tax is one of a number of measures being implemented under ‘‘A Healthy Weight for Ireland – Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016-2025’’ to reduce levels of obesity.

01/05/2018   by Anne Parle  

Survey finds poor awareness of risk factors for cancer

A new study published in the European Journal of Cancer has found that many people have poor awareness of the risk factors for cancer.

01/05/2018   by Tracey Thompson  

Does increasing healthy food choices in a hospital shop impact profit and consumer acceptability?

A study published in the Journal of Public Health has found that increasing healthy food choices in a hospital shop did not negatively affect sales or customer satisfaction.

25/04/2018   by Anne Parle  


Choice, Food, Sales

Families spending more on treat foods than on fruits and vegetables

Research from safefood has found that families in Northern Ireland are spending more on treat foods than on fruit and vegetables.

24/04/2018   by Anne Parle  

Children sedentary for more than 60% of their waking hours

New findings from the Cork Children’s Lifestyle Study (CCLaS) reveal that children are sedentary for more than 60% of their waking hours. The CCLaS Study is a study of school children aged 8 to 11 years old living in Cork city and Mitchelstown. Children wore accelerometers for 7-days to measure activity levels.

10/04/2018   by Anne Parle  

Soft-drinks Industry Levy in Northern Ireland

On 6 April 2018, a soft-drinks industry levy was introduced for Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. The tax applies to sugary drinks that have an added sugar content of at least 5g per 100ml.

10/04/2018   by Anne Parle  

Sugar-sweetened drinks tax in the Republic of Ireland

The Department of Finance have provided an update on the introduction of a sugar-sweetened drinks tax in the Republic of Ireland. The tax was due to begin on 6 April but will now commence on the 1 May 2018.

10/04/2018   by Anne Parle  

Teenage girls in Ireland have adequate amounts of iodine in their bodies

New research published by safefood has found that teenage girls on the island of Ireland have adequate amounts of iodine in their bodies.

05/04/2018   by Anne Parle  

Junk food marketing and young people

A new report has been released by Cancer Research UK examining marketing of foods high in fat, sugar and salt to young people. This is the second report from Cancer Research UK using data from a survey with young people.

04/04/2018   by Anne Parle  

Inequalities in overweight and obesity in schoolchildren in Ireland

An article published in the journal BMC Public Health has investigated if there is a relationship between school socio-economic status and overweight and obesity in schoolchildren.

04/04/2018   by Anne Parle  

Report on sport and physical activity in Europe

A new report on sport and physical activity across European Member States has been published. The report includes findings from 1,004 individuals in Ireland and 1,338 individuals in the United Kingdom (UK).

04/04/2018   by Anne Parle  

Results from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme

Today Public Health England published results from years 7 and 8 of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) rolling programme. This report covers years 2014/15 to 2015/16. The NDNS rolling programme is a continuous programme, carried out across the United Kingdom to assess the diet, nutrient intake and nutritional status of both adults and children.

16/03/2018   by Anne Parle  


Diet, NDNS, Survey

Health Inequalities Report 2018

The Department of Health in Northern Ireland (NI) have published the “Health Inequalities – Annual Report 2018”. The report examines the health inequality gaps between those in the most and least deprived areas in NI. The report looks at inequality gaps across a number of different health indicators including diet.

13/03/2018   by Anne Parle  

Nutritional labelling on menus may reduce the calories we buy

A new review published in the Cochrane Library has found evidence that nutritional labelling on menus can reduce the calories purchased in restaurants. The researchers found that calorie labelling on menus would reduce energy purchased per meal by 7.8% or 47kcal (on an average 600kcal meal).

13/03/2018   by Anne Parle  

One third of UK adults underestimate calorie intake

Research suggests that UK adults eat more calories than they realise. It suggests that men on average eat 3,119 calories, while reporting to eat 2,065 calories and women on average consume 2,393 calories but report eating 1,570 calories. On average adults surveyed under-reported their calorie intake by 32%.

21/02/2018   by Anne Parle  


Calories, Diet

A Fitter Future for All Report

Yesterday the Department of Health published its progress report on the 10 year obesity framework in Northern Ireland.

20/02/2018   by Anne Parle  

Ultra-processed foods and cancer. Is there a link?

Last week a study published in the British Medical Journal has been receiving a lot of media attention. The study suggested that there is a link between consumption of highly processed foods and cancer.

19/02/2018   by Anne Parle  

Codes of Practice for advertising and marketing of food and non-alcoholic beverages

Today the Department of Health launched voluntary codes of practice on non-broadcast advertising of high fat, sugar and salt foods. 

14/02/2018   by Anne Parle  

Eating while watching TV linked with overweight and obesity in children

A review paper published in this month’s Obesity Reviews journal reports that eating while watching television may be a risk factor for being overweight or obese in childhood and adolescence.

09/02/2018   by Anne Parle  

Quality of sleep may be linked with childhood obesity

A study in the United States has found that poorer sleep quality was associated with higher body mass index (BMI) in children.

09/02/2018   by Anne Parle  


BMI, Sleep, Weight

Family meals and children's health

Obesity Reviews have published the results of a meta-analysis which investigates the relationship between the frequency of family meals and nutritional health in children.

05/02/2018   by Sarah Cassidy  

Teens who watch TV ads for junk food likely to crave junk food

Cancer Research UK have published a new report entitled “New evidence on TV marketing and junk food consumption amongst 11-19 year olds 10 years after broadcast regulations”. The report examines young people’s exposure to junk food marketing on television and its link to diet and weight.

25/01/2018   by Anne Parle  

Sleep and obesity

Sleeping for longer each night could lead to a healthier diet according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

18/01/2018   by Anne Parle  

Availability of processed foods linked to obesity

Researchers have found an association between the availability of processed food in the home and obesity.

18/01/2018   by Anne Parle  

Sugary drinks and weight gain

A systematic review paper has provided further evidence that sugary drinks consumption is associated with obesity in children and adults. 

11/01/2018   by Anne Parle  

Ethics of digital food marketing to children

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published an article discussing the ethics of assessing digital marketing of food and drink to children. 

09/01/2018   by Anne Parle  

Large supermarket bans sale of energy drinks to children under 16

Large United Kingdom retailer Waitrose is to ban the sale of energy drinks to children under 16.

04/01/2018   by Anne Parle  

PHE launch children’s snack campaign

Today Public Health England have launched a Change4Life campaign around children’s snacking. The campaign provides guidance to families on children’s snacking.

02/01/2018   by Anne Parle  

Health in Europe 2016

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have published the fourth edition of their report entitled "Health at a Glance: Europe 2016". The report examines the key health indicators and health systems in European Union (EU) countries. 

07/12/2017   by Anne Parle  

Additional costs of overweight and obesity

A study published in the Journal Obesity has predicted the additional costs associated with having overweight or obesity throughout adult life in the United States (US).

07/12/2017   by Anne Parle  

Dietary fibre in Europe

A review of dietary fibre in Europe and its relationship to health has been published online in the Journal Nutrition Research Reviews. It involved researchers from academia and the food industry. 

05/12/2017   by Anne Parle  

Children exposed to up to nine junk food adverts in half an hour

A report released by the Obesity Health Alliance entitled "A ‘Watershed’ Moment. Why it’s prime time to protect children from junk food adverts" has found that children are exposed to as many as 9 adverts for high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) foods in just a 30 minute period. 

28/11/2017   by Anne Parle  

Mass media and childhood obesity

The European Academy of Paediatrics (EAP) and the European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG) have published a report reviewing the association between mass media and childhood obesity in Europe. 

27/11/2017   by Anne Parle  

How to talk to children with obesity

Weight stigma is a problem among children and adolescents. This has a number of health consequences including depression, low self-esteem, social isolation, poorer school performance, binge eating, decreased physical activity and worsening obesity. 

23/11/2017   by Sarah Cassidy  

What are the estimated costs of childhood overweight and obesity on the island of Ireland?

One in four children on the island of Ireland (IOI) is overweight or obese. Research has been carried out to estimate the lifetime costs associated with excess body weight in children on the IOI.

20/11/2017   by Sarah Cassidy  

What is the impact of out-of-home eating on daily energy intake?

Results from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey have found evidence that supports the relationship between mean daily energy intake and consumption of out-of-home meals.

17/11/2017   by Sarah Cassidy  

Planning cities to promote physical activity

A new report from the World Health Organisation examines the options and strategies for transforming public spaces to promote physical activity in cities. 

16/11/2017   by Anne Parle  

WHO publishes advisory document on obesity stigma

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have published an advisory document entitled "Weight bias and obesity stigma: considerations for the WHO European Region". 

08/11/2017   by Anne Parle  


Bias, Obesity, Stigma

Results of the Growing Up in Ireland Infant Cohort Study

The Economic and Social Research Institute have published the latest findings from the Growing Up in Ireland Infant Cohort Study which focuses on children aged 7 / 8 years.

08/11/2017   by Sarah Cassidy  

Extended country profile for Ireland published by World Obesity

World Obesity published an updated country profile for Ireland in October. The profile contains a range of statistics and graphics on overweight and obesity in Ireland. 

06/11/2017   by Anne Parle  

START campaign

safefood in partnership with the Department of Health and Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland; and Healthy Ireland, Health Service Executive and Department of Health in the Republic of Ireland launched a new 5-year public awareness campaign aimed at maintaining a healthy weight in children.

01/11/2017   by Anne Parle  

Results from the Healthy Ireland Survey 2017

The Department of Health in the Republic of Ireland have published the results of the Healthy Ireland Survey 2017. The survey included people aged 15 years of age and over.

24/10/2017   by Sarah Cassidy  

Results from the Northern Ireland Health Survey 2016/17

The Department of Health in Northern Ireland have published the results of the Health Survey 2016/17.

24/10/2017   by Sarah Cassidy  

Junk food advertising spend is nearly 30 times more than spend on health

Spending on junk food advertising by the food industry is nearly 30 times higher than the spend on promoting healthy eating by the government.

20/10/2017   by Anne Parle  

10-fold increase in children with obesity over the past four decades

A new study published in the Lancet reports that the levels of obesity in children and adolescents has risen 10-fold in the last 40 years. 

20/10/2017   by Anne Parle  

Poor diet linked to one in five deaths

Last week the Lancet published a series of papers using data from the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD). The GBD study collects data in 195 countries worldwide including the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

11/10/2017   by Anne Parle  

Transforming European food and drink policies for cardiovascular health

The European Heart Network (EHN) has published a paper on Transforming European food and drink policies for cardiovascular health. The paper presents recommendations for achieving a cardiovascular health promoting diet for Europe. 

05/10/2017   by Anne Parle  

A campaign to make folic acid relevant and routine

Our folic acid message hasn’t changed, but we want to communicate it in a novel way to try to make it more engaging for young women. So for this campaign, we have created "Stella" to help get the folic acid message out there.

04/10/2017   by Aileen McGloin  

Over 300 deaths from cancer attributable to overweight and obesity each year

A new study, published in the Irish Medical Journal has found that on average 310 cancer deaths each year are attributable to excess body weight.

26/09/2017   by Anne Parle  

Nutrition Standards for School Meals

Today the new Nutrition Standards for School Meals were launched by the Minister for Health, the Minister for Education and Skills and the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection. These standards are designed to ensure the School Meals programme follows the national Healthy Eating Guidelines.

25/09/2017   by Anne Parle  

Average person consumes an extra 330kcal per week as a result of upselling

A report published by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and Slimming World reveals that the average person consumes an extra 330 calories per week – 17,000 calories per year – as a result of "upselling" of foods and drinks high in calories, fat, sugar and salt. 

21/09/2017   by Anne Parle  

Reducing the price of fruit and vegetables increases intake

The cost of fruit and vegetables can be a large proportion of a weekly household budget. For many people, this prevents their purchase and therefore consumption.

18/09/2017   by Sarah Cassidy  

Eating more wholegrains reduces risk of colorectal cancer

A new report released by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has found that eating 90g of wholegrains a day reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by 17%.

14/09/2017   by Anne Parle  

One in eight older adults in Ireland are vitamin D deficient

Researchers have found that one in eight adults over 50 in the Republic of Ireland are Vitamin D deficient. The research was carried out by researchers from TILDA, The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing.

12/09/2017   by Anne Parle  

Are carbohydrates and fats bad for your health?

The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study assessed the relationship between carbohydrates, fat and protein, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality. 

31/08/2017   by Anne Parle  

Consistency of weight loss may be linked to long-term sustainability

A new study published in the journal Obesity suggests that losing a consistent amount of weight each week is linked with long-term maintenance of weight loss.

29/08/2017   by Anne Parle  

Consultation on draft Global Action Plan to Promote Physical Activity

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have launched a consultation on the draft new Global Action Plan to Promote Physical Activity.

25/08/2017   by Anne Parle  

Next steps in tackling childhood obesity

Public Health England (PHE) have announced their next steps in tacking childhood obesity – a calorie reduction programme. 

22/08/2017   by Anne Parle  

Is there such a thing as ‘healthy obesity’?

Recently there has been a lot of media attention around the concept of being overweight or obese and "metabolically healthy". Researchers from the United Kingdom (UK) have found there is no such thing as this "healthy obesity".

17/08/2017   by Anne Parle  

Intervention tackling adolescent obesity

A new report looks at the outcomes of The Australian Capital Territory "It’s your Move!" (ACT IYM) intervention carried out between 2012 and 2014.

16/08/2017   by Sarah Cassidy  

Children in emergency accommodation living off fast food

A report released by Focus Ireland entitled "Food Access and Nutritional Health of Families in Emergency Accommodation" has highlighted the struggle of families in emergency accommodation to maintain a healthy diet.

15/08/2017   by Anne Parle  

Consumers & their food report

Bord Bia have released a new report on the food attitudes, shopping and cooking trends of adults in the Republic of Ireland.

03/08/2017   by Anne Parle  

Folic acid update

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) have released a new report updating their recommendations on folic acid. These recommendations build on those issued previously in 2009.

02/08/2017   by Anne Parle  

Supermarket receipts could provide nutrition information

Researchers at Birmingham City University say a new traffic light system on till receipts showing the nutritional information for an entire supermarket shop could allow people to make healthier choices about food.

01/08/2017   by Anne Parle  

What is the truth behind artificial sweeteners?

There is evidence that sugar consumption is linked to an increased risk of obesity which is linked to the development of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. As a result artificial sweeteners have become popular for those losing or maintaining weight as an alternative to sugar. However what is the truth behind artificial sweeteners – are they helpful?

28/07/2017   by Sarah Cassidy  

New report on childhood obesity

The British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) have launched their report on Childhood Obesity. The report examines the scientific evidence on the causes and consequences of childhood obesity, shares best practice from across BIPA jurisdictions and makes recommendations for future obesity strategies

26/07/2017   by Anne Parle  

Launch of new online men’s health resource

Today the Irish Men’s Sheds Association have launched

20/07/2017   by Anne Parle  

Cost of unhealthy diets and low physical activity

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have released a framework for assessing the cost of the economic burden of an unhealthy diet and low physical activity levels.

17/07/2017   by Anne Parle  

Protein quantity and bone health in older adults

A new research article has been published which investigates the relationship between dietary protein levels and its effect on bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture risk in those aged 50 years or above.

13/07/2017   by Sarah Cassidy  

Improving health through spatial planning

Public Health England have released a report reviewing the impact of the built and natural environment on health.

12/07/2017   by Anne Parle  

Saturated fats and health - What is the evidence?

A new advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA) examines the effects of replacing intakes of saturated fat with other types of dietary fat and carbohydrates and the associated risk of developing CVD.

12/07/2017   by Sarah Cassidy  

Children consuming more fruit and vegetables in school

University College Dublin Institute of Food and Health have published a new report which evaluates the Food Dudes Healthy Eating Programme. The programme is aimed at primary school children in the Republic of Ireland and is designed to increase their consumption of fruit and vegetables.

29/06/2017   by Sarah Cassidy  

Ambition and Action in Nutrition 2016-2025

The World Health Organization (WHO) have released a nutrition strategy entitled "Ambition and Action in Nutrition 2016-2025". The strategy aims to define the role of the WHO in advancing nutrition.

27/06/2017   by Anne Parle  

New standards for food served to staff and visitors in health and social care settings

On the 16 of June 2017, Minimum nutritional standards for catering in health and social care were launched in Northern Ireland. The nutritional standards have been developed to promote healthy eating amongst staff and visitors in hospital restaurants and cafes.

26/06/2017   by Anne Parle  

28% of children are overweight or obese in Northern Ireland

Today the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health launched its State of Child Health – Northern Ireland report.

15/06/2017   by Anne Parle  

Health effects of overweight and obesity over 25 years

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports an increase in the prevalence and burden of disease related to high body mass index (BMI).

14/06/2017   by Anne Parle  

Obesity Update 2017

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released the Obesity Update 2017.

12/06/2017   by Anne Parle  

Parents unaware of the calories their children need from restaurant meals

A recent survey from the United States suggests that parents are unaware of how many calories their children should eat in restaurants.

12/06/2017   by Anne Parle  

Plant-based diet and obesity risk

Research carried out in Spain suggest a plant-based diet may be associated with a significantly lower risk of obesity.

08/06/2017   by Anne Parle  

Obesity as a disease

For the vast majority of families, making changes to the food they eat can have a really positive impact on their weight and health. For others, whose weight is classed as​ obese, it's important to recognize that they need extra help from a health professional.

08/06/2017   by Marian O’Reilly  



HBSC Trends Report launched

This week the Department of Health launched the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) Trends Report. The report presents the findings on indicators of children’s health between 1998 and 2014.

31/05/2017   by Anne Parle  

11.5% of households experiencing food poverty in Ireland

This week the Department of Social Protection published the Social Inclusion Monitor 2015. The report presents the progress towards the national social target for poverty reduction in the Republic of Ireland.

30/05/2017   by Anne Parle  

Food skills and diet

Researchers have found that individuals with better food preparation skills had a lower consumption of processed foods.

26/05/2017   by Anne Parle  

Healthy Ireland Network

Last week the Healthy Ireland Network was launched by an Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Healthy Ireland.  

22/05/2017   by Anne Parle  

Obesity among young people in Europe

This week the World Health Organization released a report on the health and well-being of young people in Europe from 2002 to 2014.

18/05/2017   by Anne Parle  

Mediators of socio-economic status and obesity risk

Individuals from a lower socio-economic background have a higher risk of obesity. Researchers have examined what factors mediate this association.

16/05/2017   by Anne Parle  

Dietary behaviours and academic achievement

Dietary behaviours could be associated with higher academic achievement according to new research.

15/05/2017   by Anne Parle  

Weight loss classes for treating obesity

Offering overweight and obese individuals 12 months of weight loss classes could prevent thousands of cases of obesity-related diseases.

08/05/2017   by Anne Parle  

4th Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative report launched

Yesterday Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran Kennedy launched the 4th report from the Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI).

05/05/2017   by Anne Parle  

Childhood obesity could be linked with a 4 times higher risk of diabetes

Children with obesity may have a four-fold greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D) compared with children who are a normal weight.

03/05/2017   by Anne Parle  

Trans-fatty acid restriction

Restrictions on the use of trans-fatty acids in restaurants and cafes in 11 New York states was associated with a drop in heart attacks and strokes.


28/04/2017   by Anne Parle  

Physical activity in Irish school-children

A study of school children in the Republic of Ireland has found that few children met physical activity and screen time recommendations.

28/04/2017   by Anne Parle  

Consumer acceptance of changes to restaurant menus

A study published in scientific journal Obesity found that small reductions in calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium of restaurant menu items were acceptable by consumers.

12/04/2017   by Anne Parle  

WHO guidelines for monitoring junk food marketing to children

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a new tool for monitoring the marketing of food and beverages to children via television and the internet.

11/04/2017   by Anne Parle  

Food and You Report

The Food Standards Agency released the findings from the latest "Food and You" survey (Wave 4). It provides information on the public’s behaviours, attitudes and knowledge regarding food safety and food issues.

07/04/2017   by Anne Parle  

What is your child drinking?

Sugary drinks are linked with weight gain and tooth decay. They include fizzy drinks, squashes, cordials, juice drinks and energy drinks. As part of our Childhood Obesity campaign one of our key messages was to replace sugary drinks with water.

06/04/2017   by Anne Parle  

Guidelines on reducing sugar in food

Public Health England (PHE) published guidelines last week setting out the approaches that can be taken by the food industry to reduce the amount of sugar in foods.

03/04/2017   by Anne Parle  

Food price and dietary consumption

A recent systematic review and meta-analysis examined the effects of a change in food price on dietary consumption. The research found that increasing the cost of unhealthy food lowered its consumption and decreasing the cost of healthy food increased its consumption.

28/03/2017   by Anne Parle  


Cost, Food, Price

Fall in sugary drinks consumption in Irish schoolchildren

Findings from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study show a fall in sugary drink consumption in Irish schoolchildren from 1998 to 2014.

27/03/2017   by Anne Parle  

Predictors and barriers of adherence to lifestyle interventions in adults with obesity

A recent systematic review published in the journal Clinical Obesity has examined the determinants of adherence to lifestyle intervention programmes for the management of obesity.


22/03/2017   by Anne Parle  

Tracking of weight status in UK primary school children

A report released by Public Health England has tracked and examined changes in the weight status of children between the first and final years of primary school.

21/03/2017   by Anne Parle  

New TILDA report on ageing launched

The third major report from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) was released last week. The report presents findings from Wave 3 of the study.

13/03/2017   by Anne Parle  

Is a healthy diet affordable?

New research released by the Institute of Economic Affairs in the United Kingdom (UK) compared the cost of healthy and unhealthy foods.

08/03/2017   by Anne Parle  

Breastfeeding research in the media

A recent study published in scientific journal Nutrients received a lot of media attention much of which concluded that breastfeeding may not be as good as we think. The study was very limited in what it looked at and no conclusions can be drawn from it. Breast milk is the best option for babies where it is possible to breastfeed.

07/03/2017   by Anne Parle  

New study supports the link between obesity and 11 types of cancer

An association for 11 cancers (Oesophageal adenocarcinoma, multiple myeloma, and cancers of the gastric cardia, colon, rectum, biliary tract system, pancreas, breast, endometrium, ovary, and kidney) were supported by strong evidence in this study.

01/03/2017   by Marian O’Reilly  

Reduced consumption of sugary drinks in Mexico due to tax

A tax on sugar sweetened beverages was introduced in Mexico in 2014 and a new study shows a decrease in purchases of taxed beverages by 7.6%.

27/02/2017   by Niamh Dowling  

Men and young adults have lower confidence in their cooking skills

This week, a report was published by safefood which evaluated the cooking and food skills of adults on the island of Ireland.

15/02/2017   by Niamh Dowling  

Socioeconomic status and health

A recent study published in the Lancet journal has highlighted the contribution of socioeconomic status (SES) to premature mortality.

08/02/2017   by Anne Parle  

Sugary drinks consumption among children and teens

A paper released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States (US) has provided an update on the current consumption of sugary drinks among children and teenagers in the US.

06/02/2017   by Anne Parle  

Weight gain during pregnancy and childhood obesity

Researchers in Greece have investigated the association between gestational weight gain and body mass index (BMI) of children.

26/01/2017   by Anne Parle  

Burnt toast and how much is too much

When we’re not quite sure what a "safe" level is or how dangerous a chemical can be is when problems arise. A good example of this is the news reports this week about something called acrylamide and food like burnt toast. First, the science bit!

25/01/2017   by James McIntosh  

Implications of the Eatwell Guide

Researchers examined the health effects of changing the average diet to meet the new recommendations set out in the new Eatwell Guide launched in the UK in March 2016. The key differences in the new recommendations are a decrease in the recommended free sugar intake and an increase in the recommended fibre intake.

18/01/2017   by Anne Parle  

Genetic risk of obesity in an obesogenic environment

A recent study carried out by researchers in the United Kingdom (UK) has found that obesogenic environments heighten the genetic risk of obesity. An obesogenic environment is one that promotes weight gain and is not conducive to weight loss.

17/01/2017   by Anne Parle  

Too much sugar at breakfast

A survey carried out by Public Health England (PHE) has found that children are consuming half the daily recommended sugar intake from their breakfast.

05/01/2017   by Anne Parle  

Saturated fatty acids and coronary heart disease

A study published in the British Medical Journal has added to evidence that saturated fat intake is a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

03/01/2017   by Anne Parle  

Sugary drinks tax and health

Researchers in the United Kingdom (UK) predict that a tax on sugary beverages will have a positive effect on health.

21/12/2016   by Anne Parle  

Dairy products and health: what is the evidence?

A new review article published in Food & Nutrition Research examines the scientific evidence on dairy intake and risk of chronic diseases including obesity, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cancer and all-cause mortality.

07/12/2016   by Anne Parle  

Healthy Food for Life launched

Today the Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, TD, launched Healthy Food for Life – new healthy eating guidelines and an updated Food Pyramid.

06/12/2016   by Anne Parle  

Very low dairy intake in older Irish adults

A recent study by researchers from Trinity College Dublin found that older Irish adults are not meeting the recommended daily servings of dairy.

05/12/2016   by Anne Parle  

Gut bacteria may play a role in weight regain after dieting

A study, published in Nature suggests that gut bacteria may play a role in weight regain after dieting.

30/11/2016   by Anne Parle  


Bacteria, Diet, Weight

National Healthy Cities and Counties of Ireland Network

Yesterday the Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, TD, launched the National Healthy Cities and Counties of Ireland Network.

30/11/2016   by Anne Parle  

Sweeteners in diet soft drinks can have a negative effect on weight-loss

A study published in the Journal "Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism" found that aspartame (ASP), a sweetener commonly found in diet soft drinks, could have a negative effect on weight-loss efforts and metabolic syndrome.

25/11/2016   by Niamh Dowling  

Teenagers in the UK are drinking a bathtub full of sugary drinks a year

New calculations from Cancer Research UK indicate that young people in the UK are consuming high amounts of sugary drinks, with teenagers drinking double the amount than that of children.

25/11/2016   by Niamh Dowling  

Shorter sleep associated with sugary drinks consumption

Researchers from the United States have found a link between shorter sleep duration and consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSB).

16/11/2016   by Anne Parle  

Changes in BMI over time affect cancer risk

Increases in body mass index (BMI) over a 15 year period can raise the risk of obesity-related cancers in later life a new study has found.

16/11/2016   by Anne Parle  

Fizzy drinks exceeding daily sugar limits

The average sugar content of carbonated sugar sweetened beverages (fizzy drinks) is higher than an adult’s daily recommended sugar content researchers in the United Kingdom (UK) have found.

16/11/2016   by Anne Parle  

No Fry Zone 4 Kids

The "no fry zones" amendment has been accepted in the Wicklow County Development Plan 2016 – 2022. Councillors voted at a meeting on Monday, with 25 councillors supporting the plan and only 3 rejecting the plan.

10/11/2016   by Anne Parle  

Tips for shift-workers

Does working evenings, nights and weekends sound familiar? Are you skipping meals and losing sleep? This is the case for many workers as the traditional nine to five becomes a thing of the past, with around 15% of the workforce now working shifts.

04/11/2016   by Anne Parle  

Salt in the diet is still too high

Today the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) released a report on its annual salt monitoring programme. This programme is in place since 2003 and encourages the food industry to gradually and voluntarily reduce the salt content of processed foods.

04/11/2016   by Anne Parle  


Diet, Nutrition, Salt

A lack of sleep can cause weight gain

Missing out on sleep can increase calorie intake according to researchers in the United Kingdom. People who were deprived of sleep consumed extra calories on the days they did not have enough sleep.

03/11/2016   by Anne Parle  


Sleep, Weight

Visual map shows the vitamin D status of adults living in Dublin city and surrounding areas

A recent report published last week in the Irish Journal of Medical Science shows the vitamin D status of adults living in Dublin city and the surrounding areas.

02/11/2016   by Niamh Dowling  


Vitamin D

The 30 second chat that can reduce weight

Doctors that screen for obesity and spend 30 seconds telling patients about interventions to lose weight have an opportunity to help reduce obesity levels.

28/10/2016   by Anne Parle  

Healthy Ireland Survey 2016

Yesterday Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Minister of State at the Department of Health launched the Summary Report of the Healthy Ireland Survey 2016.

20/10/2016   by Anne Parle  

Meal regularity is beneficial for weight management

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that meal regularity is beneficial for weight management.

18/10/2016   by Anne Parle  

People who are deficient in a particular gene have an increased preference for food high in fat

A study carried out by researchers from the University of Cambridge investigates the effects of the gene known as melanocortin-4-receptor (MC4R) on fat and sugar preference. It was found that those deficient in MC4R have an increased preference for high fat food and a decreased preference for high sugar food.

06/10/2016   by Niamh Dowling  

Women’s Health and Well-being in Europe

The World Health Organization have recently released the “Women’s health and well-being in Europe: beyond the mortality advantage” report. The report examines the impact of gender-based inequalities interacting with social, economic and environmental determinants.

27/09/2016   by Niamh Dowling  

A Healthy Weight for Ireland - Obesity Policy and Action Plan

Yesterday afternoon, the Government launched "A Healthy Weight for Ireland - Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016 – 2025". With 1 in 4 children and 6 in 10 adults being overweight or obese, this ten-year plan aims at tackling the current overweight and obesity epidemic in Ireland.

23/09/2016   by Niamh Dowling  

Results from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme

The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey results from years 5 and 6 (2012/13 – 2013/14) have recently been published.

20/09/2016   by Niamh Dowling  


NDNS, Survey

Findings from the National Adult Nutrition Survey and the National Pre-school Nutrition Survey

Findings from the National Adult Nutrition Survey (NANS) and the National Pre-school Nutrition Survey (NPNS) were recently presented in a workshop hosted by the Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA).

12/09/2016   by Niamh Dowling  

Added sugars and cardiovascular disease risk in children

A scientific statement released by the American Heart Association has reviewed the relationship between added sugars and cardiovascular disease in children and adolescents, and suggests that children consume less than 25g of added sugars a day.

07/09/2016   by Niamh Dowling  

Ode to fad diets

I’ve tried them all, I’ve lost and gained, To no avail, the pounds retained, "You’ll lose the weight, you’ll feel no pain, Try our plan, you won’t complain"

11/08/2016   by Aileen McGloin  


Diet, Weight-loss

5 daily hacks to hold weight gain back

Watching your weight can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are five daily hacks that are so easy, you’ll hardly notice....

05/08/2016   by Aileen McGloin  


Diet, Summer, Tips

Daily salt intake almost 50% more than recommended in Northern Ireland

Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland released a report highlighting that  daily salt intake is almost 50% higher than recommended.   

29/07/2016   by Laura Keaver  

Diet, weight, physical activity and oesophageal cancer

The World Cancer Research Fund has released a report looking at which factors increase and decrease the risk of developing oesophageal cancer.

28/07/2016   by Laura Keaver  

Global evidence on cancer prevention

The World Cancer Research Fund have created a summary report of global evidence on cancer prevention.

28/07/2016   by Laura Keaver  

Energy drinks: What’s the evidence?

A recent briefing paper written by UK researchers has reviewed the worldwide evidence on energy drinks and their impact on health, and suggests possible measures for local and national authorities in the UK.

21/07/2016   by Laura Keaver  

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition recommendations on Vitamin D

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition have launched a report on their recommendations for vitamin D in the UK population.  

21/07/2016   by Laura Keaver  

Canada releases world’s first 24-hour movement behaviour guidelines for children and youth

The new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth encourage children and youth to “Sweat, Step, Sleep and Sit”.

08/07/2016   by Laura Keaver  

The best start in life

This report was developed to provide a European overview on existing national recommendations on nutrition, physical activity and weight gain during pregnancy and the postpartum period, as well as infant and young child nutrition recommendations and supportive measures. 

07/07/2016   by Laura Keaver  

Wine wobble woes and beer belly battles!

Excessive drinking isn’t good for us, we all know that at this stage. But do you really know how much it can affect your weight?

24/06/2016   by Julie Carroll  


Diet, Drink, Food

The 2016 Global Nutrition Report

The latest edition of the Global Nutrition Report has been released. This acts as report card on the world's nutrition - globally, regionally, and country by country - and on efforts to improve it. 

24/06/2016   by Laura Keaver  

World's obese population hits 640 million

More than one in ten men and one in seven women across the globe are now obese, according to researchers led be the Imperial College London and published in the Lancet. 

01/04/2016   by Laura Keaver  

2016 Global Food Policy Report

The International Food Policy Research Institute have released the 2016 Global Food Policy Report.

01/04/2016   by Laura Keaver  

Dietary sodium in adults in England 2014

The National Diet and Nutrition Survey assessment of dietary sodium in adults aged 19 to 64 years in England, 2014 was  published by Public Health England this morning.

22/03/2016   by Laura Keaver  

New Eatwell Guide for the UK

Public Health England have released new Eatwell Guidelines for 2016.

21/03/2016   by Laura Keaver  

Giving allergenic foods to infants from three months old may prevent allergies

A major new study has found that introducing allergenic foods to the infant diet from three months of age may be effective in food allergy prevention.

09/03/2016   by Laura Keaver  

Vegan diet can reduce prostate cancer risk by 35%

Men who follow a vegan diet based on vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits may have a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer according to research funded by the World Cancer Research Fund.

04/03/2016   by Laura Keaver  

A whole-of-society approach for a healthier canada

An extensive study conducted by the Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology in Canada has developed a report outlining a route to a leaner, healthier future.

04/03/2016   by Laura Keaver  

Killian's Operation Transformation - 4 years on

Following his time as an Operation Transformation leader over four years ago Killian Byrne has continued his weight loss and built a considerable running and triathlon CV. Read Killian's story to see how he has progressed since taking part in Operation Transformation...

01/03/2016   by Killian Byrne  

Let's boot out excess sugar, babies are sweet enough already

The European Parliament has halted the European Commission’s plan to allow baby food to contained up to three times more sugar than is recommended by the World Health Organization. 

29/01/2016   by Laura Keaver  

Ending childhood obesity

The Commission on Ending Childhood obesity presented its final report to the World Health Organization today. The report looks to address the high levels of childhood obesity and overweight globally.

27/01/2016   by Laura Keaver  

Ireland’s first ever National Physical Activity Plan is launched

The Government has today launched Ireland's first ever national Physical Activity Plan which aims to get at least half a million more Irish people taking regular exercise within ten years.

14/01/2016   by Laura Keaver  

Are Americans meeting their dietary guidelines?

New dietary guidelines for America were recently released prompting the U.S. Department of Agriculture to look at the most recent nutrition surveys available to determine what extent the guidelines have been adhered to in recent years.

14/01/2016   by Laura Keaver  

Health Behaviours in School Children Survey

A national survey of school children’s health behaviour was launched today.

09/12/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Maternal obesity

Public Health England Obesity Knowledge and Intelligence team has published updated information on maternal obesity, including its prevalence, effect on outcomes and implications for healthcare services. 

08/12/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Obesity and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

World Obesity have announced a new learning module on Obesity and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

30/11/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Health Survey Northern Ireland 2014/15

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety have published the 2014/15 Health Survey for Northern Ireland.

19/11/2015   by Laura Keaver  

What's in your Indian takeaway?

Eating a typical Indian takeaway meal of a starter, main course and pilau rice can contain far more calories than an adult's total daily requirements.

17/11/2015   by Laura Keaver  

UK child and adult weight status

Public Health England have compiled up to date information on child and adult weight status in the UK.

30/10/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Processed meat and red meat

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, have revealed there is sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer. 

27/10/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Healthy Ireland Survey 2015

A summary of the findings from the Healthy Ireland Survey 2015 have been released by the Department of Health.

08/10/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Cork study links childhood obesity and sugary drinks

According to the Cork Children’s Lifestyle Study young children who consume sugar-sweetened drinks are significantly more likely to be overweight or obese.

08/10/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Portion, package or tableware size for changing selection and consumption of food

This Cochrane review provides the most conclusive evidence to date that acting to reduce the size, availability and appeal of larger-sized portions, packages and tableware has potential to reduce the quantities of food that people select and consume by meaningful amounts.

30/09/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Physical activity strategy for the WHO European Region 2016–2025

The World Health Organisation launched their physical activity strategy for 2016 - 2025 this week.

18/09/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Trans Fats

The British Medical Journal this week highlighted some papers in the area of trans fats.

18/09/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Global Nutrition Report

The Global Nutrition Report was released this week an reported that one in three members of the global population is malnourished, and the problem exists in every country. 

18/09/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Healthy diets save lives

The World Health Organisation has released an infographic looking at how many of the 53 WHO member countries in Europe are achieving nutrition goals.

17/07/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Carbohydrate and health

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (UK) have released new recommendations on carbohydrates and health.

17/07/2015   by Laura Keaver  

"Babies Know the Facts About Folic" Campaign

In this blog post, our CEO Ray Dolan explains why we are starting a campaign to raise awareness that women who are sexually active and could become pregnant should take a folic acid supplement daily. 

16/07/2015   by Ray Dolan  

Food for thought

The British Medical Association have released a report setting out the measures needed to help promote healthier diets among children and young people.

16/07/2015   by Laura Keaver  

A Fitter Future for All 2015-2019

Outcomes for the period 2015-2019 to support implementation of A Fitter Future for All 2012-2022, the strategy for preventing and addressing overweight and obesity in Northern Ireland, were released recently.

16/07/2015   by Laura Keaver  

U.S. children not getting enough hydration

More than half of all children and adolescents in the U.S. are not getting enough hydration

15/07/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Cost of a Healthy Food Basket (Republic of Ireland)

New study reveals low-income households need to spend ¼ of weekly income to eat healthily. 

23/06/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Cost of a Healthy Food Basket (Northern Ireland)

Results from a pilot in Northern Ireland looking at the cost of healthy food basket have just been released.

22/06/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Veronica's Operation Transformation - 3 months on

Following her time as a leader on Operation Transfromation 2015 Veronica Horgan has accomplished her personal goals and has overcome physical and mental barriers. Read Veronica's story to see how she has progressed since the show ended... 

12/06/2015   by Veronica Horgan  

Curbing global sugar consumption

Today, World Cancer Research Fund International has launched a policy brief to help reduce the amount of sugar consumed worldwide. 

18/05/2015   by Laura Keaver  

The rising cost of a healthy diet

A new study has found the cost of eating healthy foods has soared 91% while the cost of high-calorie processed foods has fallen.

18/05/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Proportion of overweight and obese males and females to increase in most European countries by 2030,

Europe will face an obesity crisis of enormous proportions by 2030, according to latest projections released by the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO) at this year’s European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Prague, Czech Republic

06/05/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Small, practical steps are best way of maintaining a healthy weight

Latest NICE guidance advises that by taking small practical steps such as walking more, limiting TV and other screen time, eating more healthily, avoiding sugary drinks and drinking less alcohol we can help maintain a healthy weight or prevent excess weight gain.

30/03/2015   by Victoria O'Dwyer  

The future of peanut allergy prevention?

Eating peanuts at a young age, not avoiding them, may be key to avoiding peanut allergy.

27/02/2015   by Laura Keaver  

New safefood report reveals consumers think portion sizes only relevant when dieting

Consumers regard portion sizes as being relevant only to those dieting, more important to women and not an issue for men or younger adults, a new report from safefood published today reveals.  

16/02/2015   by Laura Keaver  

New nutrition database shows global calorie consumption

Euromonitor have launched a new database which tracks daily calorie intakes in 54 countries. It looks at the total amount of nutrients purchased per-person per day through packaged food and soft drinks products. Fresh produce, meats and fish are not currently monitored.

05/02/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Cereals still high in sugar

An Action on Sugar survey has found that many cereals still contain a high amount of free sugars.

30/01/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Scientific opinion on diet replacement products

The European Food Safety Authority have released a scientific opinion on the necessary content of total diet replacement products for weight loss. 

27/01/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Childhood obesity slide set - UK

Public Health England have released an up to date slide set describing childhood obesity in the UK

26/01/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Childhood obesity trends and patterns - UK

Public Health England have released an up to date slide set describing childhood obesity in the UK.

26/01/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Vitamin D for health care professionals and the public

Public Health England has recently published two new leaflets, Vitamin D: Information for healthcare professionals and Vitamin D: All you need to know, to raise awareness of current government advice on vitamin D and the risk of vitamin D deficiency.

20/01/2015   by Laura Keaver  

An apple a day...

A Spanish study has found that fiber intake and fruit consumption are associated with a lower risk of death.

07/01/2015   by Laura Keaver  

Global Nutrition Report 2014

The Global Nutrition Report 2014 by the International Food Policy Research Institute has been released.

03/12/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Positive Parenting Programme

The evaluation of the Positive Parenting Programme implemented in Longford and Westmeath is now available.

03/12/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Marketing of sugary drinks

The Rudd Centre for Food Policy and Obesity has released a report looking at the marketing of sugary drinks to children and adolescents.

02/12/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Excess weight causes nearly 4% of new cancers a year worldwide

Global figures have shown that nearly four in every 100 new cancers in adults each year are attributable to high body mass index (BMI).

28/11/2014   by Laura Keaver  

New guidelines for the management of obesity

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence have released new guidelines regarding the management of obesity in children, young people and adults.

28/11/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Children exposed to large quantity of unhealthy food ads per year

Pre-school children as young as three are being presented with more than 700 television adverts for unhealthy food each year in Northern Ireland and over 1,000 in the Republic of Ireland.

25/11/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Health Survey Northern Ireland 2013/14 Report

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) today published the findings of its Health Survey Northern Ireland 2013/14 Report.

20/11/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Weight linked to prostate cancer for the first time

Today, World Cancer Research Fund International has launched a new report which has found strong evidence that being overweight or obese increases the risk of advanced prostate cancer. 

20/11/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Childhood obesity levels stabilising

New research from the Republic of Ireland suggests that childhood obesity rates have stabilised.

14/10/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Healthy diet costs three times that of junk food

New research by the University of Campbridge has shown that eating healthily can cost three times as much as consuming unhealthy food - and this price gap is widening.

10/10/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Combating obesity through national school food policies across Europe

The European Commission have published a report looking at the nutrition related content of school food policies across Europe.

08/10/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Long-standing health conditions among three-year-old children in the Republic of Ireland in 2011

The Institute of Public Health have released a report showing that around 11,000 three-year olds in Ireland have at least one serious long-standing health condition.

07/10/2014   by Laura Keaver  

It's no wonder it's hard to say "No"

As adults we know that when temptation knocks, it can take a lot of will power not to let it in. It’s the same for our children.

06/10/2014   by Sheena Horgan  

Why reduce treats?

This week we are launching, ‘let’s say no’ to treat foods, the latest phase in our campaign to reduce childhood obesity. Why?

22/09/2014   by Ray Dolan  

Food portion sizes and dietary quality in Irish children and adolescents

New research on relationships between the portion sizes of a range of foods commonly consumed by Irish children and adolescents and key indicators of dietary quality on the days they were consumed.

19/09/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Call for sugar intake to be further reduced

Researchers from the UK are calling for sugar consumption to be reduced to no more than 3% of total energy intake to help prevent dental caries and tooth erosion.

18/09/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Are worldwide efforts to promote fruit and vegetable consumption effective enough?

A recent review by researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia, have found that the impact of current initiatives to increase fruit and vegetable consumption is only low to modest.

28/08/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Excess weight increases risk of 10 common cancers

A high body-mass index increases the risk of developing 10 of the most common cancers according to the largest study of its kind involving over 5 million adults from the UK. 

15/08/2014   by Niamh Gately  

Salt and health

Three new pieces of research were published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week looking at the link between salt in our diet and health.

15/08/2014   by Niamh Gately  

Obesity and type 2 diabetes in adults: new report from Public Health England

The paper provides an overview of obesity and type 2 diabetes among adults, describing the epidemiology of each disorder, how the 2 conditions are linked and why they present a major public health challenge.


01/08/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Nutrient content claims on packaged foods

Nutrient claims made on food products in the United States are currently misleading.

17/07/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Top tips to avoid weight gain on holiday

One study has shown that the average weight gain on holiday is about 5lb. But weight gain isn’t an inevitable result of your holiday. So how can you avoid it?

10/07/2014   by Marian O’Reilly  

Danah’s story

Danah Walsh got in touch recently to share her inspiring Operation Transformation journey with us. The positive response was incredible. As a result Danah has shared her tips on how she got the motivation to transform her life.

10/07/2014   by Danah Walsh  

Increased diversity of food in the first year of life may help protect against allergies

A broad range of foods in a child’s first year of life may help to prevent the development of allergic diseases.

02/07/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Sugar Reduction paper

Public Health England (PHE) has just published its 'Sugar Reduction: Responding to the Challenge' paper.

26/06/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Carbohydrates and health report

Today the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) published their draft report 'Carbohydrates and Health for public consultation'. 

26/06/2014   by Laura Keaver  

New report: Attitudes of the Irish Public towards policies to address obesity

New research investigating public attitudes to obesity-targeted policies reveals that child-related interventions are the most strongly favoured.

25/06/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Irish Heart Foundation symposium: tax on sugar sweetened beverages

The Irish Heart Foundation is calling for a 20% tax on sugary drinks in the budget.

24/06/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Is red meat linked to breast cancer?

Research from the US has reported that eating a lot of red meat in early adult life may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. 

11/06/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Poor food knowledge among children

Research conducted by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) among over 13,100 school children across the UK, shows that more than half of secondary school children believe that carbohydrate is more calorific than fat.

06/06/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Ireland’s Report Card on Physical Activity in Children and Youth

Ireland's first report card on physical activity in children and youth has just been released. The report card is a comprehensive assessment of the current state of physical activity among children and youth in Ireland and overall received a 'D minus'.

21/05/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Outdoor play with friends increases health benefits for children

New research from the UK and sponsored by the World Health organisation has shown that that children greatly benefit from outside play with friends. Being outdoors with friends equated to an extra 17 minutes per hour of physical activity. 

16/05/2014   by Laura Keaver  

National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Results from Years 1-4 (combined)

This new report combines data on nutrition and diet for a sample of the UK population for the years 2008 – 2012. 

16/05/2014   by Laura Keaver  

MenuCal – calorie calculator for businesses

The Food Safety Authority has developed a new online calorie calculator to enable food businesses to calculate the calorie content of the meals they serve.

11/04/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Pulses could protect your heart

Eating just one daily serving of beans, chickpeas, lentils or peas could significantly reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol and heart disease risk.


10/04/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day can help you live longer

UK researchers have found that eating seven fruit and vegetable portions a day reduces a person’s risk of dying of cancer by 25% and of heart disease by 31%. 

01/04/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Health Survey Northern Ireland 2012 - 2013

Results from the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) report ‘Health Survey Northern Ireland 2012/13’ have just been released.

21/03/2014   by Victoria O'Dwyer  

Is protein bad for you?

An American study has reported that eating too much protein could be bad for middle-aged people. This study included 6,381 adults aged 50 and over from NHANES III – a nationally representative U.S. study.

07/03/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Cork Children’s Lifestyle Study

Results from the Cork Children’s Lifestyle Study (CCLaS) which investigated the wellbeing, diet and exercise levels of Cork children between April 2012 and June 2013 have just been released.

07/03/2014   by Laura Keaver  

‘Lifeskills’ Survey of schools in Ireland

While most post-primary schools have a healthy eating policy, the availability of ‘junk food’ remains a challenge, as does the level of physical education.

12/02/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Too much sugar can lead to heart disease

Researchers from the U.S. have found that people who consume higher levels of added sugar are at increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

07/02/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Nutritional quality of the school day diet in Irish Children

Research from Ireland has shown that food eaten in schools by children were higher in added sugar and lower in dietary fibre than food consumed before or after school.

07/02/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Poor breakfast in youth linked to metabolic syndrome in adulthood

This Swedish study found that adolescents who consumed poor breakfasts had a higher rate of metabolic syndrome 27 years later than those who ate substantial breakfasts

30/01/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Practical classes more effective than theory classes in teaching food safety risks to children

Italian researchers have found that active participation of children in practical food safety classes leads to a greater understanding of microorganisms and their impact on people and the environment. 

30/01/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Could our favourite childhood advertising characters still be influencing our food choices as adults

Researchers from the UK and US have found that adults have a positive health association with foods that were advertised with popular characters in their childhood. They view these products more positively in terms of nutrition when adults.

28/01/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Revolutionise your New Year resolutions

Was one of your New Year resolutions to change the way you eat and lose weight?  If you are starting to feel your resolve crumble don’t worry, there are some simple things you can do to stay on track.

17/01/2014   by Aileen McGloin  

Does wheat make us fat and sick?

Researchers from the UK and Netherlands after reviewing all available scientific literature concluded that there is no substantial evidence that wheat is involved in the development of obesity or other health conditions. 

15/01/2014   by Laura Keaver  

EFSA conclude aspartame and its breakdown products are safe for human consumption at current intake

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently re-evaluated aspartame and concluded that both it and its breakdown products are safe for human consumption at current intake levels. 

09/01/2014   by Laura Keaver  

Conflicts of interest may bias research into sugary drinks and obesity

Financial support from the food industry might bias the conclusions of scientific research with regard sugar sweetened beverages and weight gain/obesity.

07/01/2014   by Laura Keaver  

We're dreaming of a sleep-filled Christmas

The thing is, the days barely get light, the temperatures are staying low and the duvet is just so darned cosy. And, while sleep is attractive in its own right, the most amazing thing is that it actually has huge health benefits.

19/12/2013   by Aileen McGloin  

How nutrition labels can increase our food consumption

Researchers from the Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE), in collaboration with the University of Hertfordshire, in the UK, and the University of Alberta, in Canada, recently published the results of a study regarding the impact of nutrition labelling on food and energy intake.

11/12/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Growing up in Ireland: Key results for five year olds

The latest Key Findings from the Infant Cohort at 5-years was launched yesterday by Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs at the Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference.

28/11/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Children’s portion size choice is affected by bowl size used

Researchers from Cornell University have shown that children will choose larger portions when given larger bowls, and they will also eat 52% more food. 

27/11/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Children’s recognition of healthy foods

Researchers on the Island of Ireland have demonstrated the three-to five year olds have an understanding of what foods are healthy and which foods are not. 

14/11/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Food Allergies

The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) has released a report looking at food allergens in Europe. 

14/11/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Could meal timing predict weight loss effectiveness?

The calories we consume and those we use being physically active may not be the only factors that influence the success of weight loss. Researchers from North America and Spain have concluded that timing of food intake may also influence the success of such a programme.

13/11/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Inequalities in diet and physical activity

Public Health England have released a briefing paper highlighting the social and economic inequalities still seen in diet and physical activity in the UK.

13/11/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Saturated fat to be reduced across products in the UK

The UK government has announced several food manufacturers have signed a ‘responsibility pledge’ which will see them decrease the saturated fat content in their products.

08/11/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Families reducing consumption of fresh foods

A recent UK study has revealed that the recession has caused many households to cut back on fresh fruit and vegetables and increase their intake of processed foods.

08/11/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Could eating at the dinner table help combat obesity?

Eating dinner around the table as a family, instead of in front of the television could help combat obesity.

08/11/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Providing a variety of vegetables increases intake in children

Children chose to eat more vegetables at a meal when two varieties are available compared tro when they are only offered one choice.

08/11/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Sleep and childhood obesity

Lack of sleep has been shown to play a role in childhood obesity.

04/11/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Let's take on Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a worry to me and something I think about in several contexts – as a parent, a grandparent, as Chief Executive of a health promotion body, and even as a professional with a background in finance and health economics.

25/10/2013   by Martin Higgins  

Portion Distortion

The British Heart Foundation has launched a report looking at how the portion sizes of many food products has increased substantially in the last 20 years. 

24/10/2013   by Laura Keaver  

‘Health claim’ for fructose to be allowed in the EU

The European Union (EU) has ruled that food and drinks manufacturers can now include a ‘health claim’ that their sweetened products are ‘healthier’ than alternatives if they replace more than 30% of the sucrose or glucose content with fructose. 

21/10/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Irish consumers not eating enough fruit and vegetables

New research funded by safefood has reported that although 75% of consumers know they should be eating five portions of fruit and vegetables daily, only 36% are actually doing so. 

14/10/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Call for tax on sugar sweetened beverages

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) Policy Group on Obesity are calling for a 20% tax on sugar sweetened beverages in the 2014 budget.

07/10/2013   by Laura Keaver  

A tax on soft drinks in Ireland could have a small but important impact on obesity.

A 10% tax on soft drinks in Ireland is predicted to lead to a small reduction in obesity prevalence in adults.

03/10/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Skipping breakfast does your heart no favours.

Men who skip breakfast have a higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease.

02/10/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Walnuts could reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease in overweight adults

Adding walnuts to the diet could help overweight individuals reduce their risk of diabetes and heart disease

25/09/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Chewing food more reduces appetite after eating

Chewing your food more at meals could reduce appetite after eating. However it won’t lower food intake at next meal.

18/09/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Lack of sleep leads to increased food purchasing

According to new research a bad night’s sleep could make it harder to resist temptation and lead to increased food purchasing.

16/09/2013   by Laura Keaver  

Blueberries, apples, grapes and pears reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, fruit juices increase risk

Three servings of fruit per week reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, while drinking fruit juice could slightly increase the risk.

16/09/2013   by Laura Keaver  

New research suggests obesity may be responsible for more deaths than previously thought

Media worldwide are today reporting about a study which found that obesity may be responsible for far more deaths than previous estimates of about 5%.

16/08/2013   by Emily Kelleher  

Eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper

Research, published in the Journal Obesity, suggests that a high-calorie breakfast with reduced intake of calories at dinner is beneficial and might be a useful alternative for the management of obesity and metabolic syndrome.

07/08/2013   by Emily Kelleher  

Childhood obesity rates declining in the United States

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have recorded a decline in the numbers of obese children aged between 2 and 4 years across 18 states in the US.

07/08/2013   by Emily Kelleher  

Household income, smoking and lower breastfeeding are associated with obesity after childbirth

Researchers from University College Dublin and the Economic & Social Research Institute have conducted a study which found that maternal obesity after childbirth is associated with lower household income, smoking, lower breastfeeding duration, and earlier completion of full-time education.

13/06/2013   by Emily Kelleher  

Be an action hero for men’s health week (and beyond)!

It’s Men’s Health Week and for once men, you’re getting the attention you deserve!

12/06/2013   by Aileen McGloin  


BMI, Diet, Health, Men

Halting obesity rates now could save £940 million in dementia care in the future

The results from a recent study presented at the European Congress on Obesity suggest that the rise in obesity could lead to an increase in the prevalence of dementia.

14/05/2013   by Emily Kelleher  

Report Card 11

A new UNICEF report, Report Card 11, puts the Republic of Ireland (ROI) and the UK in 10th and 16th position respectively in a league table of child well-being in the world's richest countries.

10/04/2013   by Emily Kelleher  

Launch of Healthy Ireland - A Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013 – 2025.

Today the Department of Health launched Healthy Ireland, a new government framework for action to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in Ireland.

28/03/2013   by Emily Kelleher  

Killian Byrne - Operation Transformation – One Year On

Our guest blogger Killian Byrne, event manager and Dad of two, was a leader on Operation Transformation last year. He has continued his amazing lifestyle change since his time on the show ended in 2012. Read on to find out how he did it.

08/03/2013   by Killian Byrne  

What we can learn about food safety from our garden

Just like plants, bacteria can ‘wake up’ when there’s a change in their environment but stop growing when conditions are unfavourable.


01/03/2013   by David McCleery  

Heart healthy benefits to a vegetarian diet

Researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK examined the association of a vegetarian diet with the risk of developing coronary heart disease (e.g. angina or heart attack).

01/02/2013   by Emily Kelleher  

Does being overweight really mean a longer life expectancy?

Yesterday newspaper headlines worldwide claimed that being overweight can extend life rather than shorten it.

03/01/2013   by Emily Kelleher  

Obesity is now killing more people than hunger

Research results compiled from the work of nearly 500 researchers in 50 countries conclude that obesity and the diseases that arise as a result are overtaking problems related to hunger on a global scale.

21/12/2012   by Emily Kelleher  

Can drinking coffee half your risk of mouth cancer?

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology examined associations of caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee and tea intake with deaths from oral or pharyngeal cancer.

13/12/2012   by Emily Kelleher  

Obesity rates declining in the US?

After decades of rising childhood obesity rates, several American cities are reporting their first declines.

12/12/2012   by Emily Kelleher  

Wine not so good for the heart after all?

It has long been thought that moderate wine consumption was good for the heart.

10/12/2012   by Emily Kelleher  

Effect of reducing total fat intake on body weight

A low fat diet works for achieving a healthier body weight.

07/12/2012   by Emily Kelleher  

Cost of Obesity and Malnutrition in the UK

Public Sector 100: Health and Nutrition in the Public Sector Report 2012 shows the health, social and economic cost of poor diet in the UK.

05/12/2012   by Emily Kelleher  

Men’s Health!

Men, on the island of Ireland, experience an unequal burden of ill-health.

05/12/2012   by Emily Kelleher  

The economic cost of obesity

Findings from new safefood funded research into the cost of overweight and obesity on the island of Ireland has estimated the annual cost to be €1.64 billion (€1.13 billion Republic of Ireland; €510 million Northern Ireland).

28/11/2012   by Emily Kelleher  

Health Survey Northern Ireland 2011/12

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) have presented the first results from the 2011/12 Health Survey NI with a sample size of 4,390 individuals.

23/11/2012   by Emily Kelleher  

Supplements and the common cold

I’m acutely aware of the joys of the winter cold. The paracetamol, honey and lemon have taken the edge off my cold but I haven’t been amused over the last couple of days when friends said...

23/11/2012   by Marian O’Reilly  

Infant Feeding

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) have published two reports highlighting key recommendations to improve the nation’s baby feeding patterns and nutrition.

20/11/2012   by Emily Kelleher  

Physical activity, superfoods and coeliac disease... more on EUFIC Online

The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) has published a new edition of EUFIC Online, the newsletter that provides you with insights into food safety & quality and health & nutrition for a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

13/11/2012   by Emily Kelleher  

Men matter!

Men, on the island of Ireland, experience a unequal burden of ill-health.

09/11/2012   by Emily Kelleher  

Losing weight - what works?

Commercial diets and diet books often promise quick fixes, and let’s be honest, most of us would love a quick fix. Unfortunately though, these diets tend to be unsustainable. "So what does work?"

09/11/2012   by Aileen McGloin  

Cancer: A conversation that we should be having

The evidence that a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of most cancers is strong. As a nutritionist it’s a message that I often give.

19/10/2012   by Marian O’Reilly  


Cancer, Health

Low Glycaemic Index (GI) foods and pregnancy

Women who switch to a low GI diet during pregnancy reduce their chances of excessive weight gain by up to 20%.

18/09/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Shift work and health

Shift workers can be at a higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, digestive problems, sleep disorders, depression and vitamin D deficiency than those who work standard hours.

10/09/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Feeding the sporty teenager

‘Back to school’ time is now upon us. For many it’s a welcome return to some routine and order at home, and food plays a big role in this.

30/08/2012   by Marian O’Reilly  

Antibiotics and increased weight gain

New research from the United States (US) has added to the theory that antibiotics can disrupt people’s gut bacteria causing them to put on weight.

28/08/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Obesity and cognition

New research links obesity to declining mental performance. The study published in the journal Neurology, looked at over 6,000 people over a decade.

28/08/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Obese children and gallstone risk

Obese children are over seven times more likely than those of healthy weight to be diagnosed with gallstones.

28/08/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Belly fat and risk of heart disease

Normal weight people who carry weight around their belly have a greater risk of dying than people who are obese.

28/08/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Food and Drink sponsorship and sport

If the Olympics are to be true to their motto of “inspiring a generation”, having fast food and beer as the main sponsors as well as an official “treats provider” are not the way to go.

27/07/2012   by Dermot Moriarty  


Food, Obesity, Sport, TV

A Body Shape Index to measure obesity

Researchers have developed a new metric to measure obesity, called A Body Shape Index (ABSI) that combines Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference. ABSI shows better correlation with death rate than the measures used separately.

26/07/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

NICE guidance on preventing type 2 diabetes

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) have published new guidance “Preventing type 2 diabetes: risk identification and interventions for individuals at high risk”.

16/07/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Low-calorie sweeteners

Research has shown that low-calorie sweeteners can reduce calorie intake and aid weight control in healthy adults when used instead of sugar.

16/07/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

(Not) Working 9 to 5

Picture it! As I write this post, somewhere in the world it’s the middle of the night and even though most will be snug in their beds, there will be someone, somewhere – working!

13/07/2012   by Emily Kelleher  

Dietary sodium levels among adults in England

A new study in England has shown that 7 out of 10 people are consuming too much salt.

02/07/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

TV viewing and obesity in children and young people

The National Obesity Observatory (NOO) have looked at the evidence around TV viewing and obesity in children and young people.

29/06/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

The National Pre-School Nutrition Survey

Results from the National Pre-School Nutrition Survey were published yesterday by the Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA).

21/06/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Survey finds poor awareness of cancer risk factors

A survey conducted at University College Cork in conjunction with Breakthrough Cancer Research and the Irish Cancer Society has found poor awareness of cancer risk factor among Irish people.

31/05/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Link between lack of sleep and risk of obesity and diabetes

New research has shown that a lack of sleep or disrupted sleep patterns may lead to an increased risk of obesity and diabetes.

24/05/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Association between drinking coffee and living longer

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has looked at the association between drinking coffee and risk of death among 402,260 people aged between 50 and 71 years.

21/05/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

The effect of labelling food as ‘low in salt’

New research published in Public Health Nutrition has looked at the effect of front-of-pack labels on people’s taste perception and use of table salt for currently available and sodium-reduced soups.

21/05/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Pregnancy and weight

New research is placing an emphasis on achieving a healthy weight both before and during pregnancy.

21/05/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Food safety ads and cooking

Our latest food safety TV advertisement. Effective or over the top? We explain why we think it won’t affect whether a person chooses to cook or not..

08/05/2012   by Aileen McGloin  

Eating fish may lower risk of Alzheimer's disease

New research has found eating fish and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

03/05/2012   by Christine Connolly  

Breastfeeding and risk of overweight and obesity at nine years of age

New research has found that breastfeeding protects against children becoming obese at nine years of age.

02/05/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Launch of Caloriewise

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) Northern Ireland have launched Caloriewise, a six-month pilot scheme in which local food businesses will display calorie information on menus for the first time.

25/04/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

People underestimate sugar levels in drinks

New research from the University of Glasgow has shown that people in the UK are significantly misjudging the amount of sugar in drinks such as milkshakes, smoothies, energy drinks and fruit juices.

18/04/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) 2010

The findings from the HBSC Ireland survey 2010 have been published. The results showed that overall one in five children eats fruit and vegetables more than once a day.

18/04/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Overweight and obese adults - lifestyle weight management

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) are developing new guidelines on lifestyle management services for overweight and obese adults and children and young people.

05/04/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Operation GIY Nationwide

Grow it Yourself (GIY) have launched Operation GIY Nation which aims to get families to grow food together.

05/04/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Hydration: a basic aspect in Nutrition

The European Food Information Council have published a podcast interview with Professor Ron Maughan and Dr. Patrícia Padrão, both experts who participated in a symposium "Hydration: A Basic Aspect in Nutrition".

05/04/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Frequent consumption of chocolate associated with lower BMI

New research found that the more often people ate chocolate the lower their BMI. The research was conducted in 975 adults in California.

30/03/2012   by Christine Connolly  

Television food advertising to children

New research published in PlosOne has looked at the impact of restrictions on television food advertising to children in the UK.

16/03/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Positive role of breastfeeding on infant health in first six weeks

New research published in the Irish Medical Journal shows the positive role of breastfeeding during the first 6 weeks.

14/03/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Red meat consumption and mortality

New research of two prospective studies in the United States has looked at the diets and health of over 121,000 men and women over periods of up to 28 years, assessing their diets every four years and following the development of any heart problems or cancer.

14/03/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Dietary fat and male fertility

New research published in the journal Human Reproduction has looked at the relation between dietary fats and quality of semen among men attending a fertility clinic.

14/03/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Launch of ‘A Fitter Future for All’

The Framework for Preventing and Addressing Overweight and Obesity in Northern Ireland 2012-2022: ‘A Fitter Future for All’ has been launched by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS).

09/03/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Growing up in Ireland - How Families Matter for Social and Emotional Outcomes of 9-Year-Old Children

Growing Up in Ireland – The National Longitudinal Study of Children have published a new report from the study on how families matter for children’s social and emotional well-being.

08/03/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Obesity and Alcohol: An Overview

A new report from the National Obesity Observatory (NOO) gives an overview of the current evidence on the relationship between obesity and alcohol.

08/03/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Teenage girls sit or lie down for 19 hours a day

A study undertaken by researchers at the University of Limerick has found that teenage girls spend an average of 19 hours a day either sitting or lying down.

08/03/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Age, Income and Food in Ireland

The Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI) has published a report “Age, Income and Food in Ireland” which examines the demographic and socio-economic influences on food expenditure in older populations in Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland (ROI).

27/02/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Physical Activity and Nutrition Intervention Tool

A new all-Ireland web tool, the PANI (Physical Activity and Nutrition Intervention) tool, has been made available on the Health Well website.

27/02/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

WHICH? survey of breakfast cereals

WHICH? have published the results of a survey of breakfast cereals. They found that 32 out of 50 cereals were high in sugar. In only two cases this was due to the fruit they contained; for the rest it was added sugar.

16/02/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Plate size and colour help reduce servings

New research has shown that plate size and colour effect people’s eating behaviours. Researchers found that the larger the plate the bigger the portion size.

16/02/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

National Household Survey

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) have published findings of a survey examining consumer responses to the economic downturn. The research conducted as part of the CSO’s Quarterly National Household Survey was designed to assess at a high level how households have reacted to the recession.

16/02/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Can genes influence healthy eating?

In Ireland, we do not eat enough fruit and vegetables. Dr Eileen Gibney’s team at UCD showed that genetic variation plays a minor role in food choice whereas factors such as knowledge and attitudes about healthy eating have a large impact on food choice

26/01/2012   by Christine Connolly  

Childhood obesity in general practice

A recent study has looked at childhood overweight and obesity in general practice. The results showed that among child-parent pairs, 15% of the children and 52% of parents were overweight/obese. 12% of the children were underweight.

25/01/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

We'll be back soon!

Thanks for visiting our blog which is currently undergoing some work. We will be back posting soon. If you’ve got comments about what we have written to date or thoughts on future topics you would be interested in...

18/01/2012   by Niamh Gately  

Interventions for Preventing Obesity in Children

The Cochrane Library recently published an updated review “Interventions for Preventing Obesity in Children”. The review included 55 studies.

11/01/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

The 21st century gingerbread house

The British Heart Foundation and Children’s Food Campaign have launched a report which examines the ways that food companies are marketing unhealthy foods and drinks to children online.

06/01/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Fruit and vegetable consumption in Europe – do Europeans get enough?

A new European Food Information Council (EUFIC) Review has looked at whether people in Europe get the amounts of fruit and vegetable which are recommended for good health.

06/01/2012   by Barbara Whelan  

Fish and cardiovascular disease in women of reproductive age

A recent population based study carried out in Denmark looked at whether or not eating more fish might reduce cardiovascular disease risk in young women

07/12/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Growing Up in Ireland (Infant cohort at 3 years)

The latest key findings from the Infant Cohort at 3 years in the Growing Up in Ireland study were launched yesterday.

02/12/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

Survey on Income and Living Conditions (2010)

Preliminary results from the Survey on Income and Living Conditions 2010 in Ireland were published yesterday. The results showed that the at risk of poverty rate grew from 14.1% in 2009 to 15.8% in 2010.

01/12/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

Households Below Average Income in Northern Ireland 2009/10

Households Below Average Income in Northern Ireland (HBAI, NI) 2009/10 has been published by the Department for Social Development NI. The data used in the report was taken from the Family Resources Survey (FRS) 2009/10 which was also published today.

30/11/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

EU Health Literacy Survey

A new EU Health Literacy Survey has found that four out of ten people in Ireland have difficulty understanding information about health.

29/11/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

Diet, Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Europe

This report launched by The European Heart Network (EHN) is the result of two years of collaborative research involving a larger number of European universities and experts.

25/11/2011   by Christine Connolly  

UK Government disbands advisory group on obesity

The British Medical Journal has reported that the UK government has disbanded its expert advisory group on obesity.

18/11/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

Northern Ireland Sport and Physical Activity Survey (SAPAS) 2010

Today a report was launched by Sport Northern Ireland providing a complete picture of adult participation in sport and physical activity across Northern Ireland.

18/11/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Health Survey Northern Ireland 2010/11

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) have presented the first results from the 2010/11 Health Survey NI with a sample size of 4085 individuals. The survey provides information on a range of health related matters such as general health, mental health, physical activity, diet and nutrition and obesity.

16/11/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

Are women in early pregnancy following national guidelines for healthy eating?

A recent study conducted with 101 women in the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin has found that while the majority of women thought they had a healthy diet, less than half met the recommended guidelines for each individual food group.

15/11/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

Dietary fibre, wholegrains and risk of colorectal cancer

New research published in the British Medical Journal has investigated the association between intake of dietary fibre and wholegrains and risk of colorectal cancer. The study involved a systematic review and meta-analysis of 25 prospective observational studies.

15/11/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

Growing up in Ireland – overweight and obesity among 9-year-olds

Growing up in Ireland - National Longitudinal Study of Children, have published a new report on overweight and obesity among 9 year old children in Ireland. Findings showed that  1 in 4 children were carrying excess weight - 19% were overweight and 7% obese.

09/11/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

European Men’s Health Forum response to EU Report

The European Men’s Health Forum (EMHF) has published its response to the EU report ‘The State of Men’s Health in Europe’. This report highlighted how the health of European men is a serious concern.

09/11/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

Development of type 2 diabetes in men at lower body mass indices than women

New research has looked at the associations between age, sex and BMI at diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. The study involved analysing data from 51,920 men and 43,137 women included in a diabetes register in Scotland.

09/11/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

New data on salt intake from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) have reported a reduction in salt intake in adults from food (not including salt added while cooking or at the table).

27/10/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Blood Analytes

The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) supplementary report on blood analytes for years 2008/09 and 2009/10 have been published.

27/10/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

Mother's Trans Fat Consumption Linked to Baby's Size

A new study by Harvard School of Public Health found that women who ate more food containing Trans fats, such as fried foods and baked goods, gave birth to larger babies. The study involved 1,400 pregnant women in Boston...

21/10/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. To find out what is happening in your area go to Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health for events in Northern Ireland and Mental Health Ireland for events in Republic of Ireland. 

11/10/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

Does breakfast skipping help with weight loss?

Some people choose to skip breakfast to help them lose weight. The National Obesity Observatory has looked at the evidence around the role of breakfast in maintaining a healthy weight.

11/10/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

New 'Get Ireland Active' website

The new Get Ireland Active website was launched on Wednesday October 5th 2011. The aim of the website is to encourage people to become more physically active by creating awareness of the opportunities for physical activity at local, regional and national levels in the Republic of Ireland....

07/10/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

Growing Up in Ireland Qualitative Findings

Key findings from the Growing Up in Ireland qualitative study were recently published. The report summarised the findings of the in-depth study with nine-year-old children and their parents in 120 families selected from the 8,570 who had participated in the quantitative survey and were subsequently interviewed about their views and experiences.....

07/10/2011   by Barbara Whelan  

The power of role modelling

Kids do the funniest things. Especially when they start to mimic those around them. Whether it's their favourite character on television (my 2 and-a-bit year old thinks he is a Fireman), a friend or adult in their lives, children have an ability to ...

18/09/2011   by Colman Kelly  

You will, you will, you will

Are social niceties part of our obesity problem? It’s hard not to giggle to yourself when you think of the sketch from Father Ted where Pauline McLynn, a.k.a. the famous Mrs. Doyle, insists on tea...

02/09/2011   by Deirdre Cosgrove  

Overweight and obesity in fathers-to-be

A new study which measured the BMI and body composition of fathers-to-be in a maternity hospital in Ireland found that of the 167 fathers-to-be in the survey two out of three were overweight or obese....

22/08/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Effect of television viewing on life expectancy

A new study has estimated the impact of watching TV on life expectancy. Researchers used data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study and mode...

19/08/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Comparison in body composition of pregnant Irish and Indian women

A new study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology compared body composition in early pregnancy between Caucasian Irish and Indian women.

19/08/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Do you want some pinks instead of greens?

Thanks to Aileen for a great post last week on sleep and weight - I feel refreshed! Here's something to brighten up a gloomy August Friday and for filing under I-can't-believe-they-didn't-think-of-that-sooner. Rainbow coloured cauliflower.

15/08/2011   by Colman Kelly  

Hidden vegetables in meals reduce energy intake and increase vegetable consumption

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at whether the calorie intake of individuals could be reduced by replacing some foods in a meal with hidden pureed vegetables.

10/08/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Worried about your weight? Don't close your eyes to the benefits of sleep!

How many hours of sleep do you normally get each night? 5? 6? 7? 8? More at the weekends? Oh, lucky you if you do! Everybody knows that getting enough sleep is important. Well, we soon find out if we don’t. There’s nothing as lousy as yawning your ...

05/08/2011   by Colman Kelly  

Body weight and eating habits in 5-12 year old Irish Children - The National Children’s Food Survey

The National Children’s Food Survey (NCFS) was carried out by nutritional scientists at University College Cork and University College Dublin ( in 2005. Following the launch of the prelim...

05/08/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Maternal and Infant Nutritional Supplementation Practices

New research from the Republic of Ireland, recently published in the Irish Medical Journal, has examined maternal and infant nutritional supplement use. The study found that less than 50% of the sampl...

03/08/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Kids Size Me

The Nutrition and Health Foundation and the Restaurants Association of Ireland have launched a new initiative called ‘Kids Size me’. The initiative aims to ensure children have access to healthier foo...

27/07/2011   by Christine Connolly  

National Diet and Nutrition Survey: headline results of the rolling programme 2008/9 – 2009/10

Findings for the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) headline results from years 1 and 2 combined (2008/09 – 2009/10) have been published. The findings show that the overall picture of the diet.

27/07/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Global Update on Nutrition Labelling

The European Food Information Council and food organisations worldwide have produced a ‘Global Update on Nutrition labelling’ which provides a comprehensive overview of the state of play on nutrition labelling.

26/07/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Link Between Overweight and Risk of Breast Cancer

Cancer Research UK have reported on the findings of new research published in the British Journal of Cancer which found that increasing weight is the biggest factor affecting the level of sex hormones that increase breast cancer risk in post-menopausal women.

20/07/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Long Term Consequences of Early Fruit and Vegetable Feeding Practices

Many media sources have reported today on research which looked at the long term consequences of early fruit and vegetable feeding practices in the UK.

20/07/2011   by Christine Connolly  

New UK Guidelines for Physical Activity

The four UK Chief Medical Officers have published new Physical Activity Guidelines covering early years (under 5s), children and young people, adults and older adults.

14/07/2011   by Christine Connolly  

New EU Food Labelling Rules

New EU food labelling rules were approved by MEPs yesterday. Further information is available from the European Parliament website.

07/07/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Insufficient vitamin D intakes among pregnant women

New research which was conducted at University College Dublin has shown low dietary intakes of vitamin D in pregnant women.

06/07/2011   by Christine Connolly  

A simple guide to classifying body mass index in children

The National Obesity Observatory has launched ‘A Simple Guide to Classifying Body Mass Index in Children’.

06/07/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Perinatal Statistics Report 2009

The most recent Perinatal Statistics Report (2009) was launched today by the ESRI. The report showed that 45% of babies were exclusively breastfed at discharge from hospital, compared to 44% in 2005.

28/06/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Miracle Foods: Myths and the Media

NHS Choices have published “Miracle Foods: Myths and the Media” which analyses health stories that make the news, providing an unbiased and evidence-based analysis of the stories.

21/06/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks for Children and Adolescents in the US

The Committee on Nutrition and The Council on Sports Medicine in the US have recently released a commentary on the appropriateness of sports drinks for children and adolescents.

20/06/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Waist circumference predicts increased cardio-metabolic risk in normal weight adolescent males

Researchers in the USA have found that males with a normal BMI but have an elevated waist circumference have a higher cardio-metabolic risk. This study also identified waist circumference cut off pint...

20/06/2011   by Christine Connolly  

WHO database on nutrition, obesity and physical activity (NOPA Database)

The WHO has created a database which compiles information monitoring nutrition, diet, physical activity and obesity for the WHO European member states.

20/06/2011   by Christine Connolly  

The State of Men’s Health in Europe

A summary of the State of Men’s Health Report was launched last week. The study compared men's health status both across and within EU Countries.

20/06/2011   by Christine Connolly  

We're men....we've lots to talk about

Men. Sure, we're usually a species of few words at the best of times. But hopefully this week, we'll have lots to talk about. It's Men's Health Week and there's plenty happening to remind us hunter-gathers to talk about things for a change and get ...

13/06/2011   by Colman Kelly  


Health, Men, Obesity

Launch of USDA's '' icon

The United States Department of Agriculture have launched the icon to help consumers make healthier choices.

13/06/2011   by Christine Connolly  

World Cancer Research Fund - Update on Colorectal Cancer

A report on the updated evidence on food, nutrition, physical activity, and colorectal cancer, prepared by the Continuous Update Progress (CUP) team at Imperial College London, has been published.

13/06/2011   by Christine Connolly  

New Nutrition Guidelines for Europe

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is currently updating the dietary reference values (DRVs) published in 1993. These will provide comprehensive nutrition guidelines.

13/06/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Supplements - Who Needs Them?

NHS Choices has published a new special report on supplements which aims to make sense of some of the issues surrounding them.

13/06/2011   by Christine Connolly  

You Are What You Think You Eat

New research from Yale University suggests that people's state of mind may influence how physically satisfied they feel after a meal and how likely they are to still feel hungry and consume additional...

13/06/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Nutrition Exchange Programme

The next deadline for applications for the Nutrition Exchange Programme is 15 July, 2011. Further information about the programme is available on the safefood website.

13/06/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Tickled pink about milk

Tickled pink about milk.

25/05/2011   by Colman Kelly  

Prolonged Bottle Use and Obesity in Childhood Link

A new research report ‘Prolonged Bottle Use and Obesity at 5.5 Years of Age in US Children’ used recent data from a cohort study of US children born in 2001 to examine the association between bottle u...

06/05/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Incidence of Cancer Attributable to Alcohol

Results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Study (EPIC) published today found that about 10% of total cancer in men and 3% in women could be attributed to current an...

08/04/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Maternal Obesity in the UK

A recent report “Maternal Obesity in the UK: Findings from a National Project” has revealed the prevalence of severe maternal obesity (BMI ≥35) in the UK. The prevalence of women with a BMI ≥35 at any...

25/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Salt Levels in Soup on the island of Ireland

A new “Survey of salt levels in soup in catering establishments on the island of Ireland”, funded by safefood, provides a snapshop of the salt content of ready to eat soups available on the island.

23/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Nutrition Exchange Programme

The next deadline for applications for the Nutrition Exchange Programme is 15 May, 2011. Further information about the programme is available on the safefood website.

16/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

BMI and waist circumference still important to heart disease risk

A recent study in The Lancet, about using BMI, waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio to predict risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), has received a lot of media attention.

15/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Embrace your fussy eater

Fussy eating. I don't mean the this-recipe-would-be-so-much-nicer-if-you-used-fresh-herbs variety of fussy eater. Oh no. I mean those little darling(s) in your life who probably coined the phrase "flip flop" when it came to their personal stance o...

11/03/2011   by Colman Kelly  

Insights into Attitudes to Food

The Food Standards Agency has published the first wave of an extensive new survey called “Food and You”, which reveals information about people’s behaviour and attitudes towards food issues such as...

10/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Iron and Health

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition has reviewed the role of iron in human nutrition and has published a new report “Iron and Health” which is available on the SACN website.

10/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Value for Money Tool

The National Social Marketing Centre in consultation with National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and an advisory committee, are developing guidance on how to calculate the cost a...

10/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Introduction of Gluten into an Infant's Diet

The Food Standards Agency is reminding parents of advice to exclusively feed babies breastmilk for around 6 months and not to introduce solid food until after this time.

10/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Food Security on the island of Ireland

The Institute for Public Health in Ireland have developed a discussion paper “Food Security on the island of Ireland: are we sleepwalking into a crisis?

10/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

New advice for vitamin D supplementation

The HSE, Department of Health and Children and Food Safety Authority of Ireland have issued new advice on vitamin D in the Republic of Ireland.

04/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Recent Headlines in the Media about Breastfeeding

A recent “analysis” piece in the British Medical Journal by Mary Fewtrell and colleagues about breastfeeding received a lot of media attention.

04/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Community education and its effect on health outcomes

A new research report ‘More than just a Course’ published on February 23rd is the first ever national study on the outcomes of community education activities funded by the Department of Education and ...

04/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Shake the Salt Habit

Research published in November 2010 entitled 'Salt Hard to Shake led by Professor Ivan Perry and colleagues in University College Cork found that dietary salt intakes in the Irish population remains...

04/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Obesity Forum E-Bulletin

The current edition of All-island Obesity News is available on the safefood website.  

04/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

Operation Transformation

Operation Transformation, which was sponsored by safefood, has come to an end for another year. safefood are encouraging people to continue their transformation for good by logging on to weigh2live,...

04/03/2011   by Christine Connolly  

We were born to run...

Sorry if you missed your weekly portion of the blog last week - some technical issues (me) as well as getting ready to run in the Operation Transformation 5k last Saturday (me again) meant I missed the post. Apologies and normal service resumed. ...

25/02/2011   by Colman Kelly  

Why chips will matter more than ever..

I'll be honest, I may have drawn you in with the lure of chipped potatoes, all golden and sprinkled with salt and vinegar. Those aren't the chips I'm talking about. Sorry. The chips I'm blogging about are the electronic kind and are at the heart of...

11/02/2011   by Colman Kelly  



Viva la resolution

Thanks for visiting the blog and welcome back. Sorry for not posting since early December - the bad weather, workload and some blog-free time over the festive season all played their part. That and trying to work my way through all those Christm...

07/01/2011   by Colman Kelly  

Why I'm washing my hands of it

Next Friday, October 15th is Global Handwashing Day. But before you decide to roll your mouse and click out of here, give me a hand and bear with me for a minute. This is the third year of this worldwide initiative, which is backed by leading pu...

08/10/2010   by Colman Kelly  

Why growing your own is growing on me..

Green shoots. We could all do with some of that right now. Earlier this year, safefood launched a funded demonstration programme of Community Food Initiatives (CFI) across the island of Ireland.


01/10/2010   by Colman Kelly  

The relentless march of portion sizes..

If you were at our Social Media conference last week, hope you enjoyed it. And if you couldn't make it, the presentations and audio are now available to download/podcast. Food Portions. What's a portion? Would you like another portion? Do you ha...

14/09/2010   by Colman Kelly  

You are what you Tw-eat

Social Media is changing in many ways, how we live our lives and how we communicate with each other. This blog is just one small part of that. And next Thursday 16th, we're hosting a one-day conference for those working in food and health on the isl...

10/09/2010   by Colman Kelly  

Why dashboard dining is a table for one

Hi there and it's good to be back from holidays. I had a great break and enjoyed spending more time with the kids. Thanks to all the guest bloggers who filled in while I was away. Back to the blog in hand.


06/09/2010   by Colman Kelly  


Cooking, Shopping

Muscling in ...

Hi Martin Higgins, CEO of safefood here, I’m just muscling in on the blog space while Dermot is still away. When I get time away from my job here, I like to spend it doing something I love… fishing. The fact that I am absolutely useless at it does no...

31/08/2010   by Colman Kelly  



Welcome to the Scoop, our new blog!

With six short words “How about we do a blog?”, I've started something that's new, exciting and to be honest, a little bit into the unknown for me and for safefood. At one time, blogs (or blogging) were to me a bit like having a pension - I understo...

10/08/2010   by Colman Kelly