Fighting Malnutrition – What is the solution?

Second International Conference on Nutrition copyright FAO

Second International Conference on Nutrition copyright FAO

Forgive me if I sound cynical but I have just been reading one of the latest press releases from the World Health Organisation.

It kicks off “Ministers and senior officials responsible for health, food or agriculture and other aspects of nutrition adopted the Rome Declaration on Nutrition, and a Framework for Action, which set out recommendations for policies and programmes to address nutrition across multiple sectors”.   Which is described as “a major step towards eradicating malnutrition worldwide”.

But is it?

I don’t think anyone in their right minds would consider either malnutrition or obesity as one of the great health threats of our day but do WHO’s proposals actually cut the mustard?

They say “The Rome Declaration on Nutrition enshrines the right of everyone to have access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food, and commits governments to preventing malnutrition in all its forms, including hunger, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity.

The Framework for Action recognizes that governments have the primary role and responsibility for addressing nutrition issues and challenges, in dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders-including civil society, the private sector and affected communities. Building on the Declaration’s commitments, goals and targets.”

Which is great in principle but how do they plan to deliver?

From what I can see the core actions are as follows:-

“In order to provide universal access to healthy diets, governments should encourage a reduction in trans fats, saturated fats, sugars and salt in foods and drinks, and improve the nutrient content of foods through regulatory and voluntary instruments. ”

“Governments are urged to educate and inform their citizens about healthier eating practices, and also to introduce social protection measures, such as school-feeding programmes, to provide nutritious diets to the most vulnerable. ”

“Promoting and supporting exclusive breastfeeding for six months, and continued breastfeeding until age two or beyond.”

“To strengthen local food production and processing, especially by smallholder and family farmers, giving special attention to the empowerment of women.”

All of which sound great but I still don’t know how or even if they would work.  What do you think?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thanks in advance.

PS If there is anyone from WHO reading this please feel free to tell us in more detail who these will really be put into action.


The Autism Siblings Project’s Research. Looking for teens aged 13 or 14 with siblings who have autism or are neurotypical!

Autism Sibs Project

Autism Sibs Project

Laura Green is currently working to a PhD at RMIT University in Australia.

Green writes “The Autism Siblings Project is hoping to learn more about the well-being of siblings and about the teenage experience in general. Hopefully this will support our promotion of siblings as an important part of the autism family intervention and their need for support programs and groups as well.

We are searching for 13 and 14 year old siblings! If you are (or you have) a teen who has at least one brother or sister, we want to hear from you. We are looking for teens with sibs who have autism and teens who have only typically-developing siblings. We hope to identify the siblings most at-risk for problems. This requires a comparison group of typically-developing children growing up without autism in their family and we’d love if you got involved!

For the children to be eligible to participate, all they need is to be 13 or 14 years old and have a brother or sister. This also means that we will have great insights into the typical adolescent experience, not just the disability experience. The study involves a questionnaire package for both the teen and their parent/guardian to fill out. You get an ID code so that your name is not linked with your answers – they are completely anonymous! The questionnaires ask simple questions about the family’s emotions, thoughts and behaviours.

If you would like to get involved, please follow the link to leave your contact details with us and we can send you a questionnaire package via email or post. You will be taken through an informed consent process before filling in the questionnaire; you will therefore have the opportunity to learn more about the study before agreeing to participate. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Laura Green on 0400 679 353 or or Principal supervisor: Research approved by RMIT Ethics Committee [ID 30/12]. Phone RMIT Human Research Ethics Committee with your concerns. (03) 9925 2251.

If you want to follow the project you can “like” the Facebook page, but remember that your identity is not private.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers celebrating.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

As all Americans know and many of the rest of us are aware today marks Thanksgiving.

So I thought I would commemorate by sharing and English monument to the Pilgrim Fathers.

If you have any pictures of interesting monuments to the Pilgrim Fathers please share in the comments box below!

National Stomach Cancer Awareness Month – Please share to show your support!

National Stomach Cancer Awareness Month

National Stomach Cancer Awareness Month

I know it is getting to the end of the month but, as they say, better late than never. November is National Stomach Cancer Awareness Month

Indeed a close friend from university died of stomach cancer so it is close to my heart.

Stomach cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with one million new cases
diagnosed each year and more than 800,000 deaths annually. Stomach cancer currently receives the
least amount of federal funding per cancer death in the United States.

So if you could share the image above that would be great.

“STOMACH CANCER AWARENESS MONTH® is a registered trademark of No Stomach For Cancer, Inc. and is used here under license. No Stomach For Cancer, Inc. is not a sponsor of PatientTalk.Org.”

About No Stomach For Cancer: Founded in 2009, No Stomach For Cancer, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
organization dedicated to raising awareness about stomach cancer. The organization’s mission is to
support research and unite the caring power of people worldwide affected by stomach cancer.
Headquartered in Wisconsin and serving families across the globe, No Stomach For Cancer is a worldwide leader in raising awareness and advancing education. For more information, please visit

Are we doing enough to stop violence against women? Find out more about the campaign against violence against women.

Stopping violence against women

Stopping violence against women

Current efforts to prevent violence against women and girls are inadequate, according to a new Series published in The Lancet.  Estimates suggest that globally, 1 in 3 women has experienced either physical or sexual violence from their partner, and that 7% of women will experience sexual assault by a non-partner at some point in their lives.

Yet, despite increased global attention to violence perpetrated against women and girls, and recent advances in knowledge about how to tackle these abuses (Paper 1, Paper 3), levels of violence against women – including intimate partner violence, rape, female genital mutilation, trafficking, and forced marriages – remain unacceptably high, with serious consequences for victims’ physical and mental health. Conflict and other humanitarian crises may exacerbate ongoing violence.

Between 100 and 140 million girls and women worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM), with more than 3 million girls at risk of the practice every year in Africa alone. Some 70 million girls worldwide have been married before their eighteenth birthday, many against their will (Paper 1, Paper 5).

Although many countries have made substantial progress towards criminalising violence against women and promoting gender equality, the Series authors argue that governments and donors need to commit sufficient financial resources to ensure their verbal commitments translate into real change. Even where laws are progressive, many women and girls still suffer discrimination, experience violence, and lack access to vital health and legal services.

Importantly, reviewing the latest evidence, the authors show that not enough is being done to prevent violence against women and girls from occurring in the first place (Paper 1).  Although resources have grown to support women and girls in the aftermath of violence (e.g., access to justice and emergency care), research suggests that actions to tackle gender inequity and other root causes of violence are needed to prevent all forms of abuse, and thereby reduce violence overall (Paper 4).

“Globally, one in three women will experience intimate partner and/or sexual violence by non-partners in their lifetime, which shows that more investment needs to be made in prevention. We definitely need to strengthen services for women experiencing violence, but to make a real difference in the lives of women and girls, we must work towards achieving gender equality and preventing violence before it even starts,”* explains Series co-lead Professor Charlotte Watts, founding Director of the Gender Violence and Health Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK. “No magic wand will eliminate violence against women and girls. But evidence tells us that changes in attitudes and behaviours are possible, and can be achieved within less than a generation.”*

Ultimately, say the authors, working with both the perpetrators of violence (men and boys) and women and girls will be essential to achieve lasting change, by transforming deeply entrenched societal norms on gender relations and the insidious belief that women are inferior (Paper 3).

Violence is often seen as a social and criminal justice problem, and not as a clinical or public health issue, but the health system has a crucial part to play both in treating the consequences of violence, and in preventing it (Paper 2).

“Health-care providers are often the first point of contact for women and girls experiencing violence,”* says Series co-lead Dr Claudia Garcia-Moreno, a physician at WHO, Geneva, who coordinates research and policy on violence against women.

“Health-care providers are often the first point of contact for women and girls experiencing violence,”* adds Dr Garcia-Moreno. “Early identification of women and children subjected to violence and a supportive and effective response can improve women’s lives and wellbeing, and help them to access vital services. Health-care providers can send a powerful message – that violence is not only a social problem, but a dangerous, unhealthy, and harmful practice – and they can champion prevention efforts in the community. The health community is missing important opportunities to integrate violence programming meaningfully into public health initiatives on HIV/AIDS, adolescent health, maternal health, and mental health.”*

The Series urges policy makers, health practitioners and donors worldwide to accelerate efforts to address violence against women and girls by taking five key actions (Paper 5).  First, governments must allocate necessary resources to address violence against women as a priority, recognising it as a barrier to health and development.

Second, they must change discriminatory structures (laws, policies, institutions) that perpetuate inequality between women and men and foster violence.

Third, they must invest in promoting equality, non-violent behaviours and non-stigmatising support for survivors.

Fourth, they must strengthen the role of health, security, education, justice, and other relevant sectors by creating and implementing policies for prevention and response across these sectors, and integrating violence prevention and response into training efforts.

Finally, they must support research and programming to learn what interventions are effective and how to turn evidence into action.

According to Series co-ordinator, Dr Cathy Zimmerman, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, “We now have some promising findings to show what works to prevent violence. Our upcoming challenge is to expand this evidence on prevention and support responses to many more settings and forms of violence. Most importantly, we urgently need to turn this evidence into genuine action so that women and girls can live violence-free lives.”*

In a Comment accompanying the Series, former US President Jimmy Carter, founder of The Carter Center says, ” It is my hope that political and religious leaders will step forward and use their influence to communicate clearly that violence against women and girls must stop, that we are failing our societies, and that the time for leadership is now.”

The Series is published ahead of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence (Nov 25–Dec 10, 2014).

Do you have blood cancer and live in the USA? In which case you might qualify for $125 for taking part in an interview!

Blood Cancer research

Blood Cancer research

Our friends at M3 Global Research have used us to help them find people to help them with some research in America.

They are interested in people who wish talk about the unmet needs of people with blood cancer, the factors that may motivate a person to talk to his/her doctor about a new treatment and how people want to receive information about new treatment options. They are very interested in listening to their perspectives and thoughts on a series of messages, as the insights you can provide will help them understand how to improve information given to people about new treatments. The results of the research will be used to help provide patients the information necessary to make a treatment decision that is best for them.

They are offering $125 to the patients who successfully complete the interview, which will last for 60 minute over the telephone. They are looking to conduct interviews with the patients in the weeks of 8th and 15th of December.

There is some criteria you will need to meet to qualify, this is as follows:

• You will need to be 18 years of age or older
• Live in the USA
• Diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) or Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL)
• Be on current treatment/ in-between treatments or have discontinued treatment
• Have access to a computer/ laptop/ tablet with working internet for the interview

If you would like to take part please call Juli Finney 610-952-6176. Alternatively you can email her email her at

Thanks very much in advance.

GERD Awareness Week 2014 – Some tips for dealing with the holiday season if you have GERD.

Tips for dealing with GERD this holiday season

Tips for dealing with GERD this holiday season

This week sees the 16th commemoration of GERD Awareness Week. This year, as usual, it coincides with Thanksgiving week. Not surprising when you consider the food and drink flow in abundance this week!

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, better known as GERD, is a very common condition.  You can check out a few commonly asked questions about GERD.

The Digestive Health Alliance have produced a fantastic selection of awareness raising materials which we have used above.  Please drop round to their site and check out their other great stuff!

People with Multiple Sclerosis – please take part in a survey for Queen’s University. This could help to improve information for the MS community.

Queens University Kingston Ontario

Queens University Kingston Ontario

Researchers at the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) are seeking individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) to participate in an online research study.

The purpose of the study is to examine the effectiveness of health and physical activity messages provided to adults (18-64 years of age) with MS. For more information and to access the study website, please click on the following link:

If you have any questions about the study, please contact Alexander Lithopoulos at

This research is important because it will provide valuable information about how we should design advertisements to get adults with MS physically active and healthy. So, please consider participating and spreading the word about the study to others!

Carers Rights Day 2014 – Friday 28th November. Please share.

Carers Rights Day

Carers Rights Day

As many of you will know by now I am the carer or caregiver of an eight year old boy with autism.

So, like many of you, I take a great deal of interest in the whole area of carers rights.

So I’m delighted to put my wholehearted support behind Carers Rights Day which is organised by Carers UK.

To show your support it would be great if you could share the logo above and a link to the Carers Rights Day website. The link allows you to sign up for more information and to find out what your rights actually are.

Many thanks.

National Hospice Palliative Care Month – Eight Tips to Help Someone Grieving During the Holiday Period.

 National Hospice Palliative Care Month

National Hospice Palliative Care Month

November , as you may know is, National Hospice Palliative Care Month.

As a way of marking this important awareness month I thought it would be useful to share some recent advice provided by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organisation (NHPCO). The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organisation is America’s largest palliative care support organisation.

Next weeks sees Thanksgiving in the US with Christmas and Hanukkah falling in December. So we thought these useful tips in how to support people who are suffering a bereavement during this period might prove very useful!

To ensure that nothing is missed I am quoting from a recent document produced by NHPCO.

“Hospice professionals, who are experienced at helping people deal with grief and loss, offer some suggestions:

  • Be supportive of the way the person chooses to handle the holidays. Some may wish to follow traditions; others may choose to avoid customs of the past and do something new. It’s okay to do things differently.
  • Offer to help the person with decorating or holiday baking. Both tasks can be overwhelming for someone who is grieving.

  • Offer to help with holiday shopping. Share catalogs or online shopping sites that may be helpful.
  • Invite the person to join you or your family during the holidays. You might invite them to join you for a religious service or at a holiday meal where they are a guest.
  • Ask the person if he or she is interested in volunteering with you during the holidays. Doing something for someone else, such as helping at a soup kitchen or working with children, may help your loved one feel better about the holidays.
  • Never tell someone that he or she should be “over it.” Instead, give the person hope that, eventually, he or she will enjoy the holidays again.
  • Be willing to listen. Active listening from friends and family is an important step to helping some cope with grief and heal.
  • Remind the person you are thinking of him or her and the loved one who died. Cards, phone calls and visits are great ways to stay in touch.

“One of the best ways to help those who are grieving during the holidays is to let them know you care and that their loved one is not forgotten,” said J. Donald Schumacher, PsyD, president and CEO of National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “Lending an ear and holding a hand can be one of the greatest gifts we can give.””

If you have any other suggestions it would be great to hear them. Please feel free to share in the comments section below.

Many thanks in advance!

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