Improving physical health of people with serious mental illness

Many medications used to help manage severe, long-term mental ill-health have serious side-effects.  And in situations where emergency care may be needed, long-term physical health can seem a distant concern.  However, with people with mental ill-health dying, on average, 15 to 20 years before the general population, much more needs to be done to change that statistic.

In the UK, the NHS is looking to Bondi Beach, Australia, for a potential solution.  A lifestyle intervention programme, Keeping the Body in Mind, was developed for mental health patients and covers what foods to eat for optimum health, where to buy the ingredients, how to cook and sessions with a dietician and access to a gym.

Professor Katherine Samaras, one of the creators of the programme, said “It was relatively cheap and of course this early investment in health offsets the cost of treating heart disease and diabetes.”

Traditional gender divides still active around the world

Ipsos Mori’s Global Trends Survey 2014 has found that “Women surveyed across 20 countries report being mostly responsible for the cooking (72%), food shopping (68%) and household cleaning (70%).” No surprise there, then. Interestingly, within parenting, equality appears to becoming the norm, with “62% of men and 51% of women saying that they share decision making about parenting with their partner.”

Ageing knees rejoice!

A new study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that “Running for only a few minutes a day or at slow speeds may significantly reduce a person’s risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to someone who does not run.”

The Science Daily article quotes the lead researcher, saying “The study showed that participants who ran less than 51 minutes, fewer than 6 miles, slower than 6 miles per hour, or only one to two times per week had a lower risk of dying compared to those who did not run.”

I’m so happy…!

What kind of library user are you?

An information omnivore? A print traditionalist?  Young and restless?  Off the grid?

The Pew Research Center recently released its latest report on library engagement.  The research examined the ways in which libraries were used, how often people used a library and what people thought a library’s role was in their community.  Some of the results were surprising.  Good news for those who worry that libraries may be made obsolete because of technology.  The data shows that most highly-engaged library users are also big technology users, as well as supporters of the idea that libraries make communities better.  You can read the full report and take the quiz.

Love food, hate waste: more than a slogan

One-third of all food that is produced is thrown away without ever reaching peoples stomachs.*

For every malnourished person there are two overweight individuals.*

Nearly one-third of all crop production is dedicated to feeding livestock or fueling cars, not feeding people.*

With the balance between environmental sustainability, agriculture, nutrition, health and food production so obviously incorrect, what can be done to improve the situation?

Civil society organisations have started lobbying policy makers in the build up to the 2015 Milan Expo, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” where political leaders will draft a framework for addressing these challenges. Goals include reducing food waste by 50 per cent by 2020.


*Statistics from Food Tank

At present we know only that the imagination, like certain wild animals, will not breed in captivity. George Orwell