What’s happening in the world of public health? We take a look at the latest stories affecting the professions.

Unite calls for 15% pay rise or £3000 for NHS staff in the Covid-19 frontline

NHS workers should receive an early pay rise of 15% or £3000, whichever is greater, say Unite, as they write to the government.

Cannabis use in pregnancy linked to autism risk

Children whose mothers reported using cannabis during pregnancy have a higher risk of autism, say researchers.

Children’s relationship with natural world needs care

Children are happier and more likely to protect the natural world when they have a greater connection to it.

Pester power of children can influence family diet

Children’s ‘pester power’ may help families to eat more healthily at home, says a study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

A global rise in gout

Between 1990 and 2017, the prevalence of gout – a form of arthritis characterised by severe pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints – increased around the world, reveals an analysis in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Frontline staff three times as likely to get Covid-19 despite PPE

Frontline healthcare workers with adequate PPE have a threefold increased risk of a positive Covid-19 test compared with the general population, a study in The Lancet Public Health has found.

Stress and anxiety: the price of lockdown

In the first study to look at people’s coping styles during lockdown (17 to 26 April 2020), researchers confirmed that health anxieties were heightened, and those in vulnerable groups were more distressed as a result.

Comprehensive expansion of flu vaccination this winter

More than 30 million people in England are to be offered a free flu vaccine this year, described by the government as ‘the most comprehensive flu vaccination programme in the UK’s history’.

News in numbers: September/October 2020

A breakdown of recent community health news, in numbers. Download the PDF, here

Government has used PHE as a scapegoat says Unite

The move to scrap Public Health England (PHE) in the middle of a global pandemic has been criticised by Unite, who says the government is seeking a scapegoat for its own failings.

Homelessness: crisis round the corner?

Lockdown, compounded by a deep economic slump, threatens to push thousands of people into homelessness. Journalist Juliette Astrup explores this shifting landscape and asks what happens next.

Siblings of infants who die suddenly run greater risk

Siblings of infants who died suddenly and unexpectedly run 10 times the risk of dying in the same way, suggests a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Signs of possible diabetes can be seen decades earlier in childhood

Early signs of being more susceptible to type 2 diabetes as an adult can be seen in children as young as eight years, research has found.

Fifth of adolescents have suicidal thoughts or anxiety

A global study has found that around one in five young people aged 12 to 17 experience thoughts of suicide or anxiety.

Adolescents from deprived communities show gene regulation differences

Young adults raised in communities marked by more economic deprivation, physical dilapidation, social disconnection and danger display differences in the epigenome – the proteins and chemical compounds 
that regulate the activity of their genes.

Air pollution is a major risk for cardiovascular disease

Long-term exposure to fine particulate outdoor air pollution is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death, regardless of country income, a global study reveals.

Breastfeeding helps children at high risk of obesity

For those at risk of becoming obese, being exclusively breastfed as an infant can help ward off weight gain later in life, a study in PLOS Genetics has found.

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