Tooth brushing on the curriculum?

Schools and nurseries should be run classes to teach children how to brush their teeth, says the government’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence amid concerns that a growing number of children are suffering from tooth decay.

Do your children know how to brush their teeth effectively?
Do your children know how to brush their teeth effectively?

Around 25,000 children, most around 5 years old, are admitted to hospital every year to have teeth removed. A recent Public Health England survey which found that in areas such as Leicester more than a third of children showed signs of tooth decay. The problem can be prevented with effective tooth brushing and staying away from sugary fizzy drinks and sweets.

Remember to use a fluoride toothpaste, brush for 2 minutes and do not rinse. If you need a new toothbrush, come along to the pharmacy.

Good health – prevention rather than cure the way to go

Our pharmacies now offer healthy living and wellbeing services as the NHS focusses on tackling an epidemic of largely preventable long term diseases. After all, it makes little sense for the NHS to spend more on stapling stomachs and gastric band operations than it does on effective obesity prevention programmes.

Good health - a stitch in time
Good health – a stitch in time

‘We may be living longer, but we risk spending many of these extra years in poor health unless we do a better job of tackling major risks such as obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption,’ Public Health England warned last month in its latest 5 year plan.

Among its seven health priorities are tackling obesity (particularly among children); reducing smoking (and stopping children starting); reducing harmful drinking; reducing the risk of dementia; and tackling the growth in antimicrobial resistance. So come and have a chat with us. You may be surprised at how we can help.

Need help to quit smoking?

The number of smokers in England has hit a record low. Only 18.7% of people now smoke and the number is continuing to fall, according to the Office of National Statistics. If you are still trying to quit the habit, visit your local pharmacy and ask about how they can help. You will be in good company in wanting to stop smoking.

You can do it!
You can do it!

Smoking is still the biggest cause of preventable illness and premature deaths in the country – accounting for nearly 80,000 deaths in England alone every year. One in every two long-term smokers will die prematurely from a smoking related disease unless they quit. Time to see your pharmacist!

Time for Bed!

Staying up late surfing the internet or playing on the X-Box is not going to improve your child’s performance at school. You know it, and although your kids might dispute it, a recent study of teenagers in Sweden shows it to be true.

Getting enough sleep?
Getting enough sleep?

Around 40,000 children were asked questions about how many subjects they had failed during the school year, whether their sleep was disturbed, and how long they spent asleep each night.
Analysis of the results shows adolescents who reported sleep disturbances were more likely to fail at least one subject during the school year. Also, children who reported that they didn’t sleep for many hours each night – either during the week or at the weekend – were more likely to fail at least one subject at school, when compared with children who slept at least seven to eight hours every night.

Can playing computer games be good for older people’s health?

One third of people over 65 will suffer a fall at some point and this figure rises to one half for people over the age of 85. Falls frequently lead to severe injuries and the problem is expected to increase as the UK’s population ages.

Certain physical exercises can prevent falls by at least 40%, but many older people find it difficult to maintain activity at the levels needed. So to get older people to do their exercises properly Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust has been testing out a series of computer games called Exergames that make staying active more fun.

Exercise can be fun
Exercise can be fun

The Exergames are played using a Microsoft Kinect sensor to monitor body movements. They can be programmed by doctors to suit an individual’s ability, and include activities such as squatting to control the movement of objects on a TV or computer screen.
Playing Super Mario on your Wii might take on a whole different meaning in the future.

NHS goes transparent

MyNHS is a new site on NHS Choices where you can look up the performance of your local NHS hospital, care services and local authority.

father and son playing on a computer

MyNHS includes simple, searchable data on topics as diverse as hospital food quality, staffing, patient safety and consultant outcome data. From early December you will also be able to see the Care Quality Commission’s individual risk rating your GP practice. Over time, more data will be added, including 1-year and 5-year cancer survival rates for NHS trusts.

Last month it was also announced that integrated health and early years reviews for 2 to 2-and-a-half-year-olds are to rolled out next year, with the aim of giving parents a more complete picture of their child.

Age 2 is a key development point where problems such as speech delay and behavioural issues emerge. Integrating these assessments will help avoid duplication and work towards giving parents the support they need, says the government.

Getting men to shed the pounds…

The overweight male is the target of the latest guide from the Men’s Health Forum. It highlights that almost two thirds of men are overweight or obese, compared with just over half of women. Despite this, only 10%–30% of participants on weight-management programmes are male.

Men prefer exercise to rigid diets

For those ladies wishing to encourage the man in their life to lose a few pounds please note that men prefer weight loss programmes that include physical activity, and dislike “strict” diets.

Although men are significantly less likely than women to join weight-loss programmes, once recruited they are less likely than women to drop out. Middle-aged men in particular are more motivated to lose weight once they become aware that they have a problem with their health. Knowing that weight loss may prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes – or improve erectile function – seems to have an effect!

It’s a question of knowing which button to press. Our pharmacies offer advice on weight management, or can signpost you to local services if you are not sure where to start.