Aseptika awarded NHS England contract to develop third-generation wearable monitor to forewarn of impending respiratory failure

11 April, 2014, Aseptika Limited (Activ8rlives), Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK: Aseptika Ltd announces the award of an Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare) development contract funded by NHS England to develop a “third-generation” wearable monitor, which will warn of impending respiratory failure in people that suffer from lung disease.

The World Health Organisation predicts that lung disease will be the World’s fourth biggest killer by 2030. Currently in the UK, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD – previously known as emphysema) has a large impact on healthcare provision and society, with 1 out of 10 of us suffering from this disease, causing 24 million working days to be lost, at a cost of nearly £4 billion per year from reduced productivity. The human cost is very high. There are 23,000 deaths due to COPD each year – which equates to one death every 20 minutes (NHS information).

The increase in diseases such as COPD places further strain on limited healthcare budgets, with much of the cost associated with COPD incurred through hospital care because of unplanned admissions via Accident and Emergency. Around half of all sufferers are unaware that they have COPD, the cause of which is strongly linked to smoking or to environmental pollution. Symptoms often start as early as the mid 40’s, although the advanced stages of the disease are more often associated with the elderly.

Patients with other lung conditions such as: Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and non-Cystic Fibrosis Bronchiectasis (NCFB) will also benefit from the future product that will forewarn of a collapse in respiratory function as part of a self-management plan developed in collaboration with the patient’s healthcare team and supported by self-monitoring.

Kevin Auton Ph.D, Managing Director and Founder of Aseptika explained: “Many of us develop long-term respiratory conditions as a result of infections, our genetics, and the environment we are exposed to or as a result of our lifestyle choices. Whatever the cause, respiratory disease causes breathlessness and predisposes us to repeated lung infections, which damage the tissues of our lungs, leading to more infections in an ever downward spiral over time.

While these diseases are complex, there are patterns and changes that can be seen in the lead-up to the next infection (called an exacerbation) and if we adopt new behaviours, we can slow the rate at which the disease progresses. By undertaking a few quick measurements each day using simple devices, the pattern of these complex changes can be “learned” by the patient and in the future, by our software which will provide alerts to the patient. With the right training, support and encouragement from their health carers, anyone can learn how to use this information to become an “expert patient” and can become skilled at managing their long-term disease(s). This will mean fewer infections, fewer stays in hospital and an improved quality of life. It will also lead to lowered costs for the healthcare providers.”

Using a growing range of monitors that connect to Activ8rlives, and the Company’s online health tracking system, individuals can record health parameters and upload the information directly via computers, Smartphones and Tablets. By seeing this information and trends in a visual way, connections about what makes us well and keeps us healthy can be seen, discovered and most importantly, repeated.

For example, people who are becoming unwell move less, so wearing an activity tracker can measure this decline in physical activity over a period of 7-10 days. Those with impending lung infections may lose their appetite and so their weight decreases, often dropping 1-2 Kg in a week and so daily weight measurements using the Company’s web-connecting smart scales can track this trend. When a chest infection begins, lung function decreases and this can be detected using a simple electronic meter (Peak Flow meter) at home. Similarly, the level of oxygen in the blood can decrease while pulse rate, blood pressure and temperature can increase. These physiological parameters can be measured, uploaded, tracked and recorded online with the technology developed by Aseptika in its Activ8rlives system.

The data recorded by the patient at home each day, will in the near future, be combined with information generated by a new home-use sputum test that the Company is developing. This measures the level of activity of one of the common bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA), which can become resident in the lungs of a proportion of the patients with COPD, CF and non-CF Bronchiectasis and those with severe Asthma. Performing this test at home each day will provide advanced warning of an impending exacerbation by PA. Subsequently the patient can seek medical help sooner and thereby avoid a 6-8 day stay in hospital, by being treated at home. These same measurements can also be used to reassure the patient and their carers that treatment in their “hospital at home” is being effective. This strategy has the benefit of placing the patient and their carers firmly at the centre of the treatment process, with their data being collected by them and belonging to them.

The new technology being developed by the Company through this NHS England SBRI contract will move patient-centred self-management through self-monitoring, using the Company’s Always Connected infrastructure to a new level and will result in the production of a new generation of connected medical monitors that look like the latest consumer products.

This work was commissioned and funded by NHS England. The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily that of the funding partners.

 

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 Home-hospital for respiratory careCaption: Innovative healthcare trusts are developing partnerships with patients in which the patient, their family and healthcare team agree a self-management plan for use at home. Successful trials have shown 85% reduction in hospital admissions but the next step is to support the self-care plans by providing simple self-monitoring tools for home use, that are web-connected.

 

About Aseptika Limited (Activ8rlives)

Our strategy is to develop expert information systems which can be used by laypeople and shared with their healthcare service providers, to better self-manage long-term conditions through self-monitoring. Activ8rlives integrates simple monitoring devices that capture an individual’s various health parameters. This information is brought together in the Company’s servers so that it can be viewed to warn of impending ill health and to support them in maintaining wellbeing. This also means that this information is available anywhere and at any time. A natural extension is development of a home-based test predicting flare-ups in chest infections in those who have long-term respiratory conditions, to reduce hospital admissions and improve healthcare.

The Company offers a range of health monitors, from step counters through to smart scales, smartphone Food Diary App to peak flow meters and pulse oximeters. The online communities combine empowerment through self-monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Groups can be led by laypeople, family, carers or healthcare workers to improve wellbeing and maintain health.

Users can track: physical activity, body composition and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health, blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication and bacterial infection markers. Custom trackers such as: dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature – in fact anything that can be measured – can be created. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

For more information on Aseptika Ltd and Activ8rlives and products, please visit: www.activ8rlives.com

Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.

 

 

 

 

Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare)

The Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare) is an NHS England initiative, championed by the newly formed Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), who aim to promote UK economic growth whilst addressing unmet health needs and enhancing the take up of known best practice.

Part of Innovation Health and Wealth the SBRI Healthcare programme sets industry the challenge in a series of health related competitions which result in fully funded development contracts between the awarded company and the NHS. Unlike many R&D projects which offer grant or match funding, SBRI contracts are 100 per cent funded and the company retains the IP.

www.sbrihealthcare.co.uk

 

For press information, please contact: 

Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Aseptika Ltd (Activ8rlives)

jessica.auton@aseptika.com

Direct +44 (0)1480 352 821

Mobile +44 (0)7455 922 122

 

Activ8rlives wearable tech BuddyBand being showcased daily in The HUB theatre at Gadget Show Live

Link

April 7, 2014, Activ8rlives (Aseptika Limited), Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK: Activ8rlives new Bluetooth 4.0 BuddyBand, a wearable wristband, will be showcased during The HUB theatre sessions daily at this year’s Gadget Show Live 2014. The BuddyBand and the second-generation iOS Smartphone App 2.0 will be put through their paces by hosts of The HUB, Aled Haydn Jones (Radio 1) and Lucy Hedges (Stuff TV). The Wearable Tech sessions run daily (3:15 – 3:45pm) with demos, fun reviews and live interviews. The HUB theatre is free to attend for visitors to the Gadget Show Live.  

Activ8rlives is launching five new health and wellness products at this year’s Gadget Show Live (NEC, Birmingham), including the wearable wristband – BuddyBand Bluetooth 4.0. The free companion iOS iPhone and iPad App allows you to view on one page in a simple graphical format over time (day, week, month, years) your activity, weight, health and Food Diary using the latest Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. Your Smartphone is utilized to take photos of your food and drink, which you then score as a Good or Bad Choices. No more counting calories, just an aid memoire to help you become more mindful as to what you eat and drink. All of this can be viewed via the Smartphone App or online at www.activ8rlives.com.

Commenting on the BuddyBand, founder and Managing Director Kevin Auton said “There are two levels to its use as a behavior change assist. Firstly, with laypeople who wear a dedicated tracker on their wrist – they check it, they show it off, they share the data amongst friends and groups – it all forms part of what increases their motivation to improve activity day by day, to set healthy goals. On a healthcare level, inactivity can be indicative of an individual’s symptomology of their level of wellness. Combine this data using a growing range of simple monitors that connect to Activ8rlives, the Company’s online health tracking system, individuals can record health parameters and upload the information directly via computers, Smartphones and Tablets. By seeing this information and trends in a visual way, connections about what makes us well and keeps us healthy can be seen, discovered and most importantly, repeated.” 

Auton went on to provide examples such as “people who are becoming unwell move less, so wearing an activity tracker can measure this decline in physical activity over a period of days. Those with impending lung infections may lose their appetite and so their weight decreases, often dropping 1-2 Kg in a week and so daily weight measurements using the Company’s new Bluetooth 4.0 Body Analyser smart scales can track this trend. For a patient suffering from COPD, when a chest infection begins, their lung function decreases and this can be detected using a simple electronic meter (Peak Flow meter) at home. Similarly, the level of oxygen in the blood can decrease (Pulse Oximeter), while pulse rate, blood pressure (Blood Pressure Bluetooth 4.0) and temperature can increase. These physiological parameters can be measured, uploaded, tracked and recorded online with the technology developed by Aseptika in its Activ8rlives system”.

The fifth product to be launched at the Gadget Show Live is the Activ8rlives POGO hub, which connects via the earphone port of Smartphones and Tablets and transmits data to the web from the Company’s devices and wellness gadgets by using proprietary technology developed by the Company. The POGO serves two roles as a “hub”: Firstly, it allows medical devices which only connect by USB to exchange data with the web without the need for a laptop or PC. This greatly reduces the cost and complexity for the user, while making self-monitoring solutions completely mobile for “on-the-go” monitoring.  Secondly, it can also add Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity to Smartphones and Tablets which do not have this capability – a function that is currently only available on high-end and more expensive Smartphones and Tablets. This makes it possible to connect the Company’s second-generation of Bluetooth 4.0 devices to the web via less expensive cellular products.

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Caption: Activ8rlives integrates simple monitoring devices such as the BuddyBand Bluetooth 4.0 that capture an individual’s different health parameters, brought together in the Cloud-based servers so that it can be viewed to warn of impending ill health and to support in maintaining wellbeing. This also means that this information is available anywhere and at any time via the free Activ8rlives iOS Smartphone App 2.0.

About Activ8rlives (Aseptika Limited)

Our strategy is to develop expert information systems which can be used by laypeople and shared with their healthcare service providers, to better self-manage long-term conditions through self-monitoring. Activ8rlives integrates simple monitoring devices that capture an individual’s various health parameters. This information is brought together in the Company’s servers so that it can be viewed to warn of impending ill health and to support them in maintaining wellbeing. This also means that this information is available anywhere and at any time. A natural extension is development of a home-based test predicting flare-ups in chest infections in those who have long-term respiratory conditions, to reduce hospital admissions and improve healthcare.

The Company offers a range of health monitors, from step counters through to smart scales, smartphone Food Diary App to peak flow meters and pulse oximeters. The online communities combine empowerment through self-monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Groups can be led by laypeople, family, carers or healthcare workers to improve wellbeing and maintain health.

Users can track: physical activity, body composition and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health, blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication and bacterial infection markers. Custom trackers such as: dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature – in fact anything that can be measured – can be created. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

For more information on Aseptika Ltd and Activ8rlives and products, please visit: www.activ8rlives.com

Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.

 

For press information, please contact:         

Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Aseptika Ltd (Activ8rlives)

jessica.auton@aseptika.com 

Direct +44 (0)1480 352 821

Mobile +44 (0)7455 922 122

Aseptika set to unveil new ‘Always Connected’ POGO hub for self-monitoring health conditions at the Gadget Show Live 2014

April 7, 2014, Aseptika Limited (Activ8rlives), Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK: Aseptika Ltd (Cambridgeshire, UK) announces that it will be launching its Activ8rlives’ POGO hub for Smartphones and Tablets at the Gadget Show Live 2014 (NEC, Birmingham, UK) on the 9-13, April 2014. The Activ8rlives’ POGO is part of Aseptika’s Always Connected strategy to empower people to self-manage long-term health conditions through self-monitoring various parameters of health at home and while on holiday. The POGO connects to the earphone port of Smartphones and Tablets and transmits data to the web from the Company’s medical devices and wellness gadgets by using proprietary technology developed by the Company. 

The POGO serves two roles as a “hub”: First, it allows medical devices which only connect by USB to exchange data with the web without the need for a laptop or PC. This greatly reduces the cost and complexity for the user, while making self-monitoring solutions completely mobile for “on-the-go” monitoring. Second, it can also add Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity to Smartphones and Tablets which do not have this capability – a function that is currently only available on high-end and more expensive Smartphones and Tablets. This makes it possible to connect the Company’s second generation of Bluetooth 4.0 device to the web via less expensive cellular products.

The Activ8rlives’ POGO was designed, developed and manufactured by the Company in collaboration with a number of UK companies, most of whom are located in Cambridgeshire, in what is becoming a growing trend of “re-shoring” manufacture in the UK.

Aseptika’s Founder and MD, Kevin Auton described how this was achieved: “As a Medtech devices and solutions company, we need to move quickly, which means tightly coupling design, development and manufacture of software, firmware, electronics, casework and Cloud-based informatics. Even for a relatively simple product such as the POGO, because it is unique everything had to be developed from a blank sheet to provide the first of a series of solutions we need. Working with local companies, such as RGE Ltd in Huntingdon, who developed our designs into parts which could be injection molded and manufactured at scale and quickly, has enabled us to bring POGO rapidly to market, giving us first mover advantage. RGE worked closely with us to help make our core parts and it is great for us that both companies are located in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. You really can’t beat the ability to walk down the road (5,800 steps) and collaborate face-to-face when speed to market is essential.”

Colin Ramsay, Technical Account Manager, RGE Group said: “Aseptika’s POGO has been a really interesting project for us. Working with a medical devices company such as Aseptika where the production volume is relatively low compared with our mainstream business, but the quality, precision and delivery has to be to the very highest standards, is an interesting direction for our company and we were delighted that Aseptika chose RGE to develop the tooling and manufacture the product locally rather than overseas. We are seeing a lot of interest from Cambridge-based companies who need rapid tooling, fast turnaround and low volume runs for products that can be CE marked for use in clinical trials with NHS patients and will be looking to expand this capability in the future as we attract local innovators to make their products here in the UK. We are only concerned that working with Aseptika will mean that all employees will be required to walk 10,000 steps a day.  Our factory covers 14,000 m2 so fortunately we do a lot of walking during the working day already!”

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Caption: Activ8rlives POGO Hub for Smartphones and Tablets allows the synchronisation of data from Activ8rlives USB medical devices (Peak Flow meter shown in this photograph) to Smartphone via built-in Bluetooth 4.0, even if your Smartphone or Tablet do not have Bluetooth capability. The POGO – stands for Press Once and GO – is inserted into the earphone socket of Smartphones and Tablets. 


About Aseptika Limited (Activ8rlives)

Our strategy is to develop expert information systems which can be used by laypeople and shared with their healthcare service providers, to better self-manage long-term conditions through self-monitoring. Activ8rlives integrates simple monitoring devices that capture an individual’s various health parameters. This information is brought together in the Company’s servers so that it can be viewed to warn of impending ill health and to support them in maintaining wellbeing. This also means that this information is available anywhere and at any time. A natural extension is development of a home-based test predicting flare-ups in chest infections in those who have long-term respiratory conditions, to reduce hospital admissions and improve healthcare.

The Company offers a range of health monitors, from step counters through to smart scales, smartphone Food Diary App to peak flow meters and pulse oximeters. The online communities combine empowerment through self-monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Groups can be led by laypeople, family, carers or healthcare workers to improve wellbeing and maintain health.

Users can track: physical activity, body composition and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health, blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication and bacterial infection markers. Custom trackers such as: dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature – in fact anything that can be measured – can be created. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

For more information on Aseptika Ltd and Activ8rlives and products, please visit: www.activ8rlives.com

Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.

 

About RGE Engineering

RGE Group specialises in precision plastic injection mouldings, tooling and product development engineering. Innovation and quality is at the heart of what we do. With over 45 years’ experience, RGE Group is the home of injection moulding expertise. A family owned company with global experience, we work with you through the product design process to provide a total solution; from component design through to high capacity technical injection mouldings and precision mould tooling manufacture.


RGE Group injection moulding, mould tool services and innovation design engineering expertise is used across multiple sectors, including white goods, office furniture, storage containers and technical mouldings for which we are particularly well-known. Plastic and specifically mould injection could be the solution for your business, even if you have not used it before. The environmental impact of injection moulding is considered in all our business decisions and we are committed to minimising pollution through lean manufacturing techniques and continuous improvement. Our lean manufacturing ensures we deliver efficiently and cost-effectively every time. We add additional value by also offering design, printing and assembly services to save you time and money – allowing you to focus on your core business.


RGE Group’s head office is based in Cambridgeshire and we operate on a global scale with facilities in the UK, Lithuania, USA, Portugal and China. This gives us the flexibility to work to your specific requirements on low or high volume product design projects with a tailor-made approach.

 

For press information, please contact:         

Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Aseptika Ltd (Activ8rlives)

jessica.auton@aseptika.com 

Direct +44 (0)1480 352 821

Mobile +44 (0)7455 922 122

 

Aseptika Wins First Place for Most Promising eHealth Solution Competition 2014 Developed by an EU SME

April 3, 2014, Activ8rlives (Aseptika Limited), Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK: Aseptika wins first place in the competition to reward the most promising eHealth solution 2014 developed by an early-stage European Small and Medium Enterprise (SME). The 2014 Competition was organized by TICBioMed and has the endorsement of the Health and Wellbeing Unit of DG CONNECT of the European Commission.

The Competition took place on Wednesday, 2nd April alongside the World of Health IT congress in Nice, France. The announcement of the Winning entries was made following the Company pitches.

Commenting on the win Founder and Managing Director, Kevin A. Auton commented “We are delighted to be awarded this honour, especially in light of the outstanding quality of the finalists that presented to the Judges”.

The Competition attracted some 123 EU SME companies to enter in the category of “Promising eHealth EU SME”. The judges commended Aseptika for the integrated approach it was taking in the support of patients with long-term respiratory disease, providing the platform to self-manage their illness through self-monitoring. Central to the Company’s “hospital-at-home” concept, is a test in which the patient measures the level of virulence of the bacteria living in their lungs which from time to time, flare into a full and repeated chest infections.

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1st place win in promising eHealth solution for EU SME1st place winner Aseptika in promising eHealth solution for EU SME

 

 

 

 

 

Caption: First Place Trophy in the Category Promising eHealth Solution EU SME Competition 2014. Kevin A. Auton Ph.D, with the Competition’s organizer from TICBioMed, Spain.

(High resolution images available upon request)

 

About Aseptika Limited (Activ8rlives)

Our strategy is to develop expert information systems which can be used by laypeople and shared with their healthcare service providers, to better self-manage long-term conditions through self-monitoring. Activ8rlives integrates simple monitoring devices that capture an individual’s various health parameters. This information is brought together in the Company’s servers so that it can be viewed to warn of impending ill health and to support them in maintaining wellbeing. This also means that this information is available anywhere and at any time. A natural extension is development of a home-based test predicting flare-ups in chest infections in those who have long-term respiratory conditions, to reduce hospital admissions and improve healthcare.

The Company offers a range of health monitors, from step counters through to smart scales, smartphone Food Diary App to peak flow meters and pulse oximeters. The online communities combine empowerment through self-monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Groups can be led by laypeople, family, carers or healthcare workers to improve wellbeing and maintain health.

Users can track: physical activity, body composition and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health, blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, c-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication and bacterial infection markers. Custom trackers such as dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature – in fact anything that can be measured – can be created. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

For more information on Aseptika Ltd and Activ8rlives and products, please visit: www.activ8rlives.com

Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.

eHealth Solutions Competition 2014 for EU SME

 

 

For press information, please contact:

Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Aseptika Ltd (Activ8rlives)

jessica.auton@aseptika.com 

Direct +44 (0)1480 352 821

Mobile +44 (0)7455 922 122

 

 

 

 

 

Activ8rlives mark debut appearance at Gadget Show Live with five new self-monitoring products

20 March, 2014, Activ8rlives (Aseptika Limited), Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK: British health and wellbeing technology company Activ8rlives will be marking their debut appearance at the Gadget Show Live (NEC, Birmingham) with the launch of five “second-generation” health monitoring products, including Bluetooth 4.0 wearable Activity Tracker, Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Scales, Bluetooth 4.0 Blood Pressure Monitor, a USB/Bluetooth 4.0 hub, together with a Free Smartphone App with which to view, analyse and self-monitor the data collected by these devices.

Activ8rlives was created by biochemist Kevin Auton Ph.D after his personal health experiences made him realise the value group support could bring to sustained behaviour change towards greater health and wellbeing.

Dr Auton explains, “The idea for developing a range of self-monitoring devices to manage your health and wellbeing at home came after my own family decided to work together to lose weight and improve our general fitness. While there was a great deal of information available, there were few real tools that could be used by us as a family to support this process of change. Being a technologist, I developed some simple tools, checklists and monitoring sheets, which eventually became Activ8rlives. This has now grown into an integrated suite of products, which can be used by laypeople to empower them to become more active, maintain a healthy weight and manage long-term conditions and to stay well.”

Auton added “Being active, eating well and staying healthy is about making small changes to our lives. Being active is one of these challenges and Activ8rlives helps you to make simple changes, which you can fit into your already busy daily schedule to stay healthy.”

Attendees to the Gadget Show Live can enter a PRIZE DRAW, to win an “Activ8rlives Family Health and Wellbeing Bluetooth 4.0 system”, which include the Company’s new Bluetooth 4.0 enabled accelerometers and smart scales that will enable a family of 4 to track their activity levels, sleep quality, energy expenditure, body composition, food intake via our photo-based Food Diary, and all run via the Bluetooth 4.0 Activ8rlives Smartphone App to track any further health parameters they may need to be aware of.

The use of Activ8rlives is free for life. No fees, credit cards or freemium-to-premium upgrades will be asked for – EVER! Users can stay committed to their health goals and Activ8rlives is designed to help them achieve this by working together in groups.

PRESS SAMPLES Prior to the Show the Company is making available to the press, a fully functional package of the “Activ8rlives Personal Health and Wellbeing Bluetooth 4.0 system” (must have Bluetooth 4.0 enabled Smartphone to be eligible). This will enable editorial staff to utilise all the capabilities of the Activ8rlives system and its ability to be able to help the user make connections between the data collected. For more information about this opportunity, members of the press should contact Jenna Gould, at Media Jems on 01603 743 363 or email jenna@mediajems.co.uk

Caption: Activ8rlives’ Family Health and Wellbeing Bluetooth 4.0 package which will be given away to a lucky family attending the Gadget Show Live at the NEC, Birmingham this Easter. (High resolution image available upon request)

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 About Aseptika Limited (Activ8rlives)

Our strategy is to develop expert information systems which can be used by laypeople and shared with their healthcare service providers, to better self-manage long-term conditions through self-monitoring. Activ8rlives integrates simple monitoring devices that capture an individual’s various health parameters. This information is brought together in the Company’s servers so that it can be viewed to warn of impending ill health and to support them in maintaining wellbeing. This also means that this information is available anywhere and at any time. A natural extension is development of a home-based test predicting flare-ups in chest infections in those who have long-term respiratory conditions, to reduce hospital admissions and improve healthcare.

The Company offers a range of health monitors, from step counters through to smart scales, smartphone Food Diary App to peak flow meters and pulse oximeters. The online communities combine empowerment through self-monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Groups can be led by laypeople, family, carers or healthcare workers to improve wellbeing and maintain health.

Users can track: physical activity, body composition and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health, blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication and bacterial infection markers. Custom trackers such as: dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature – in fact anything that can be measured – can be created. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

For more information on Aseptika Ltd and Activ8rlives and products, please visit: www.activ8rlives.com

Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd. 

For press information, please contact:  

Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Aseptika Ltd (Activ8rlives)

jessica.auton@aseptika.com  Direct +44 (0)1480 352 821 Mobile +44 (0)7455 922 122

COPD and Cognitive Loss – New study reveals link, underscores need for early diagnosis

This important study from the Mayo Clinic in the US highlights an, not altogether surprising occurrence as a result of the underlying condition of COPD. Early diagnosis is key but in the delay of this, prevention by the individual cannot be stressed more highly. Smoking and pollution has undoubtedly contributed to the rise of this condition but concomitantly we have reduced our levels of physical activity – perhaps cause and effect? A very simple preventative tool for nearly all health ailments but particularly respiratory disease and more recently identified with dementia, is to be more active. Link this with disease education and the promotion of patient empowerment, we can avert many instances of MCI and other co-morbidities such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Sounds difficult but taking an hours walk every day is not!

PD and Cognitive Loss

(Source: respiratory-care-sleep-medicine.advanceweb.com)

When patients receive a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), education follows. Typically they learn about ways to rehab their pulmonary function, improve breathing and manage oxygen usage. They are told that while COPD… follow this link for the full article http://respiratory-care-sleep-medicine.advanceweb.com/Features/Articles/COPD-and-Cognitive-Loss.aspx

 

Keep it simple and achievable: New Year resolutions

After the overindulgence of Christmas, many of us start the New Year with an opportunity for self improvement.

December is a month long celebration devoted to eating, drinking and partying, and when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st and the New Year is heralded in – what will be our New Year resolutions?  Is it a ‘New Year, New You’? For many losing weight, getting fit, stopping smoking, eating more healthily or drinking less, are on the agenda.

Around 7 million of us will make a New Year’s resolution to improve an aspect of our health. About a third of New Year’s resolvers make weight loss their primary goal, and about 15% aim to begin an exercise programme. If you’re nodding your head and thinking, “Yup, I’m one of these people,” take heart. Our objective is a noble one, and, if accomplished, we will surely do wonders for our health.

Studies have shown that from mid-November to early January, individuals will gain an average of half a kilogram. With men gaining slightly more, around 900 grams each, while women gained a little less, about 500 grams apiece [1]. Half a kilo may not sound so bad, but studies have found that on average, people will gain about one kilogram each year and keep it on. This phenomenon has been called the “weight creep”. After 10 years of these small increases in weight, it amounts to an additional 10 kilograms of fat. The holiday weight gain could be a more important factor in the obesity epidemic than we realize.

So keeping a New Year’s resolution can be more important than we realise. It is tough to keep our resolutions and a promise made in hast when we feel guilty after Christmas, can quickly be forgotten when we resume our normal routine in January.

Health and wellness company Activ8rlives suggests some simple and small steps to help us achieve realistic goals this year. Small achievable steps can be worked easily into our everyday routines, that don’t involve a huge commitment in terms of money or time but adding these small incremental adjustments together bring about accumulated benefits that we can all achieve for a healthier and fun year ahead.

New Year resolutions should be simple and achievable, taking small steps help us stick with them throughout the year.

Caption: New Year resolutions should be simple and achievable, taking small steps help us stick with them throughout the year.

 

10 Simple and Achievable Steps

1.      Don’t skip breakfast

When we skip breakfast, particularly for women, we tend to make up for the lack of calories at breakfast later in the day and we don’t burn off these calories fully when we eat later. Therefore, we tend to store them as fat. Not only do we make up these calories but we don’t kick-start our metabolism early enough in the day. Also include some protein in our breakfast, not just carbohydrates and sugars. For example, add an egg, milk, yoghurt or bacon to help fuel up for the day and burn off these calories, as opposed to storing them as fat.

2.      Smaller plates

This step is really simple, just use smaller plates and bowls for our food, eat more slowly and we will consequently reduce our portion size and not eat as much. This goes for super-sized drinks as well – just make it smaller and we will be surprised that we feel satisfied as we become accustomed to the reduced portions. We all tend to eat what is on our plates, so by reducing the plate size we reduce the portion size.

3.      Swap our foods

There are many healthier options we can take with regard to our food choice, and swapping for lower calorie, lower sugar, higher fibre, less fat, less processed foods and fresh uncooked fruit and vegetables will bring about small and achievable reductions in our overall food intake. This will yield not only a reduction in consumption, but a beneficial rise in the quality of the nutritional content. For example, by cutting down from full cream milk to semi-skimmed milk an average serving of 250 ml is halved saving of 83kcal, a 285kcal muesli bar reduces to 85kcal for a delicious fresh apple, and medium sized portion of skinless chicken breast rather than with the skin brings a reduction of about 35kcal. Every little reduction in calorie intake can add up over the week, month and year – so it is always worth making those swaps for the longer term. One simple example if we swap to semi-skimmed milk, we will save the intake of an additional 30,295kcal in 2014.

4.      Mealtimes together

You may already naturally undertake this next step and if not we could try this for at least 5 evenings a week. The daily practice of eating together at a table for the evening meal, as a family or friendship group, is universally and cross culturally a natural behaviour. Turn off the TV, put away the mobile phones and spend half an hour together enjoying our food, catching up on each other’s day and enjoying each other’s company. Research supports this simple behavioural change which helps us be more mindful or connected to our food. As a result we tend to eat more slowly, reach satiety or the feeling of being comfortably full sooner, thereby reducing our food intake.

5.      Record what we eat

Recording what we eat in a food diary extends the mindfulness concept of what we eat further and it helps us to make better and healthier choices of food. A simple and quick method of recording what we eat at mealtimes, for snacks and drinks is to take a photograph of our food and upload it to an online diary. To look back over what we have eaten in any given day will give us insight into why we may not be achieving the weight goals we are aiming for, or why we feel rundown and tired because of our food choices. Activ8rlives has developed a useful Smartphone App for Android, Windows 8 and iOS that is free and simple to use. There is no calorie counting or portion weighing, just snap a photo with a smartphone and simply score our meal or snack as a “good” food choice or a “bad” food choice.

6.      Be habitually active

In a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report [2] it estimated that within the WHO European Region, almost one million deaths per year are attributable to insufficient physical activity. In many countries, therefore, physical inactivity is now considered one of the major causes of death.

Inactivity is the one thing we can change most easily and that will provide the greatest benefits to our health and wellbeing. Starting small with an increase in walking, adding more walking activities within our daily routine will bring benefits to our health and it’s free and available all hours. Overwhelming research shows that we could reduce the risk of a range of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, some cancers, dementia and a host of mental illness symptoms just with 60 minutes activity each day. Notice that we do not say exercise, just activity.

Building up our stamina through walking, with an aim to achieve 10,000 steps daily once we are fitter, equates to about 60-70 minutes of moderate activity daily. This may be the best prescription our doctor can ever give us. We may not have the time to do this amount of walking in one session, so space it out during the course of our day by parking further from work or getting off the bus or train a stop earlier and walk the remaining part of our journey. At Activ8rlives we call this Park and Stride! Take the stairs and not the lift, or walk to the shops for those last minute groceries rather than driving. Be creative but take time to enjoy the pleasure and the health benefits of being more active. It saves money too. Starting a car for short journeys uses more fuel because the car engine is cold. It’s much cheaper to walk or cycle.

7.      Monitor our activity

Learn to record our activity and soon we will invent our own ways of achieving the daily goal. By recording our activity we again become more mindful of including it in our daily routine, and this can easily be recorded with a simple step counter, such as the Activ8rives Buddy Step Counter. The data from the Buddy is uploaded to our free online account, and our daily, monthly, yearly activity is graphically displayed alongside other individual data, such as our food diary, weight, BMI, blood pressure, lung function, blood glucose level or anything else we want to self manage about our health and wellbeing.

8.      Weigh ourselves daily

There is contrary research about whether we should weigh ourselves every day but Activ8rlives recommend that we carry this out at the same time every day and after we have used the toilet, ideally in the morning. This will keep us informed as to our weight fluctuations and it will encourage us to think before we put food into our mouth. No more mindless eating! As we become more informed about our own weight and activity levels, it can really help us moderate our food choices. What goes into our brain is as important as that which goes into our stomachs!

9.      Get encouragement from others

We all do better at sticking with our health goals if we undertake them as part of a group or family. Encourage our family, friends and colleagues to join us in increasing their activity, invite them along for a walk at lunchtime or after dinner in the evenings. By involving others around us in activity this will help our own motivation, includes a fun opportunity to socialise and we will all get a boost to our mood and endorphin levels. Not to mention a better more restful sleep.

Activ8rlives provides a group focus so that we can set up our own group, so that we can all strive together and encourage each other to stick to our simple goals for improving our health and wellbeing. Along the way we can keep in touch with our fellow team members and take some virtual walking trips around the World on the Activ8rlives website.

10.   Sleep on

Getting enough sleep also helps us maintain a healthier weight, as we tend to consume more calories when we are tired, and typically we snack and pick more often in the evenings as a result. These extra calories do not have a chance to be burnt off and are stored as fat overnight. A good sleep on average is 6-8 hours, so if we are not getting that time, get to bed earlier or catchup on the weekend. Are you getting a good night sleep?

 

Millions around the world will be making their New Year’s resolutions on the 31st December — the chance to wipe the slate clean at the start of the calendar year is a powerful notion that crosses cultures. Yet for so many of us it ends in failure, often within a week or even 24 hours.

Activ8rlives attributes the success of New Year resolutions based around health and wellness to three things: firstly that our goals are realistic in nature; secondly that our attempts should be small and achievable steps rather than drastic unsustainable changes; and lastly that we write down or record our goals and progress to give us feedback and accountability for our healthy behavioural changes so that celebration of our successes are part of our new or renewed outlook.

Changes to our overall health and wellness are not achieved overnight. It takes time and we frequently fail along the way – that is normal. When we feel empowered to change our lifestyle and adopt a healthy and active way of life our energy and stamina increases, we get fewer coughs and colds, we feel great and are generally a lot happier. So we take it one step at a time. Activ8rlives provides the tools for self managing our health and wellness at home. We draw on the motivational support of our groups – others help us because they want us to succeed. By helping us, they are actually reminding themselves (being mindful) of what they need to do to help themselves. Every day is a new opportunity for us to change for the better.

 

References

[1] Jamie Cooper & Joy Dubost, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 2013.

[2] World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Europe (2013) Physical activity promotion in socially disadvantaged groups: Principles for action. Accessed online http://www.activ8rlives.com/newsdetail.aspx?id=643

 

12 Top Tips to keep the weight off this Christmas?

The challenge of the Christmas holiday, when entertaining and treats are plentiful, weight gain looks inevitable — but this year try to maintain your weight , not gain weight. This may be a more realistic and achievable daily mantra during the holidays – maintain, not gain!

Maintain, not gain!

This new daily mantra has been adopted by a research team at Duke University in the US, working with a group of nearly 100 overweight and obese African-American women with BMIs between 25-34.9. Their goal was to make lifestyle changes to improve their overall health and maintain their body shape. They set out not to lose weight, as it is with so often the research, clinical, and personal goals. There focus was to prevent weight gain. The results after 12 months were that 62% of the women had achieved the goal of no weight gain. Even better results were seen at 18 months with the average woman losing weight by 1.7kg [1].

‘Tis the season to be jolly with partying, with the stuffing of the turkey, bourgeoning buffet tables, clinking of glasses – the chances are you will be attending multiple occasions to overindulge and exceed your weight goals. Being mindful of our eating and drinking habits and our overall activity levels, we can navigate towards the holidays without the fear of stepping on your weight scales in the New Year.

So with this mantra pinned to your fridge, bedroom wall, kitchen cupboards, back of your front door, here are our twelve top tips to stop you gaining weight over Christmas this year.

1.       Last in line with one plate Buffets are an easy way to overeat so instead of being first in line with a large plate piled high, resist and join the end of the queue and take a smaller plate and don’t return for seconds.

2.       Be really active

Walk 10,000 steps daily, which equates to about 60-70 minutes walking at medium pace and keep a record of this. You may not have the time to do this amount of walking in one session, but you can space it out during the course of your day by parking further from your work or getting of the bus/train a few stops earlier and walk the remaining journey. Taking the stairs and not the lift, or walking to the shops for those last minute supplies, rather than driving. Learn to record your activity and soon you will invent your own ways of achieving this.

3.       Don’t party on an empty stomach

Rather than “saving up” to eat with abandon at the party go along with some food in your tummy. Enjoy a small snack of nuts, cheese, yoghurt, fruit or wholegrain crackers before the party; this will satisfy your hunger.

4.       Keep it interesting

Try new ways of tracking food intake, with a free smartphone App such as Activ8rlives.com, which bases its success on the images taken of food and drinks consumed, and a simple scoring system of Good Choice (green) or Bad Choice (red). Trying to keep the red choices to a minimum each day but also balancing them across the week and avoiding the binging and starving that can occur. You will also be able to follow your activity and many more health parameters via their free portal.

5.       Learn healthy habits

Sign up to receive a nutrition newsletter, and read about healthier lifestyle choices will encourage you to be more mindful of what you are eating and improve your lifestyle habits.

6.       Weigh yourself daily

Doing this at the same time every day and after you have used the toilet, ideally in the morning. This will keep you informed as to your weight fluctuations and it will encourage you to think before something goes into your mouth because you are more informed about your own weight. It can really help moderate you into making good food choices all day.

7.       Don’t skip breakfast

Ensure you start the day well with a wholesome and nutritious breakfast and include some protein as your metabolism needs the fuel early in the day to kick start it and by skipping breakfast you simply make up the calories you have missed later in the day but without the benefit of a higher metabolic rate.

8.       Use the serviette test

Foods high in saturated and trans fat are best to avoid if you want to maintain, not gain. If the food leaves an oily mark on your serviette leave it on your plate. Try semi or skimmed milk, rather than full fat, stock up on low fat yoghurts or snacks but ensure that they aren’t making up the calories in extra sugar.

9.       Beauty sleep never overrated

Getting enough sleep also helps us maintain our weight, as we tend to consume more calories when we are tired, and typically we snack and pick more often in the evenings as a result and these extra calories do not have a chance to be burnt off and are stored as fat.

10.    Rethink your drink

Alcohol contains a surprising number of calories, especially if you are drinking spirits and mixers. Swap the mixer for a low calorie version. Keep your alcohol consumption to within the safe limits and alternate an alcoholic drink for a low calorie soft drink or water, thereby halving your alcohol consumption.

11.   Together make it fun

Family, friends and conversation are what holiday celebrations are all about. Take the focus off food by encouraging your family, friends and colleagues along for a walk in the bracing winter sun but stop off along the way for a warming coffee or hot chocolate. Or dance the night away but by involving others around you in activity this will help your own motivation to be active and you will all get a boost to your mood and endorphins, and will sleep better for the exercise.

12.   Stop the “picking”

Who can resist the leftovers and the delicious nibbles at parties? Your will power may not allow you to resist but after you have had a sufficient and appropriate amount to eat chew on some gum or suck a mint. It helps you to stop eating on autopilot. So this holiday season remember to not go crazy but to also allow yourself a little of what you fancy. The goal is not to put on any extra weight but to maintain your current weight. Your New Year resolutions may be different but we would all do well to just maintain, not gain and give our health and wellness a break from excess.

[1] Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., Nutrition-wise blog – Mayo Clinic, Sept. 25, 2013.

Day 9 – Final Day – The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride

Day 9 – Torquay to Geelong ( RACV Great Vic Community Ride starts)

Sunday, 1 December – 49km

It’s the final day of the Great Victorian Bike Ride! They welcome riders on the RACV Great Vic Community Ride and they will be joined for the last day of the 9 day adventure. Upon exiting the campsite at Torquay, follow the esplanade right around Zeally Bay, where riders will experience panoramic views of this tranquil coastline.

Then briefly join the bike trail from Breamlea Road to Blackrock Road before continuing along another scenic coastal road by 13th Beach and into Barwon Heads. Stop off for a coffee or check out the boutique shops on the main street at this popular holiday town. After crossing the Barwon River, head inland to the Ballarine Highway, before joining the Bellarine Railway trail, which will take the riders into the finish site at Geelong Show Grounds.

The ride use less than 10km of the route, but the Bellarine Rail Trail is a 32km trail for walking and cycling built on the old railway line between Geelong and Queenscliff. Today’s ride is an easy journey, virtually flat the whole way, and, for the 1 day riders, encapsulates Victoria’s beautiful coastal areas and a rail trail all in one day.

Whether you have completed the 9, 3 or 1 day rides, congratulations! Hold your head high because you will have been a part of cycling history on the 30th RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride and have ridden the Great Ocean Road.

Thank you for following us on this journey with our three intrepid Activ8rlives cycling adventurers in Australia and Activ8rlives. Well done Fe, Vic and Cathy for completing the distance and weathering the pain so courageously.

Day 8 – The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride

Day 8 – Birregurra to Torquay

Saturday, 30 November – 82km

Birregurra to Torquay includes Deans Marsh, Lorne, Anglesea, Bells Beach and of course the final stretch of the Great Ocean Road. Mostly downhill and heading back into more populated areas with changed traffic conditions to help facilitate the ride.

The day starts with a steep climb up through Deans Marsh, but then it’s mostly downhill as the ride takes the route through the Great Otway National Park and down into Lorne. In Lorne, they rejoin the Great Ocean Road and follow it through to Aireys Inlet and Anglesea. Breathe in the fresh ocean air and enjoy the magnificent views along this stretch of coastline. And, to make sure they take it all in, we’ve thrown in a few challenging climbs to slow the riders down as well!

On the approach to Torquay campsite, go past the famous Bells Beach and the new Torquay Resort. Bells Beach is one of Australia’s famous surfing beaches and home to the Rip Curl Pro, and if the conditions are favourable, they might get to see some surfers perfecting their craft.

Camping will be at Spring Creek Reserve and the foreshore common – this will be a split site with camping on either side of road. Beautiful kept grounds and close to Torquay, this is a beautiful spot to camp. It will need caution to cross the road but Bicycle Network will ensure that adequate measures are in place to help facilitate this. Torquay is the home of iconic brands Quicksilver and Rip Curl, and walks along the coast will provide spectacular views.

It’s the final night of the Great Victorian Bike Ride so celebrate, reminisce, quietly reflect on the riders achievements or dance the night away if you still have the energy! They have something for everyone to enjoy, with Bicycle Network and fellow riders to celebrate the week in another world.

Day 7 – The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride

Day 7 – Gellibrand to Birregurra (RACV Great Vic Getaway starts)

Friday, 29 November – 81 km

Our 3 day Great Vic Getaway riders join in Gellibrand and then all will start the day with a challenging uphill climb through the Otways and to the first rest area. But from this point onwards, all the hard work is done. The remainder of today’s ride is incredible – it’s cycling touring at its very finest.

Turtons Track is a hidden piece of cycling gold, between Beech Forest and Forrest. Recently sealed and closed to general traffic for the Great Vic, this will be a truly unique experience. It’s a spectacular ride through the heart of very beautiful and tranquil rainforest. Enjoy the stillness of the surroundings, the sight of lush green ferns, and inhale the clean, fresh air of the rainforest. This will be riding bliss and a day riders will remember.

This route has been chosen over the traditional Great Ocean Road ride for this section of road that will truly delight.

There are a few more hills but the scenery is worth the effort. Ater a stop at Forrest, the ride is downhill to the next campsite at Birregurra. Birregurra is a boutique town known for its fine foods, culture and incredible hospitality. Located at the foot of the Otway Ranges, this town is another very welcoming town that loves cyclists and is busy planning activities for the stay. Riders will be camping at the recreation reserve and the surrounding privately owned land, and they can follow a heritage walk to learn about the history of Birregurra.

A great story came to surface when Bicycle Network approached the private land owner to gauge interest in potentially using it for camping on the ride. The hospitality of scones and cups of tea awaited the team as they met with the long-time local, but her story of how one of her children had met and married the love of their life on a previous Great Victorian Bike Ride was the icing on the cake! So when the riders are camped up in Birregurra, they may see a lady at the front of an unassuming cottage in the middle of the campsite, that’s Heather, so please give her a wave!

Day 6 – The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride

Day 6 – Port Campbell to Gellibrand

Thursday, 28 November – 80km

Day 6 is an iconic day of riding along the world-famous Great Ocean Road. Today’s route will take the riders via the Twelve Apostles and offer more breath taking views of these amazing limestone rock formations. So take time to take it all in. But the riders will need to save their energy because after they head inland past Princetown, where they will encounter the toughest hill of the ride, Lavers Hill.

Lavers Hill is an epic climb – it’s a challenge and to be honest, it is tough. It is a beautiful piece of Victoria but riders need to earn it by pedalling uphill for the first half of the day. All their preparation and training leads up to days like this and to conquer Lavers Hill is a true badge of honour.

The elevations for the day look tough on the legs!?!

The riders reward is a fun downhill cruise into Gellibrand and the spectacular views of the rolling hills and timbered forests of the Otway Ranges. Gellibrand is usually a quiet little town that is very excited about hosting the Great Victorian Bike Ride once again.

Gellibrand hosted the Great Victorian Bike Ride 10 years ago when the weather conditions were tough. Locals still recall with great excitement how the entire town donated cans of soup to the general store to prepare a warm broth for cold riders and how they opened their doors to shelter riders from the elements. Now that’s true community spirit. The Great Victorian Bike Ride has come a long way since those days but all will be thrilled to being staying in Gellibrand once again and they’re sure to love the stay here.

Day 5 – Rest Day – The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride

Day 5 – Port Campbell Rest Day

Wednesday, 27 November is Rest Day.

Riders have a deserved day of rest! Port Campbell is relaxed enough to help riders take it easy and touristy enough to keep them busy.

Rest the legs or spin out a few lazy kilometres and discover and learn about the 12 Apostles. Take a helicopter ride over these natural wonders, explore the National Park Trail, or see the fascinating sea cave that is the Loch Ard Gorge. There are plenty of exciting day trips on offer where riders will get to immerse themselves in these wonderful coastal surroundings. They will be left in awe of the natural beauty in this area.

Port Campbell is a lively seaside village where there are many boutique shops, art galleries and restaurants to discover as well. There is something for everyone.

 

Night shift workers consume more than 500 extra calories

In a recent study published in the Journal of Sleep and undertaken by Andrea Spaeth, a graduate student working at the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory of the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, revealed that night shift workers were likely to consume over 500 more calories daily because of their sleep pattern.

The study involved 225 people aged between 22-50 years, who spent 18 days in the sleep laboratory. The participants were served regular meals at scheduled times, with food available in the kitchen for consumption any time of the day. Participants were able to move around the laboratory but were not allowed to exercise. They were provided with a range of sedentary activities.

The night shift workers who spent only 4 hours in bed (4 a.m. to 8 a.m.) for 5 consecutive nights gained more weight than the control participants who were in bed for 10 hours each night (10 p.m. to 8 a.m.).

The overall increase in calorific intake during the sleep restriction study was due to an increase in the number of meals consumed during the late-night period. Furthermore, the percentage of calories consumed from fat was higher during late-night hours than at other times of day.

The average increase in calories consumed by the night shift workers was an additional 550 calories, compared with those who sleep regular hours.

Night shift workers consume more than 500 extra calories

Activ8rlives says: If you are a regular or infrequent night shift worker, there is a tendency to increase your overall daily intake. Also the timing of your calorific intake is disrupted.

By maintaining an active lifestyle, especially in the daylight hours will help to balance the disruption of night duty. Snacks and extra meals whilst on night duty could beneficially be swapped for meals with a lower fat content. A stroll or cycle in the daylight are enjoyable and balancing activities for night owls.

 

Fewer breast cancers tied to walking in older women

(Excerpts from an article by Andrew M. Seaman, Reuters Health, October 4, 2013)

Older women who take regular walks are less likely to get breast cancer than their less active peers, according to a new study.

The study using data from 74,000 women between the ages of 50 to 74, who walked for at least one hour each day, had a 14% lower chance of getting breast cancer than infrequent walkers. And furthermore, vigorous activity was tied to an even lower risk.

Alpa Patel, the study’s senior author from the American Cancer Society (ACS) commented, “Just going for a one hour walk a day could have a significant impact on lowering your risk”.

Women who exercised more vigorously for at least seven hours per week were on average 25% less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, compared to women who participated in those activities less often.

The study could not prove that walking prevented ANY cancers, just that of breast cancer. But the researchers commented that it could be that walking affects a woman’s hormones, insulin resistance, weight and other factors that linked it to breast cancer risk.

Fewer breast cancers tied to walking in older women

Activ8rlives says: This is very good news for postmenopausal women and only goes to support our recommendation to be habitually active every day. Additional benefits of being habitually active include: reducing your risks of cardiovascular disease and lung disease. Not only is it good for your physical health, it’s good for your mental health in terms of a mood lifter, and alleviates the effects of stress, depression and anxiety.

Activ8rlives will see you out and about keeping yourself healthy and well.

Day 4 – The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride

Day 4 – Port Fairy to Port Campbell

Tuesday, 26 November – 107km

Day 4 will be a challenge! 107km in distance is a long day in anyone’s book, but here’s the reward – today riders get to ride along the Great Ocean Road. Discover the understated beginnings of the Great Ocean Road just out of Warrnambool and then enjoy its sweeping twists and turns, before taking in the natural beauty of London Arch and Loch Ard Gorge. It is epic, it is spectacular and it is unmissable – wish we were there with you for the view!

The riders also have the opportunity to travel along the newly opened rail trail from Port Fairy to Warrnambool. It’s a 37km unsealed route through rich agricultural areas, into the historic town of Koroit, and riders rejoin the main route close to Lake Pertobe. At this stage we recommend that riders only use the rail trail if they have a mountain or a hybrid bike.

However, the majority of riders will take the road route from Port Fairy to Warrnambool, via picturesque Tower Hill, which is an extinct Volcano. Keep an eye out for emus, kangaroos and koalas, as they are often seen lazing about in the area. Stop off for a break at the Warrnambool foreshore, before rolling out towards Allansford, and experience wonderful views of Lady Bay and the Hopkins River.

From Allansford, the route will join the Great Ocean Road and head through lush agricultural areas, past the dairy factories, towards Port Campbell. Closer to Port Campbell, take time to enjoy the expansive views of the Bay of Islands Coastal Park and the Shipwreck Coast.

It’s a long day of riding with a few hills thrown in to the mix, but it’s all worth it. A constant reward will be the ocean views – a companion on their right for most of this day. The campsite will be at Port Campbell Recreation Reserve at the top of the town and just a short walk to the water. It’s a rest day tomorrow and riders get to enjoy all that the Great Ocean Road has to offer.

Day 3 – The RACV Great Victorian Bike Race 2013

Day 3 – Portland to Port Fairy

Monday, 25 November – 95km

The riders will head inland today before returning to the coast and will be the first of two longer distance days. It will be a challenge but they will be rewarded with fantastic views.

The journey to Port Fairy starts with a morning ride skimming the outskirts of beautiful Portland Bay, where riders have a great view of the bay and all its activities, including the deep sea port, large ocean freighters and the aluminium smelter, before heading inland towards Mount Eccles National Park.

Riding along the beautiful country back roads will excite and delight – it will be a great day’s riding. Spot the majestic towers of the local wind farms before they head toward Port Fairy. Riding gentle undulations all day and with plenty of roadside tree cover, this day will be appealing to all cyclists.

At 95km in distance, it’s a great achievement and their reward awaits – foreshore camping with ocean surrounding the riders at Southcombe Park in Port Fairy. The smell of the ocean air whilst riding into campsite, adjacent to Port Fairy’s famous surf beach, The Passage. Port Fairy is a charming fishing village and there are a range of boutique, antique, art and craft shops to discover – if the riders can still stand!

To stay close to nature, the riders can cool off at the beach, explore Griffiths Island, go for a lovely heritage walk or just relax and enjoy being close to the water. It doesn’t get much better than this. Or does it? Tomorrows ride will be along the Great Ocean Road!

Day 2 – The RACV Great Victorian Bike Race 2013

Day 2 – Nelson to Portland

Sunday, 24 November – 74km

With around 5,200 cyclists, Day 2 begins the 74km ride to Portland, familiar territory for those riders who had joined in on past rides along the Great Ocean Road.

Along today’s route, riders pass various pine plantations, as well as Mount Richmond and the Cobboboonee State Forest. They tackle a small hill on the approach to Mount Richmond, but it’s then an easy downhill ride into Portland. It will be an enjoyable and quiet Sunday ride with new Great Vic mates and Activ8rlives riders. We’ll be wishing you well on your onwards journey.

Portland is the oldest European Settlement in Victoria and the riders setup camp at Henty Park for the night. They can relax, take a short stroll to the foreshore, find some shady grass and put their feet up for a while. Otherwise those with energy to spare can head into town and find plenty of shops, tourist activities and attractions to keep them entertained. Or take a scenic ride along the foreshore on the Portland Cable Tram, take a walk to see 50 of Portland’s historic buildings or check out the views from Cape Nelson State Park nearby.

Day 1 – The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride 2013


Day 1 – Mount Gambier to Nelson

Saturday, 23 November – 42km

For the first time in its history, the Great Victorian Bike Ride will start in South Australia. Located on the slopes of a dormant volcano, Mount Gambier is the starting point for the 9 day bike riding holiday. Many riders arrive a day or two early, as there is lots of natural and cultural beauty to explore in the surrounding region including caves coastline, wineries and Mount Gambier’s iconic Blue Lake.

The first day’s ride is a relaxing one as the ride is mostly downhill, across the border and the Glenelg River, before arriving in Nelson.

Nestled just inside the Victorian border, Nelson is a fishing, camping and tourism town. Riders will be camping on a former airfield close to town, privately owned by a long time local who can’t wait to see the tent city in his usually quiet field. From the camp site riders can walk around Oxbow Lake, and get a first glimpse of the ocean, walk 2km to Nelson Beach and breath in that clean ocean air.

The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride 2013 – the Route

The Great Victorian Bike Riders start their 610km ride tomorrow in the rugged terrain of Mount Gambier, along the famous Shipwreck Coast, wind around the Great Ocean Road and into the lush hills of the Otways, with a rest day at Port Campbell and the Twelve Apostles. Ride past Lorne, Anglesea and the famous Bells Beach before completing their 9 day trek travelling from Torquay to Geelong. Here is the route they will take.

The elevations of the ride are pretty impressive and I think Days 6, 7 and 8 look very challenging on the legs, lungs and hearts.

Last minute preparations are being made by our three Activ8rlives riders, and we wish them well in their adventure. We’ll be watching with much interest cheering you on from the other side of the world.

 

 

The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride 2013 taking place in Australia

This year’s RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride in Australia will be celebrating 30 years of  bike riding adventures by taking riders in their thousands on one of the most popular routes, the Great Ocean Road, and three of Activ8rlives users will be participating. We will follow their progress by joining them virtually through the Activ8rlives portal, starting with their last minute training schedule. Not only will our intrepid Activ8rlives cyclists be riding 610km, they will also be camping along the way in the tent city, along with the other riders.

For the first time the Great Victorian Bike Ride will start in the Australian state of South Australia and not Victoria, with the participants riding from the rugged terrain of Mount Gambier, along the famous Shipwreck Coast, wind around the Great Ocean Road and into the lush hills of the Otways, with a rest day at Port Campbell and the Twelve Apostles. Ride past Lorne, Anglesea and the famous Bells Beach before completing their 9 day trek travelling from Torquay to Geelong.

Here are two of our riders, sisters Fe and Cathy, both of whom were on an early morning walk as part of their training along the beautiful Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas, Queensland in August.

Friday rolls around, so we all eat and drink too much: Eight in ten admit relaxing diet and fitness regimes ahead of the weekend.

From the Daily Mail (Friday 15th November, 2013)

  • A survey of 600 people finds that most of us let go at the weekends.
  • Two thirds admitted to drinking without paying attention to how much.
  • Forty per cent also treat themselves to unhealthy breakfasts on Fridays.

The trouble with looking forward all week to letting your hair down on Friday is that you can end up going too far.

Friday is the day we are most likely to drink too much at home or in the pub, give up on a diet by indulging in a calorie-laden takeaway, or skip going to the gym, a survey claims.

Almost eight out of ten of the 600 questioned said they relaxed their diet and fitness regimes on a Friday, and almost two-thirds admitted to enjoying alcohol without worrying too much about their recommended units.

More than six out of ten (61 per cent) exercised regularly, but only 12 per cent did so on a Friday.

Four in ten confessed they were more likely to opt for bacon sandwiches or a cooked breakfast on Friday instead of healthier choices such as porridge.

And 46 per cent said Friday was the day when they were most tempted to eat biscuits, chocolates or other sweet treats in the office.

Almost a fifth admitted to picking up a takeaway rather than cooking on a Friday. One of those polled said: ‘After counting calories all week, the calculator goes out of the window on a Friday.’

Another said: ‘There is definitely more of a relaxed atmosphere on Fridays, and it’s true we eat more in our office – especially when there are biscuits floating round the office. We call it foody Friday.’

 

Activ8rlives says:  We call Friday Splurge Day. It is the day many of us have to be even more vigilant. Being mindful of what we are doing on a Friday if you suffer from end of week splurging is important if all of the effort invested during the week is not wasted.

Tip #1: Eat home cooked food – no take aways!

Tip #2: Change your routine. Do something different to change the pattern.

Tip #3: Go for a walk or be active to relax rather than using alcohol or food for a temporary fix for stress.

Only half of US Youth meet physical activity standards

Source: Journal of Adolescent Health, June 2013

In a National Institutes of Health (NIH, USA) report nearly 10,000 students between 11 and 16 years old were questioned about their activity levels and eating habits. The students were also asked to describe their emotional health, body image, and general satisfaction with life. Only about half of US adolescents are physically active five or more days of the week, and fewer than 1 in 3 eat fruit and vegetables daily, according to researchers at the NIH.

“The students showed a surprising variability in eating patterns,” said lead author Ronald J. Iannotti, Ph.D., of the Prevention Research Branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the NIH Institute in which the study was conducted. “But most—about 74 percent—did not have a healthy pattern.”

The researchers found that the adolescents’ diet and activity habits could be classified into three general categories. They described the first group as unhealthful and this group accounted for 26 percent of participants. The second group, classified as healthful, accounted for 27 percent. Because it was the largest group—including 47 percent of participants—the researchers classified the third group as ‘typical’.

The analysis of the survey results showed that the ‘typical’ youth were least likely to exercise five or more days each week or to eat fruits and vegetables at least once a day. They were more likely to spend time watching television, playing video games or on a computer than the healthful group.

Activ8rlives says: Teenagers are particularly unmoved by warnings of health risk. They are motivated by activities they find fun and which have immediate rewards. Self monitoring is a powerful way to learn about potential consequences of our behaviours. Experience shows that “self-taught” lessons are more likely to be lifelong and life changing than lectures from healthcare workers.

Keys to behaviour change is self monitoring for long enough so that new patterns of behaviour become habits. In weight management for example, this can take 12 months or more. Stimuli that increase adherence to the weight loss programme, will in turn increase the efficacy of the outcomes.

Activ8rlives includes a social media element (self-help groups), social networking and gamification through earning medals, points and progression through games using Google EarthTM (group walking games) as stimuli. These are popular with young and old and encourage increased participation in physical activity.

Patient perspectives: Oli Rayner

An interview with Oli Rayner by pharmaphorum, 08 November 2013.

Oli Rayner of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust shares his experience as a CF patient and discusses the myths that surround CF and the unmet medical needs of those with the disease.

Oli Rayner has cystic fibrosis (CF) and has recently joined the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in a six-month post as Special Adviser on Research and Patient Involvement.

Oli has been tasked with ensuring people with cystic fibrosis can find out what clinical trials are open to them, in addition to putting mechanisms in place to help increase the influence their views have in the commissioning and design of clinical studies.

He speaks with us here, in our latest ‘patient perspectives’ interview, on the needs of CF patients and the misconceptions that surround CF.

Interview summary

RA: Thank you for agreeing to take part in the interview. Could you please tell me about your background as a patient with cystic fibrosis and what has driven you to join the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, and lead the effort on patient engagement in clinical research?

OR: I was diagnosed with CF when I was three years old. The outlook was quite different in those days, and thanks to research things have changed significantly for children who are born with CF today.

There are over 1,800 mutations of CF, and even people with the same mutation can be affected in very different ways.

I’ve been quite lucky in that I’ve been able to do most of the things that I want to so far in life, things like sports, and school, and university, and travel, and work. As is common for people with CF, I’ve developed CF-related diabetes.

Now my CF is more demanding, and getting all the treatments done each day is essentially a full time job.

I’ve always been curious and interested in research; actually CF forces you to become a bit of a scientist and to think about life as a series of experiments. I’ve always felt the need to empower myself with knowledge so I could make informed decisions and find what works for me.

It’s a very interesting time for cystic fibrosis, as new treatment approaches have the potential over the next five to 10 years perhaps to change what it means to have the disease.

In 2012, a new drug called Ivacaftor or Kalydeco came onto the market. For people with a certain mutation this drug is transformative, but that mutation only applies to 4% of the UK population. The clinical trial data was fairly spectacular, but it took a very long time for the NHS to agree to pay for the drug.

The process made me think about drug development and reimbursement. It made me realise that people making the decisions about how to test new medicines and whether to pay for them probably don’t know very much about what it’s like to live each day with CF.

Patients are the only ones with a 360 degree view who can sometimes join all the dots together.

People like me have a responsibility to speak up and communicate, and better quality decisions will be made, better outcomes achieved if more patients are involved, and I thought I could contribute to that.

I’m very happy to be taking on this new role for the trust and excited about what we can achieve. I’ve been inspired by what patient groups have achieved in Duchenne recently, almost forcing regulators and pharma to work together in a new, much more proactive collaborative way.

“…people making the decisions about how to test new medicines and whether to pay for them probably don’t know very much about what it’s like to live each day with CF…”


RA: Can you tell us about the projects currently being funded by the CF Trust?

OR: The Trust has stepped up its activities recently, and the new research director, Doctor Janet Allen, announced a five year research strategy earlier this year. This aims to achieve a balance between backing transformational science to correct basic defects, to restore CFTR function, and help alleviate and manage symptoms of CF.

The Trust is also committed to increasing the capacity and quality of CF clinical trials in the UK, recruiting and investing into CF research and enhancing the involvement of patients in shaping research.

There are a number of excellent projects which predate the new strategy that are ongoing.

The most recent projects are focused on infection prevention and control, CFTR’s role in the development of CF-related diabetes, new treatment approaches for the most dangerous kinds of bugs with CF, a new treatment approach to correct the underlying defects in nonsense mutations of CF, gene therapy and gene editing that may address the underlying defects in a way that is not mutation specific.

The most important aspects of the new strategy are a commitment to work in a more open and collaborative way with other groups, academics, biotech, pharma, NHS, NIHR and other funding agencies, and of course people directly affected by CF. We know that when we work together we can actually make some really exciting things happen.

RA: What misunderstandings do you find that there are around cystic fibrosis?

OR: Well first of all you can’t catch it – it’s a genetic condition. People with CF can look very healthy, but be significantly disabled and very poorly. It’s a strange disease to get your head around, it’s very complex.

It affects different people in different ways, there are even cases of identical twins who are affected in very different ways.

It’s a progressive disease, that gets worse with age, but the trajectory can vary enormously from patient to patient.

CF directly affects many organs and systems in the body including the lungs, liver, pancreas, intestines, immune system, reproductive system, and it also negatively impacts the way that organs interact with each other. Problems in the pancreas can create problems in the gut, and bugs in the gut can affect bugs in the lungs etc. It’s difficult for people to understand.

Most people have permanent infections in their lungs, they need to do lots of treatment each day to keep the infections at bay. My own daily treatment regime includes around 40 pills, seven nebulisers, four inhalers, a saline nasal rinse, two injections, ambulatory oxygen, and two 30 minute sessions of physiotherapy or airway clearance. It takes about three hours if I’m feeling well, and it takes longer if I’m not feeling well, because it’s tiring. It’s difficult to fit everything into the day, especially if you’re an adult living independently.

Psychologically, it can be challenging. One big challenge for the community is the fact that we’re advised not to meet each other in person due to the risk of cross infection, which is something people don’t understand. That can make people feel very isolated.

Social media and web based platforms are helping.

RA: What needs do you think cystic fibrosis patients have that are not currently being met, and what can the pharmaceutical industry do to change this?

OR: There’s no cure for cystic fibrosis, and we all want to find a cure. Ivacaftor, Vertex’s drug which is also known as Kalydeco, addresses the underlying genetic defect and significantly restores CFTR function, but it’s not a cure.

“…when we work together we can actually make some really exciting things happen.”

We need to develop therapies to restore CFTR function for all mutations. We also need better treatment options to deal with the really dangerous bugs that are a threat to people with CF. They can significantly impair quality of life, and can be life shortening for people with cystic fibrosis.

The burden of treatment is fairly large for people with CF, so things which can make treatment go a bit quicker or easier could have a big impact on quality of life for people with CF and their families. It’s helpful if treatments can be delivered in the most convenient way, so pills instead of nebulisers or inhalers instead of nebulisers. Lots of people are trying to develop apps or other things to help people take their medicines. I take medicines from 19 different companies every day, 19 different apps aren’t going to help me. Adherence is fashionable at the moment, but there’s a real danger that the relevant individuals in pharma could spend a lot of money producing a shiny new website or app that satisfies their boss but actually makes the situation worse for patients. There is a need for integrated solutions.

The CF Trust is setting up an initiative in this area, and we are hoping to engage pharma as partners in a central platform that will address some of these issues.

“Patients are the only ones with a 360 degree view…”

RA: How can patients with CF find out what clinical trials are open to them?

OR: They can ask their CF team at their specialist centre, or they can go onto the CF Trust website. They can also look at websites like the NIHR clinical trials gateway or NHS Choices.

We are finding that some of these third-party clinical trial registers, including clinicaltrials.gov, are not always up to date. This can cause problems so it’s important to tell people quickly when a centre opens.

One of my tasks is to make it easier for people to find up to date reliable information on clinical trials open to them.

One of the CF Trust’s tasks is to make it easier for sponsors to set up trials in this country which is important on a number of levels.

RA: What considerations do you think need to be put into place when designing a trial for patients with CF?

OR: I would advise people to come and speak to the CF Trust, because there may be things we know about CF which can help you get where you want to faster.

There’s a lot of scientific and clinical knowledge residing in the CF Trust, which is a big asset. The Trust is keen to put that to work to help people to develop better treatments.

The UK patient registry, which the Trust runs, holds information on the 10,000 plus people with CF in the UK. It’s the only registry in the UK and is a valuable resource for researchers.

People with CF already have a heavy burden of treatment, so talking to patients or patient representatives about trials is quite important at an early stage.

Also, bear in mind that CF affects multiple organs, so for example if you’re developing something to help the lungs think about potential implications for people who have CF-related diabetes.

Think about how to make the trial attractive from a recruitment perspective. Open label extensions are a very good idea because then participants know they will have a chance to try the new treatment if they are randomised to the placebo arm.

I would encourage pharma to think about whether it’s possible to incorporate real-world data, and remote monitoring devices to reduce the necessity for clinical visits, but also just to capture how the drug is really affecting people as they go about their life. There is sometimes a gap between the clinical trial setting and the real life setting, and I think we need to think about how to close that.

Finally, on a practical issue, some patients need to travel relatively long distances to get to centres, so think about what you can do to make this easier. Generally to talk to patients at all points in the process, because they can be equally useful resource. We’re all trying to achieve the same thing, we all want treatments that work, so let’s work together.

“One big challenge for the community is the fact that we’re advised not to meet each other in person due to the risk of cross infection…”


RA: Finally, if there was just one thing that you could say to the pharma industry what would it be?

OR: I would say invest in a clinical data package that provides patients, clinicians and payers with the data they really need to make sensible decisions rather than just delivering regulators with what they need to grant a licence.

Some of the new therapies if they’re given to people early enough could have the potential to be very much like cures, because they could be given at a point where lungs have not started to become damaged in an irreversible way. There’s room for some innovation in clinical trials for younger children, the gold standard endpoint is FEV1 but it’s very difficult to do that in younger children, also it’s not very reliable.

I urge pharma to think about how they can make trials easier for younger children so that they’re less invasive in terms of the tests they do and can be powered properly so that they can be done with smaller populations. That is probably the route to an effective cure. It looks like the best we can hope for is to freeze the disease in its tracks, and clearly if you do that soon enough then it’s effectively a cure.

RA: Brilliant, well thank you Oli for your time.

Oli was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 1978 at the age of three. After graduating from UCL with a law degree in 1998, he spent 12 years working in investment banking and private equity in New York and London. He is currently working with the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as a Special Adviser on Research and Patient Involvement. Oli is also a director of Zespa Media, an independent TV production company and a consultant to Asset Match, an online peer-to-peer platform for trading shares in UK private companies. In addition, he acts as a consumer reviewer for Cochrane’s Cystic Fibrosis & Genetic Disorders Group and writes a regular column on CF research and the drug development pipeline for CFUnite.org, backed by The Wellcome Trust.

For the full article follow: http://www.pharmaphorum.com/articles/patient-perspectives-oli-rayner

Aseptika Limited (Activ8rlives) says: Oli’s work at the CF Trust in raising awareness among the patient community of the research projects and helping the Trust to engage people with Cystic Fibrosis to make sure their views are feed into every aspect of research, is vital. Putting the patient at the centre of healthcare, providing them with the information, the tools and ability to learn from the data available – becoming a “bit of a scientist” so as to understand how best to manage their CF is key.

Aseptika Limited (Activ8rlvies) is developing a home-based rapid and quantitative test for bacterial respiratory infections in patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). The trial also incorporated the use of the Company’s home telemetry system with which the CF volunteers measured their own lung and cardiovascular function, levels of physical activity and body composition. These data were uploaded by the patients themselves to their secure accounts on Activ8rlives without need for support from their clinical team.

This clinical trial has been completed with participating CF volunteers and the results and findings are expected to be made available in early 2014.

 

Online Health Monitoring Platform Activ8rlives Provides Answer to NICE Guidelines on Childhood Obesity

Aseptika Limited (Activ8rlives), Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK: The recent announcement of new NICE guidelines for the better management of weight and obesity among children and young people has been welcomed by a free online health tracking provider that is already helping its users to become healthier and more active.

Key to the new National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) public health guidance 47 on “Managing overweight and obesity among children and young people: lifestyle weight management services” is the recognition that childhood obesity is not currently being addressed in the long-term in England. Childhood rates of obesity are levelling off but remain high, with three in every ten children aged between 2 and 15 years being overweight or obese.

The NICE guidelines encourage both parents and children to self monitor from home, tracking their activity, meals, snacks, and sedentary behaviours. It is hoped that parents can better address unhealthy habits, encourage habitual activity and make better food choices for their children and themselves.

Activ8rlives can be used as a tool by weight management specialists employed by Local Authorities and the NHS, to implement programmes based on the guidance issued by NICE by:

  • Taking a whole family approach;
  • Empowering the family to understand their patterns of behaviour using a tool kit for self monitoring; and
  • Supporting the family to adopt the small and sustainable behavioural changes, which together make a long-term difference.

Activ8rlives provides its online tools for the whole family or other groups to track activity, body weight, food and drink consumption, with the ability to track up to 6 other specific parameters, which might include: laps of a swimming pool, hours spent watching TV, dress size, walks to school, packets of crisps, portions of fruit and vegetables, etc. This is all available within a safe and secure online environment in which members of private groups can share messages of encouragement and motivation, similar to Facebook but is closed to the public for the protection of children using the site under parental management.

The Company’s secure site has a simple infrastructure, which can also be used by healthcare providers to deliver lifestyle programmes by providing remote mentoring, and online monitoring (where an online coach helps the participant achieve their goals), encouragement and support once a family has undertaken a typical 8-12 week lifestyle training programme face-to-face.

This helps providers follow the NICE guidance by:

  • Providing long-term support after the programme (for the recommended 8-24 months);
  • Ongoing tracking and reporting of the success of the support programmes delivered; and
  • Being flexible and fitting around the work patterns of the family.

NICE regard interventional costs of up to £1,000 per child as reasonable, if there is a permanent reduction in Body Mass Index (BMI) of just 3%. However, reductions in BMI achieved during most programmes are reversed just 6 months after they have been completed. This investment is questionable if families are not provided with the tools needed to manage alone once the motivation provided by being part of a programme has ended and the support withdrawn – the support has to be maintained, even if at arm’s length.

If investments of up to £1,000 per child are to be considered good value for money, Local Authorities and the NHS need to embrace social media techniques alongside personal meetings, rather than rely only on traditional expensive face-to-face interactions. The need for meetings reduce with time, particularly once the learning from these programmes has been incorporated into family life. Communication using social media can then be used to maintain motivation and be promoted as a way of building participant-led and self-supporting communities online.

It is timely to consider doing things differently. Time to exploit the ubiquitous digital media that most of us now use in our personal lives, on Smartphones and Tablets. Time to move public health in the direction of the Government’s strategy of delivering services “Digitally by Default”. This is considerably less expensive for the provider to deliver, as well as being easier for the family with young children to manage and inexpensive to maintain long-term connection.

Activ8rlives has been created to enable this practise to be deployed and is already being used in this way.

We do, however, question NICE’s guidance that trained healthcare providers should have to weigh the participants enrolled on their lifestyle programmes on clinically validated weighing scales and should have to calculate BMIs for them during each contact they have thereafter.  We are surprised at the seemingly contradictory advice that self measured weight and height data should be discounted, while at the same time encouraging self reported food diaries and activity logs as a way of changing behaviour. Would it not have longer term benefits to teach us how to do ALL of this for ourselves using simple Smartphone Apps to do the maths, so that we become responsible for our behaviour patterns? Would it not be more cost effective to prescribe accurate consumer-level electronic weighing scales than to pay the salaries of healthcare workers to weigh us every week on clinically validated scales? Paraphrasing an old saying seems particularly apt: “Give us a fish and we can feed ourselves for a day, but give us a fishing rod (and teach us how to use it) and we can feed ourselves for life!” A classic approach of “see one, do one, teach one”,  to healthcare education can then take place within the family home. We urge continued consideration of whether it is better to pay our valuable healthcare workers to weigh us at every face-to-face meeting or whether it is more cost effective to teach us all of the technical skills we need so as to self manage our health and that of our families.

In summary, NICE’s guidance is a great beginning but has a long way to go if we are ever to transfer the technical skills from our healthcare workers to those they serve, so as to achieve lasting empowerment of the family in taking control of their health. If we are not taught these skills, how can we ever learn and make permanent changes?

If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we have always got. Perhaps it is time to think in different ways and to begin to use the low cost technologies that are with us at work, at home, that we wear and carry with us, alongside and as part of face-to-face education programmes?

 

- Ends -

 

For more information on Aseptika Ltd and Activ8rlives and products, please visit: http://www.activ8rlives.com and follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn .

 

Image:

Caption: Activ8rlives Family Health and Wellbeing system includes everything you need to work as a family to be more active and to maintain a healthy body weight.

 

Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.

About Activ8rlives

Activ8rlives provides tools for self monitoring with the ability to receive eMentoring from the family group, self-help groups or from clinical teams. The Company offers a range of health monitors, from activity trackers through to electronic “smart” scales, Smartphone Food Diary App to Peak Flow meters and Pulse Oximeters. The online communities combine empowerment through self monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Groups can be led by clinicians or used to provide one-to-one coaching, to improve clinical outcomes.

Users can track: physical activity, body measurements and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health, blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication and bacterial infection markers. Custom trackers such as: dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature – in fact anything that can be measured – can be created. Users can join groups of like-minded people or set up their own group to share their successes with family, friends or colleagues in a secure environment. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

 

For press information, please contact: 

Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Aseptika Ltd (Activ8rlives)

jessica.auton@aseptika.com 

Direct +44 (0)1480 352 821

Mobile +44 (0)7455 922 122

 

Activ8rlives Launches its POGO Indiegogo Crowd Funding Campaign at Droidcon London

October 21st, 2013, Aseptika Limited (Activ8rlives), Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK: Activ8rlives announces that it will be demonstrating its POGO device for the first time in public at the Droidcon London 2013 event and launching its Indiegogo campaign to create a Software Developer’s Kit.

POGO is a simple device that plugs into the headset socket of most Smartphones and Tablets that accept headsets with microphones. It allows these platforms to communicate with devices, which connect via USB or Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), even if the platform does not have Bluetooth LE capabilities.

In a world which is ever connected, the dream of being able to connect all devices wirelessly to your Smartphone or Tablet, or connect them directly to the Cloud is slowly being realised. Only the newest and higher priced Smartphones have the latest version of Bluetooth (called 4.0 or LE). None accept connection to devices that work with USB connectivity. However, USB devices are simple to use because there is no pairing and are relatively inexpensive, as they do not require expensive chips or licenses to use Bluetooth. Nevertheless, they do require a personal computer using either Windows desktop or Apple operating system and many consumers find that a Smartphone or Tablet does most of what they need.

We have developed the POGO, which stands for “Press Once and GO” to solve this particular problem. We make devices for people to self monitor their health and wellbeing. Many of these are certified as medical devices and are expensive to CE mark. To change everything over to a newer version of the device with built-in Bluetooth LE is expensive, as it requires device makers to repeat the registration process and inform the notified body under EU regulations. There are many devices that transfer information to and from PCs (Windows and Macs) via USB that are Class II medical devices for home monitoring, which is great if you still use a PC and have the necessary IT skills to operate them. But not everyone does.

So what if you do not have the best and latest Smartphone or Tablet and your device only communicates via Bluetooth LE? POGO is designed to solve this problem and it works with iOS (all versions), Android (all versions) and even Windows 8 phones.

We will be selling POGO as an accessory to our health self monitoring devices and will launch to the public after CE marking in February 2014. We are also offering POGO to the development community. And so we entered the competition organised by IC tomorrow (part of the Technology Strategy Board) to win a slot at Democamp at Droidcon London, the European Android event of the year, on the 24th October 2013. This is where we will announce the start of our Indiegogo campaign.

To fund the development of a kit suitable for use by third party developers, that is to create an Application Programming Interface (API), we are also launching our first crowd funding campaign. This is a way of raising finance in which small amounts of funding are invested by a lot of people who would like to access the technology.

POGO has now been fully developed and is currently in manufacture in the UK. We will ship to our customers for use with our devices in February 2014. It will be CE marked and ready to plug into our own App (Activ8rlives). To raise £5,000 via Indiegogo will allow us to develop an API for use with the application programmes (APPs) created by other developers. We plan to ship the developer’s API and POGO Developer Kit to Indiegogo investors in January 2014. Thereafter, we will make the API Developer Kit available for £499 (including VAT).

 

- Ends -

 

For more information on Aseptika Ltd and Activ8rlives and products, please visit: http://www.activ8rlives.com and follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn .

 

Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.

 

About Activ8rlives

Activ8rlives provides tools for self monitoring with the ability to receive eMentoring from the family group, self-help groups or from clinical teams. The Company offers a range of health monitors, from activity trackers through to electronic “smart” scales, Smartphone Food Diary App to Peak Flow meters and Pulse Oximeters. The online communities combine empowerment through self monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Groups can be led by clinicians or used to provide one-to-one coaching, to improve clinical outcomes.

Users can track: physical activity, body measurements and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health, blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication and bacterial infection markers. Custom trackers such as: dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature – in fact anything that can be measured – can be created. Users can join groups of like-minded people or set up their own group to share their successes with family, friends or colleagues in a secure environment. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

 

About IC tomorrow

IC tomorrow is a Technology Strategy Board programme that stimulates innovation and economic growth in the digital sector, by breaking down barriers and opening doors for a new generation of entrepreneurs.

The programme serves as a hub for digital innovation, connecting start-ups and SMEs with leading commercial partners and investors across the UK, through funded contests, events, strategic matchmaking and mentoring opportunities.

The IC tomorrow network is free to join and supports innovation across a variety of industry sectors including music, film, fashion, publishing, TV, education, games, culture, sport, advertising, healthcare and finance.

IC tomorrow runs a range of funded contests across the digital and creative sectors. These contests are run in collaboration with leading partners who help to set relevant contest challenges that will encourage innovation in new digital applications or services. Contest applicants can benefit from the funding that is awarded to successful companies to develop their proposed solutions and grow their businesses; gain from exposure to a range of leading content providers and rights holders; test their proposed application or service with those partner companies and organisations; promote their prototype solution via the IC tomorrow programme and retain their full intellectual property.

Find out more at IC tomorrow, follow @ICtomorrow on Twitter and find IC tomorrow on Facebook.

To contact the IC tomorrow team, please email support@ictomorrow.co.uk or phone 0300 321 4358.

 

About Droidcon London

Droidcon London is the largest android developer event in Europe, unveiling the best within the Android industry. Android and android based devices are changing the world we live in and Droidcon London is the place to get insider knowledge about bleeding edge industry developments from those actually crafting the code. The event, which will offer exceptional quality of speakers and participants and feature the latest innovations such as wearable technology, is being organised by Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc. (WIP) and Skills Matter with Novoda providing support as a strategic partner. Droidcon London will be held at London’s Business Design Centre from 24th-25th October and followed by a Best-of-the-Best weekend hackathon on the 26th and 27th October. London is home to the active buzz of the London Android User Group and so an ideal location to meet, learn, exchange information and do business. For more information go to http://uk.droidcon.com/2013/

 

For press information, please contact: 

 

Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Aseptika Ltd (Activ8rlives)

jessica.auton@aseptika.com 

Direct +44 (0)1480 352 821

Mobile +44 (0)7455 922 122

 

Aseptika Awarded UK Patent for Home Test for Lung Infections

Aseptika Limited, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK: Aseptika today announced that it has been granted a patent in the UK protecting its invention for a test for lung infections, designed to be used by patients at home and by clinicians at the bedside of patients in hospitals. With this new test, vulnerable patients with long-term conditions, such as Cystic Fibrosis (CF), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Asthma, can keep a check on their health by measuring the activity of pathogenic bacteria in their lungs with a simple test using a sample of sputum.

Many people with long-term respiratory problems get frequent flare-ups or exacerbations of the bacteria living in their lungs and with each event the lungs become damaged as a result of the inflammation that is caused. The key to preserving lung function is to keep fit and healthy, treat infections quickly and use the right antibiotic medicines for the current exacerbation. Over time, these exacerbations cause the loss of lung function and in the most extreme cases the only solution is a lung transplant.

One of the challenges is to quickly detect an exacerbation before it becomes too severe. This is where a home alert system could help patients with COPD and CF, who are often colonised with the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The Aseptika test can detect when this bacterium starts to flare out of control. In healthy people, this bacterium can be eradicated by treatment with antibiotics. Those with respiratory problems cannot get rid of it and it hides within the lungs awaiting some other event to trigger sudden multiplication, leading to serious harm for the patient. The Aseptika test detects how active the bacterium has become and whether another round of treatment is required.

The second challenge the test addresses is knowing when the infection is under control or whether the correct antibiotic medication been used. By following the levels of activity of the bacteria, it is hoped that clinicians will be able to decide whether an infection is under control after two days of treatment, rather than waiting seven days to see whether the treatment is effective. This means that different medication could be utilised if the first lacks efficacy. Pseudomonas aeruginosa can rapidly mutate once established in the lungs and there is no certainty that the medication that controlled the last exacerbation will be effective for the next one, even in the same patient.

Cystic fibrosis lungs

The Patent granted to Aseptika in the UK (Patent GB2494953), with worldwide applications taking place under the International Patent Treaty, tracks the presence of two very different materials (biomarkers) produced by the bacterium. The test is currently being used in a clinical trial with volunteers who have Cystic Fibrosis and it is hoped to make a home-use version available within two years.

The Aseptika test was a concept put forward to the NHS and the Technology Strategy Board as one of a number of solutions to help people with long-term conditions to stay well at home, under the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) programme. Funding was used by the Company to undertake an initial proof of concept, which was followed with a larger-scale trial with volunteers in the East of England. As part of this, the Company received support to file a patent application and undertake the process of steering its invention through the rigorous examination pathway by the UK’s Patent Office before being granted on the 25th September 2013. The process took two years to complete.

Karen Livingstone NHS England Director of SBRI and EAHSN Director of Industry Engagement commented, “This is great news for Aseptika and allows the Company to move forward with development knowing that its intellectual property has been protected. The SBRI funds support innovative organisations to develop new technologies that we will need to advance healthcare and for the UK to be a World leader in this field. We recognise that in holding the patent protection a company can build and grow its place in that global market and the SBRI scheme is keen to support business growth as well as resolving healthcare problems. In this particular call for solutions to help people stay well at home, we received 77 applications. Aseptika was one of 5 that were awarded the two phase contract.”

 

For more information on Aseptika Ltd and Activ8rlives and products, please visit: www.activ8rlives.com

 

- Ends -

 

Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.

 

About Activ8rlives

Activ8rlives provides tools for self monitoring with the ability to receive eMentoring from the family group, self-help groups or from clinical teams. The Company offers a range of health monitors, from activity trackers through to electronic “smart” scales, Smartphone Food Diary App to Peak Flow meters and Pulse Oximeters. The online communities combine empowerment through self monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Groups can be led by clinicians or used to provide one-to-one coaching, to improve clinical outcomes.

Users can track: physical activity, body measurements and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health, blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication and bacterial infection markers. Custom trackers such as: dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature – in fact anything that can be measured – can be created. Users can join groups of like-minded people or set up their own group to share their successes with family, friends or colleagues in a secure environment. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

 

Health Enterprise East (HEE)

Health Enterprise East Limited (HEE) is the NHS Innovation Hub for the East of England, and assists with accelerating the development and uptake of innovative MedTech products and services that improve the quality of healthcare delivery.

We are committed to improving healthcare through supporting the development of innovative new products and services, which meet the needs of the NHS. This work was commissioned by the Management Board of SBRI East and funded by NHS East of England, the European Regional Development Fund and the Technology Strategy Board. The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) are not necessarily that of the funding partners.

 

Eastern Academic Health Science Network (EAHSN)

The EAHSN proposes to bring together universities, hospitals, mental health services, primary care, clinical commissioning groups, public health, social care, the voluntary sector and industry, translating world-class research into improved patient care, thus driving economic growth.

The EAHSN aims to be an energised, proactive and non-hierarchical organisation, working across four large, established biomedical and clinical communities, with a clear commitment to drive sustainable improvements, through partners with a track record of excellence in research, teaching and education, health services and industry.

 

 

 

For press information, please contact:       

 

Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Aseptika Ltd (Activ8rlives)

jessica.auton@aseptika.com 

Direct +44 (0)1480 352 821

Mobile +44 (0)7455 922 122

 

 

Managing Recurrent Chest Infections: Life as an Asthmatic

I would like to share some insights I have gained recently about self monitoring my lung health, in the hope that others may find it useful.

I have mild asthma, which developed in my late teens. Mostly it does not bother me or stop me from doing any activity when I take my prescribed medication. All is fine, that is until I get a cold or flu-like symptoms.

Typically, I tough through the sore throat and muscle aches, with pain killers and just keep going. But within 7 days, what was a sore throat and felt “viral”, would turn into a chest infection and become “bacterial”. This required the usual pilgrimage to our Health Centre after incessant nagging from my wife, an examination with a GP and a course of Amoxicillin, which kills off the infection after about 2-4 days. It would then take a further 2 weeks to get my cough under control and even longer to get my energy back. The total process is typically 4-6 weeks, which leaves me feeling exhausted.

At Activ8rlives we have been working closely with our volunteers with Cystic Fibrosis who have been testing the Activ8rlives technologies. I started using our own Peak Flow meter to “road test” it before it was supplied to our volunteers. This proved interesting. My Peak Flow (expelled air) and FEV1 (measure of lung function) were pretty good for my age and weight. When I took my asthma medication the scores improved by about 15% within 1 hour. I was intrigued.

So I started monitoring my Peak Flow and FEV1 daily, as all asthmatics are supposed to, and started seeing the cause and effect of taking my medication in the prescribed way. Losing weight has also really helped me, with more room for my lungs as my visceral area is not full of fat and I am exercising on a daily basis. I started to see the connections and realised that taking my medication was a good thing to do, rather than a chore. I also discovered that when I went to London on business, my lung function dropped dramatically, perhaps explaining why I always felt so tired when I returned home after trips to the city – pollution perhaps exacerbating asthma symptoms.
In March 2013 I had a nasty cold and the usual pattern of infection ensued. I watched in horror as my lung function fell 20%, which was really noticeable on the Activ8rlives charts. Presented with the data, my GP agreed that antibiotics were needed despite not hearing chest sounds of infection. My usual recovery process ensued albeit a bit faster as I was fitter and healthier than in prior years.

Our lungs, like our intestines, are a complex and balanced ecosystem of bacteria that is necessary for our health. Asthmatics tend to accumulate mucus in their lungs and this gunk is a great breeding ground for bacteria.

What follows from this is: “Why does a “viral” infection turn into a “bacterial” infection in my lungs? Are the bacteria opportunistic and get a foothold because my system is off balance or are they always there lurking in the biofilm waiting for an opportunity to go crazy when I am at low ebb because of the viral infection? Who knows?”

Perhaps Next Generation DNA sequencing of the genomes of the bacteria in my lungs will give me the answer in the future as it is doing for people with Cystic Fibrosis. That would be cool but for the moment at least, this is a recurrent pattern that I have been through most of my adult life and it is tiring for me and my family, costly on the NHS and my Company.

Last week I picked up the usual “change in season” sore throat and decided to do something different. As the saying goes “if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!” So this time, rather than trying to be macho and tough my way through it, I decided to carefully monitor myself AND really look after myself. I measured my lung function and upped my asthma medication to maintain performance levels. I rested during the day, went to bed early and really mollycoddled myself to give my body every chance to deal with the viral infection, without letting the bacterial infection get started. Admittedly, I had to endure the taunts from my family about suffering from man flu, but one week later I am on the mend. My energy is returning and I have no chest infection. I still feel a bit wiped out and tired but I have no chest infection and it meant that my recovery was faster by weeks.

Would this have been the outcome if I had done what I always did? Who can tell, but I am relieved not to have to go through the pain of weeks of coughing all night and the month long recovery that follows every bout of infection. Equally, I was desperate to avoid having to take steroids to reduce the inflammation of my lungs in their response to the infection.

Insight gained: Talk with your doctor and take their advice. If you are asthmatic, measure and monitor your Peak Flow and FEV1 daily. Learn for yourself how your medications work and how they work for you. While you are well, see what happens to your lung function with and without your medication and learn from the insights you gain. Keep yourself in the best shape possible and this means being active every day, eating well, maintaining a healthy body weight – all of these are deposits in the health bank. And if, like me, you suffer from recurrent chest infections, you never know when you need to make a withdrawal from your health bank to prevent a bit of “man flu” turning into a nasty lung infection that takes weeks to recover from.

 

 

Self monitoring in sports health: Using data collected at home to help an amateur athlete prevent a lung infection from becoming serious

Aseptika Limited, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK: Steve (age 34) is a triathlete who takes his training and preparation for this demanding sport seriously. He trains up to 6 times a week and on average spends around 2-3 hours swimming, cycling or running each day.

Steve is a member of RacingTNT Triathlon Team in Sheffield and regularly competes in competitions in his spare time around the UK and supports young people wanting to take up this sport.

Part of the training and competition is to take part in open water swims, usually in lakes or reservoirs. While exhilarating, athletes like Steve can suffer health problems as a result of infections acquired during exposure to these water sources. Everyday bacteria like Pseudomonas aeruginosa and E. coli exist in nature and under some circumstances, can be contracted by swimmers.

Steve had a history of mild asthma when he was young and no longer needs to take medication for the condition, but has suffered occasional ear and chest infections following other open water swims.

As part of his very strict regime of nutrition and health management for sports, Steve has been tracking his lung function, using the Activ8rlives Peak Flow meter, which measures the capacity and performance of the lungs. There are two parameters measured: rate at which air can be expelled by our lungs (Peak Flow) and the rate of expiration at the one second point (FEV1) after the blowout into the small reader has started. Together, these parameters can be used to compare the performance of our lungs against average values for our gender, age and weight and can be tracked over time to see how well we are.

By regularly measuring his Peak Flow, Steve identified a significant decrease in function of 15% after a recent swim in open water and while he did not feel unwell, he was concerned that he may have picked up another chest infection. He was examined by his GP who could not detect any signs of the chest sounds that are usually associated with lung infections, but after reviewing Steve’s self monitored data, was sufficiently concerned to prescribe a course of oral antibiotics. GPs only prescribe antibiotics now in cases where they believe there can be a clear benefit to the patient, because over use has led to a generation of resistance in these everyday bacteria.

Following the prescribed course of medication, Steve’s Peak Flow and FEV1 increased and returned to their former values, indicating complete recovery of lung function.

“I have to admit that I was very pleased that my GP listened to me and valued my approach to self monitoring at home,” explained Steve. While I felt OK, my chest did feel a bit tight but at that stage it was very mild. When I saw the decreased values I was recording at home and tracking on the Activ8rlives website, it gave me the confidence to ask for an examination by my GP and the evidence I shared helped her make what turned out to be a good decision for me. Early treatment with antibiotics rather than just waiting to see how I got on probably prevented a full blown infection developing, which takes months to get over. The summer is a busy time because this is when all of the triathlon events are organised and I didn’t want to miss any. When I am competing, I can’t afford to get sick.”

For more information on Aseptika Ltd and Activ8rlives and products, please visit: www.activ8rlives.com

 - Ends -

 Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.

 About Activ8rlives

Activ8rlives provides tools for self monitoring with the ability to receive eMentoring from the family group, self help groups or from clinical teams. The Company offers a range of health monitors, from step counters through to electronic “smart” scales, smartphone food diary apps to peak flow meters and pulse oximeters. The online communities combine empowerment through self monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Groups can be led by clinicians or used to provide one to one coaching, to improve clinical outcomes.

Users can track: physical activity, body measurements and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health, blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication and bacterial infection markers. Custom trackers such as: dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature – in fact anything that can be measured – can be created. Users can join groups of like-minded people or set up their own group to share their successes with family, friends or colleagues in a secure environment. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

 

Caption 1: Steve a 34 year old triathlete who self monitors his sports health via the Activ8rlives.com website taking daily measurements with a Peak Flow meter, which measures the capacity and performance of his lung function.

 

 

Big Data: We need to use technology to get smarter about care

Using data can help develop a fuller understanding of individuals and the factors affecting their social and physical health

(Excerpts from Dan Pelino, Guardian Professional, Friday 31 May 2013)

Everywhere in the world, health and social care is getting bigger – more patients, more caregivers, more facilities, more drugs, more cost. Healthcare spending alone is already a large percentage of the economy in most of Europe. It’s 12% of GDP in the Netherlands and more than 11% of GDP in France and Germany. In the US healthcare consumes 17% of GDP.

Unless we want to further disrupt already fragile national economies, it’s time for us to get smarter about care. Moving from aspiration to reality requires an approach to care where the focus is on the individual. Care isn’t just about the doctor’s office or intensive care unit, nor is it just about face-to-face relationships between patient and doctor. It’s about everything that affects the patient, from age to work history to neighbourhood to social relationships.

Information and data gathered by all healthcare stakeholders (e.g. Doctors, Hospitals, Pharmaceutical companies, Public Health, and Social workers, is scattered in various databases and departments, making it hard to achieve a holistic picture of the patient. Healthcare organisations can magnify their impact on individual health by dealing with issues beyond office visits and hospitalisations.

There’s an opportunity to dramatically improve the care ecosystem, making it more efficient, by applying analytics to data generated at every point in the care cycle. This phenomenon, known as big data, would develop a fuller understanding of individuals and the factors affecting their social and physical health.

Innovation makes it possible to coordinate smarter care that is focused on treating the individual, rather than just reacting to a health crisis. That offers the potential of both improving care and controlling the seemingly inexorable rise in spending.

Activ8rlives says: With a £20B efficiency saving required by the NHS in the next year and an anticipated £30B shortfall in NHS budget, it is time to employ technology to join up the health carers with the individual at the centre of their care. Self monitoring of long-term health conditions could provide one piece of the puzzle, with the added benefit of empowering individuals to change their unhealthy lifestyle habits that may lead to later onset of disease and/or reduce the burden on the NHS.

How technology can tackle long-term health challenges

(Excerpts from Matthew Swindells, Guardian Professional, Monday 29 April 2013)

Britain, as do most Western countries, face long-term health challenges from demographic and lifestyle change. Developed countries around the world are grappling with a rise in chronic conditions associated with adverse trends in diet, exercise and obesity. There is a widespread recognition that health systems should intervene earlier to prevent the development of chronic conditions.

What is less understood is the role of technology in turning the theory into reality. Evidence from other countries can be extrapolated to the UK, and tells us that information must be at the heart of efforts to drive more intelligent, affordable care.

The economic reality that underpins the need for change is obvious. Left unchecked, public health trends will place an unsustainable strain on health budgets. Research published by the Lancet in August 2011 showed that the UK is on track to have an extra 11 million obese adults by 2030.

The consequences of this are stark; an obese woman is almost 13 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, more than four times likely to develop high blood pressure and more than three times likely to have a heart attack than a woman at a healthy weight. This represents a personal tragedy for those affected, and an unsustainable financial burden for the NHS.

Politicians and industry figures recognise that in responding to the challenge, Britain needs to change when and where it intervenes to deliver health.

From a case study undertaken at a US Health Insurance Company, one key lesson was that people have to be empowered by technology to manage their own health with a personal health portal for employees that gives staff the tools they need to understand their health information and respond to it.

The evidence shows that putting people in charge of their health delivers results. Between 2007 and 2010, 80% of a consistent cohort of more than 2,800 employees maintained or reduced their number of health risk factors. When this Healthcare Insurance Company challenged their staff to a weight loss challenge in 2011, 1,865 employees took part, losing 22,000 pounds.

These sorts of initiatives, using technology to identify health trends and change lifestyles, could be replicated in the UK by forward-thinking CCGs (clinical commissioning groups) and Health and Wellbeing Boards. If such an approach was applied nationally, Britain could start to address the trend figures for chronic lifestyle problems now, before they become tragedies for the individuals and a financial headache for the state.

Making preventive health a reality won’t be an easy job. It requires significant investment, clinical leadership and patient support. In an NHS facing short-term targets, it is all too easy to defer long-term challenges. But while tempting for managers trying to balance the books in this financial year, deferral only exacerbates the long-term problem.

Activ8rlives says: With the advent of the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s) in the NHS, there is an opportunity to take a fresh look at the long-term challenge of transforming where and how care is delivered. Technology innovation can help to drive the process, with information identifying risks and putting individuals at the centre of their long-term health and wellness, whilst improving care and providing it at an affordable cost.

More about Activ8rlives

Activ8rlives provides tools for self-monitoring with the ability to receive eMentoring from the family group, self-help groups or from clinical teams. The Company offers a range of health monitors, from step counters through to electronic “smart” scales, smartphone food diary apps to peak flow meters and pulse oximeters. The online communities combine empowerment through self-monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Groups can be led by clinicians or used to provide one to one coaching, to improve clinical outcomes.

Users can track: physical activity, body measurements and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health, blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication and bacterial infection markers. Custom trackers such as: dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature – in fact anything that can be measured – can be created. Users can join groups of like-minded people or set up their own group to share their successes with family, friends or colleagues in a secure environment. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

The tectonic plates of healthcare are moving

Source: Dick Vinegar, the Patient from Hell, on the delicate path that the new chair of the General Practitioners Committee. Source: Guardian Professional, Monday 2 September 2013

Doctors leader, Chaand Nagpaul, has a difficult path to tread in these times of radical change. Photograph: Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty ImagesDoctors leader, Chaand Nagpaul, has a difficult path to tread in these times of radical change. Photograph: Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty Images

Commenting on my open letter to the new chair of the GPC, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, David Cruise asks: “Could you clarify what it is you want. You call both for change and for continuity, for a return back in time and for a step into modernity.” I confess that my call for a return to the old days of GPs taking responsibility for out of hours service might have sounded a shade retro. But I can assure you that the way I see general practice developing is quite radical, and there will be little room for GPs who want to carry on in the old way. I hope that Dr Nagpaul sees it the same way.

The tectonic plates of healthcare are moving, whether individual clinicians like it or not. Patients are getting older and more demanding and the younger ones are adopting ever unhealthier lifestyles. Hospitals will be reconfigured, A&E departments will be “consolidated” (i.e. closed). Drop-in centres will spring up; the private sector will come up with innovative ideas (mixed in with dollops of snake-oil). Social care and general practice will converge. GPs will have to learn new skills, like diplomacy and how to work with other people, to cope with it all. Their lives will be turned upside down, but they must stop harking back to a golden age where doctors were respected and patients knew their place. Dr Nagpaul has to show real leadership to point his unruly members forwards not backwards. Then there is the pressure of money (saving £30bn) and time. On one side, Dr Nagpaul will have to fight like a tiger to win the funding and resources needed to cope with the new pressures and new responsibilities. But on the other side, he will have to persuade doctors to see what they can do to use money more effectively. That will be an uphill struggle.

Forgive me if I give a trivial instance of waste that I experienced this week. A junior member of my GP practice asked me to come in to get a blood-pressure reading from the sister. I told him that I took my blood-pressure regularly at home. He pooh-poohed me, insisting that I come in, which I did obediently, to find that the sister’s reading was the same as my home reading. To me, that was a waste of NHS resources, albeit a tiny one and a waste of my time. Not only that, he was going against the stated policy of the NHS to make patients more involved in their own care.

And that is another challenge for GPs. They have to get patients to involve themselves in their own treatments, and, hopefully, to persuade patients to avoid unhealthy lifestyles. And to understand their own patient records, which they should do by 2015, when the government wants patient records to become accessible to patients.

There is another challenge for Dr Nagpaul. Healthcare technology is moving fast, but GPs – and clinicians in general – have historically been obstructive. In these columns, I have often deplored the lack of email between doctor and patient, when the rest of the world uses email pervasively. When I see how dependent my GP is on my electronic patient record (EPR), I am shocked that out of hours practitioners are not given access to the GPs’ records. This is a recipe for inappropriate treatment. And similarly, the opposition by clinicians on doctor/patient confidentiality grounds, to the summary care record, seemed to me to delay the adoption of electronic patient records by five or more years. Some senior doctors are currently trying to rubbish telehealth, without realising the benefits.

IT people get mad ideas from time to time, and need a restraining hand, and there are security problems with EPRs, but it is up to clinicians to engage with IT people to sort them out in pursuit of the greater good. Dr Nagpaul must somehow persuade GPs to engage positively with technology. He must get a new generation of young IT leads to help him. Everybody under the age of 35 is a digital native nowadays. And older GPs should get some training.

Dr Nagpaul, in a letter to GPs last week, wrote: “Now, more than ever, we must make the case for general practice to show how remarkably effective, and cost-effective, it is. I will aim to forge a renewed relationship with government, demonstrating how investing in general practice is key to managing escalating pressures in an NHS increasingly beleaguered by austerity measures.” Indeed, but I hope he realises his task is bigger than that. It is to drag his members, kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

This article is published by Guardian Professional. Join the Healthcare Professionals Network to receive regular emails and exclusive offers. http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2013/sep/02/chaand-nagpaul-general-practitioners-committee-chair

Activ8rlives says: We fully support this journalist who regularly self monitors their own blood pressure at home. They are empowered and have become self educated by understanding their own health and wellness – definitely not a ‘patient from hell’!

The importance of self monitoring to achieve optimal health may prevent the occurrence and severity of some chronic diseases, reduce premature death and improve the quality of life, and in so doing this could substantially reduce each individuals burden on the NHS budget.

We believe that alongside the excellent multidisciplinary support and education from professionals we need to become empowered to adjust our own behaviour to achieve a healthier and active lifestyle. When we feel empowered to change our lifestyle and adopt a healthy and active way of life our energy and stamina increases, we get fewer coughs and colds, we feel great and generally our mood is lifted and we feel a lot happier – all of which improve our overall health and wellness. This in turn reduces our demand on GPs, who after all act as the gate keepers to healthcare and huge budgets that fund our NHS operation. Surely a Win/Win?

 

Staying well in retirement by self monitoring: How Sandra supports Ron to be active every day

Being active throughout our lives is one of the best investments we can make in our health, especially as we get older. Dementia, Alzheimer’s, loss of cognitive function as well as long term conditions such as: diabetes, heart disease and cancer are all diminished or held at bay if we stay busy and keep our levels of physical activity high.

Sandra and Ron have taken the initiative to do just that and use the technique of self monitoring to ensure that they remain well in their retirement.

Sandra helps Ron (80 years old) to be active by monitoring the number of steps he takes every day with the Activ8rlives system. They have gained insights and valuable lessons by self monitoring and this is helping them in their planning. Ron and Sandra spend the winter months in Malta and the summer in the UK. Sandra immediately noticed that Ron’s daily levels of activity were influenced by the climate and day length. During their time in Malta, Ron typically achieves 12,000 steps per day (about 90-100 minutes of activity a day – excellent for anyone of any age) but as soon as he returns to the UK in March, his activity levels decrease by 50%. This gradually increases again as the days become warmer and the day length increases as the UK’s “summer” arrives.

By working together and through self monitoring, Sandra and Ron have learned about their activity patterns and are working on simple ways to make small changes during colder weather to ensure they remain active. Ron is well on his way to achieving a Gold Medal with Activ8rlives, which means he would have completed 175 days of doing 10,000 steps a day, which equates to about 80+ minutes of walking for Ron on each of those days.

Sandra explained: “When Ron goes to the out of town supermarket he always parks far away from the entrance so he has a good walk and the same when he is in town, he will park in side streets away from the town centre and walk into town. If the weather is fine he will walk down to get the newspapers instead of using the car. It all helps!” And saves on parking charges too!  When it is colder, he has taken to walking around the indoor shopping mall to get his step count up.

Few developed societies around the world have tackled the magnitude of the problem of long term care of the elderly. With increased longevity the burden of long term health conditions and disabilities will fall increasingly to informal care.

The KPMG’s report: An Uncertain Age: re-imagining long-term care in the 21st century, argues that an ageing population coupled with greater geographical mobility, means that a reduction in family support is becoming a reality.

With long term care being highly labour intensive, embracing the use of technology should bring significant efficiencies and improved quality of life for the elderly: “Health monitors are especially useful for people with cognitive and physical disabilities as carers and health professionals can monitor vital functions and detect emergency conditions and developing diseases at an early stage.”

Richard Humphries a Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund commented within the report, “Telecare is just taking off. There is more evidence now about its benefits in terms of keeping people out of hospital, keeping people independent and the prices are now coming down. We need to shift to a model where people can buy these Telecare products themselves.”

Activ8lives says: If we are as active as Ron when we are 80 years of age, we will be very pleased with ourselves. Research studies consistently demonstrate that being active in later life and in retirement delays dementia and other conditions associated with old age – much more so than doing brain training exercises or the crossword every day. It also helps us to control our existing health conditions that we tend to develop as each of us gets older. This case study also shows how people of all ages can learn to use self monitoring techniques for themselves and can use this to adjust their daily routine so as to defend themselves against illness. This does not require healthcare professionals to be monitoring us all the time – most of us can monitor ourselves if we have the tools available and we are taught how to use them.

Keep it going Ron and Sandra – what a great example to us all.

For more information on Aseptika Ltd and Activ8rlives and products, please visit: www.activ8rlives.com

 - Ends -

 Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.

 

About Activ8rlives

Activ8rlives provides tools for self-monitoring with the ability to receive eMentoring from the family group, self-help groups or from clinical teams. The Company offers a range of health monitors, from step counters through to electronic “smart” scales, smartphone food diary apps to peak flow meters and pulse oximeters. The online communities combine empowerment through self-monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Groups can be led by clinicians or used to provide one to one coaching, to improve clinical outcomes.

Users can track: physical activity, body measurements and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health, blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication and bacterial infection markers. Custom trackers such as: dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, and runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature – in fact anything that can be measured – can be created. Users can join groups of like-minded people or set up their own group to share their successes with family, friends or colleagues in a secure environment. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

 

Caption 1: Retirees Sandra and Ron keep active every day to maintain their health and wellness.

 

 

Caption 2: Ron’s (aged 80) daily step count during the winter months in Malta is always higher than his step count during his return to the UK, partly because of the shorter day length and cooler temperatures in the UK. Ron and Sandra are working hard to adjust this now that they have identified this pattern.

For press information, please contact: 

Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Aseptika Ltd (Activ8rlives)

jessica.auton@aseptika.com

Direct +44 (0)1480 352 821

Mobile +44 (0)7455 922 122

Monitor Me Documentary 2013 BBC Horizon

Dr Kevin Fong explores a medical revolution that promises to help us live longer, healthier lives. Inspired by the boom in health-related apps and gadgets, it is all about novel ways we can monitor ourselves around the clock. How we exercise, how we sleep, even how we sit. Some doctors are now prescribing apps the way they once prescribed pills. Kevin meets the pioneers of this revolution. From the England Rugby 7s team, whose coach knows more about his players’ health than a doctor would, to the most monitored man in the world who diagnosed a life threatening disease from his own data, without going to the doctor. Published on Aug 13, 2013

To view the documentary follow this link to YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orz9R5W8AYA

 

Provocative article by The Guardian – GPs continue to do battle with the government over telehealth

A provocative article by The Guardian Healthcare Network raise some interesting points about Telehealth. We particularly support the comment “Telehealth is an opportunity to improve people’s understanding of their own health, give them a greater voice in decisions … and perhaps most importantly encourage them to be less dependent on meeting clinical staff” #Activ8rlives http://bit.ly/17gY3VO

Some People Will Walk to the Ends of the Earth to Stay Fit and Healthy

Activ8rlives A8 Support Group completes its first global challenge and walks Pole-to-Pole via the Americas.

The Activ8rlives A8 Support Group, established in May 2012, is a team of people from all over the World who work together online, to share their stories of success and failures, in our mission to be more active, eat well and stay healthy.

Using the spectacular 3D imagery from Google EarthTM, the group followed a route from the North Pole, via Canada, down through the USA via Route I95, taking in Boston, New York, Washington DC, before heading to Florida, into the Caribbean and then on through South America. We took a detour via the Falkland Islands before trekking to the South Pole, a route of 16,891 miles.

Each person recorded the number of steps they took using Activ8rlives Buddy step counters or entered their step count in manually. Each step was added to the group total and daily progress to the final destination was made. No one can see the contribution of the other members in the group, just the daily averages achieved by the group, which increased steadily throughout the journey. The average step count for the group increased from 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day, a 30% increase in activity on average (Caption 2) – a great step towards being habitually active.

Along the way, others joined in, some just to watch and others actively shared their experiences and provided encouragement to new members. Each member has their own avatar image and online name, with members such as:  Bulldog, Jo, flyfifer, Lornamary, Fe, ZhooZhoo and SwanFan and many others all making a contribution. The group attracted over 200 new users from around the globe, all curious about how to have fun, give support and track our activity patterns.

Anyone can create their own routes in any part of the world within Activ8rlives.com. The creator of the Adventure simply decides where they want to start their journey and where they want to set their final destination. The creator can add waypoints and plan the route, adding interesting facts and pictures along the way.

The creator of the Pole-to-Pole Adventure, Kevin Auton (Founder of Activ8rlives) commented: “I really was not at all certain that we would ever do enough walking together, with people we have not met. To have achieved this feat is outstanding. It is quite amazing that people from all over joined in, added their steps and contributed to this journey. With it comes a sense of community. Everyone was very supportive and welcoming. We may now trek through Africa using a route created by one of the group members. This was researched carefully to include some of this continent’s greatest natural and human geographies. I have never been to Africa and it would be lovely to go one day, but this is the next best thing.”

Being physically active is now a public health issue for all countries in the developed and developing economies. Research from the University of Bristol found that 80% of adults failed to meet the government target of taking moderate exercise at least 12 times in a four-week period. More affluent and better educated adults were most likely to exercise, while the less affluent and least educated were most likely to be inactive. The study analysed exercise data for more than a million adults in England.

In an interview for the BBC, Carol Propper, Professor of Economics at the University of Bristol Centre for Market and Public Organisation, said: “Physical inactivity is the most important modifiable health behaviour for chronic disease, so knowing who is physically inactive is important for designing cost-effective policy interventions.” She went on to say that the findings suggest that “financial as well as cultural barriers need to be overcome to reduce the prevalence of physical inactivity.”

Health problems associated with being overweight or obese cost the UK’s NHS more than £5 billion every year (Gov.uk) – about 5% of our current national debt in the UK.

Activ8rlives.com is a free website and no purchase is required to join the site or the Activ8rlives Support Group, which is open to all. Members will require a step counter (pedometer), which may be purchased for as little as £2.99 (US$5). The Company’s own activity tracker, the Buddy step counter, uploads the steps data to the website via a Windows or iOS PC and retails at £34.95 (US$53) from Amazon.

For information about our schools and colleges programme to help young people who have disengaged from sports, learn how to become habitually active in their lives, please contact us for more information: info@activ8rlives.com

For more information on Aseptika Ltd and Activ8rlives and products, please visit: www.activ8rlives.com

 - Ends -

 Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.

 

About Activ8rlives

Activ8rlives provides tools for self-monitoring with the ability to receive eMentoring from the family group, self-help groups or from clinical teams. The Company offers a range of health monitors, from step counters through to electronic “smart” scales, smartphone food diary apps to peak flow meters and pulse oximeters. The online communities combine empowerment through self-monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Groups can be led by clinicians or used to provide one to one coaching, to improve clinical outcomes.

Users can track: physical activity, body measurements and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health, blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication and bacterial infection markers. Custom trackers such as: dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature – in fact anything that can be measured – can be created. Users can join groups of like-minded people or set up their own group to share their successes with family, friends or colleagues in a secure environment. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

 

Caption 1: Pole-to-Pole route walked by the Activ8rlives A8 support group – over 16,000 miles walked by the group in 15 months.

 

Caption 2: Average daily step count for the group. The average increased from 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day. If everyone increased their daily activity quota, the UK’s NHS could save £billions per year in the treatment of preventable diseases. Low incomes and leaving education early (especially 16-19 years of age) are linked with low levels of physical activity.

 

For press information, please contact: 

Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Aseptika Ltd (Activ8rlives)

jessica.auton@aseptika.com

Direct +44 (0)1480 352 821

 

WHO policy summary “Physical activity promotion in socially disadvantaged groups”

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Europe has released an important policy summary entitled “Physical activity promotion in socially disadvantaged groups: Principles for action”, which presents the main conclusions of EU projects and provides suggestions for national and local action on interventions and policy formulation to support physical activity in socially disadvantaged groups.

Summary

The effects on health of obesity, inadequate nutrition and insufficient physical activity have been documented in detail and result in lower health outcomes such as cardiovascular diseases and hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cancer and depression. The European Charter on Counteracting Obesity (WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2006) recommends linking actions against obesity to overall strategies addressing non-communicable diseases and health promotion activities, acknowledging that both improved diet and higher levels of physical activity have a substantial impact on public health. Since the adoption of the Charter, physical activity has increasingly been recognized as a priority for public health policy. In response, many Member States have embarked on policy development and interventions supporting an increase in levels of physical activity in the population. WHO has provided direct input to the development of evidence-based policies through the production of guidance, tools and platforms for networking to support interventions that facilitate physical activity throughout all the settings of daily life.

Reflecting this requirement, the WHO European policy framework for health and wellbeing, Health 2020 (WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2012), not only focuses on health promotion and disease prevention but highlights the reduction of inequalities and the creation of supportive environments.

A public health challenge

This WHO report states that the health effects of physical activity go well beyond preventing overweight and obesity; it also improves physical and mental wellbeing. Evidence shows that heart disease and type 2 diabetes can be reduced by up to 50% and significant reductions can be achieved for hypertension and some forms of cancer. Furthermore, physical activity helps to reduce stress reactions, anxiety and depression.

Inactivity has been estimated to contribute to a mortality burden comparable with tobacco smoking.

It has been estimated that within the WHO European Region, almost one million deaths per year are attributable to insufficient physical activity. In many countries, therefore, physical inactivity is now considered one of the major causes of death.

A variety of studies around the world have shown that physical activity levels tend to be low in socially disadvantaged groups (SdG). The earlier in life that young people leave education, the less likely they are to engage in regular exercise (Figure 1). WHO report that it can be very difficult to promote physical activity in such population groups.

“Public health agencies have been identified as key actors in action terms. They have been requested to ensure that strategies to reduce inequalities in physical activity are implemented, in addition to organizing general physical activity promotion campaigns addressing the whole population. Guidance on good practice and policy formulation on targeted approaches is needed to address the existing inequalities in physical activity among diverse population subgroups and to successfully promote physical activity in SdG.

Activ8rlives says: We welcome the WHO support of physical activity and the recommendations that these initiatives bring. This report states that physical inactivity is now one of the major causes of death.

There are clearly major inequalities in young disadvantaged groups, in which a lack of involvement in physical activity will set the stage for their future unhealthy lifestyle.

Changing our behaviour to an active lifestyle does not have to take a lot of additional time or cost a lot of money. Often it is about very small changes which we introduce into our day and these can make a big difference. Being mindful of our activity levels is a key first step. When people of all ages and backgrounds start using our Buddy step counter and dedicated group-focused website and Smartphone apps, most are surprised to discover how little activity they undertake during the day or how their activity varies throughout the week. With this greater awareness, our activity increases with small and easy additions to our daily routine and these subtle changes bring significant health benefits. Behaviour change occurs one day at a time, one step at a time!

For more information about how schools, colleges, health workers and parents can use Activ8rlives with groups of young people of all abilities and from all backgrounds, please contact Jessica Auton at jessica.auton@aseptika.com For the WHO summary report please follow this link http://bit.ly/13bj4t8

Activity and healthy diet helps prevent chronic disease

In a recently updated position paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, they report mounting evidence from decades of research, which demonstrates that many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, are preventable through lifestyle modification. Health promotion and disease prevention (HPDP) efforts are imperative for delaying premature death, improving quality of life, and lessening the economic burden on the healthcare system. A healthy lifestyle is a cornerstone of these efforts.

They suggest that registered dietitians and dietetic technicians are uniquely qualified in clinical settings but as part of a multidisciplinary effort. The updated paper entitled “Practice Paper of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: The Role of Nutrition in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention” was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and published on the Academy’s website at: www.eatright.org/positions.

Activ8rlives says: This review of research shows that a healthy lifestyle, good nutritional habits and being active are keys to achieving optimal health, which may prevent the occurrence and severity of some chronic diseases, reduce premature death and improve the quality of life.

We believe that alongside the excellent multidisciplinary support and education from professionals we need to become empowered to adjust our own behaviour to achieve a healthier and active lifestyle.

This is not an overnight change. It takes time and we frequently fail along the way – that is normal. When we feel empowered to change our lifestyle and adopt a healthy and active way of life our energy and stamina increases, we get fewer coughs and colds, we feel great and are generally a lot happier.

So we take it one step at a time. Activ8rlives provides its members with the tools for self-monitoring their health and wellness at home. We draw on the motivational support of our groups – others help us because they want us to succeed. By helping us, they are actually reminding themselves (being mindful) of what they need to do to help themselves. Every day is a new opportunity for us to change for the better.

Four top lifestyle changes to reduce risk of death by 80 percent

Source: American Journal of Epidemiology, June 3, 2013 (United Press International)

US researchers say that the top four lifestyle changes that prevent heart disease are: the Mediterranean diet, exercise, normal weight and not smoking.

Dr. Haitham Ahmed and colleagues at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at Johns Hopkins, found that by adopting these four lifestyle behaviours protect against coronary heart disease, as well as the early buildup of calcium deposits in heart arteries. They found the changes reduce the chance of death from all causes by 80 percent over an eight-year period.

Data was evaluated from more than 6,200 men and women, ages 44-84, from white, African-American, Hispanic and Chinese backgrounds. The study followed this group for an average of 7.6 years. Those who adopted all four healthy behaviours had an 80 percent lower death rate over that time period compared to participants which adopted none of the healthy behaviours.

Activ8rlives says: These findings of links between healthy or low-risk lifestyle factors, such as smoking cessation, losing weight, being habitually active, adopting a healthier Mediterranean diet, are early signposts for all of us to improve our heart health and longevity of life. The protective aspects of changing to a healthier lifestyle can make a difference to our health outcomes – this is within our grasp and gift.

Why obese women should not skip breakfast

Source: EndocrineToday, June 2013

At the recent ENDO 2013 conference in San Francisco, Elizabeth A. Thomas, MD, an endocrinology fellow and instructor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Anschutz Medical Campus, said “In obese women, skipping breakfast results in acute relative insulin resistance and elevated levels of free fatty acids.” “It’s possible that insulin resistance over time may predispose patients to further metabolic derangements and possibly progression to type 2 diabetes.”

Activ8rlives says: This reports on a common occurrence where women skip breakfast, only to make up their calorie count later in the day but this is storing up further health problems. A balanced diet of little and often is still good nutritional advice. This is yet another report that indicates that premature onset of disease and death can be lifestyle related and therefore can be avoided if we make better lifestyle choices.

Cystic Fibrosis Week 2013: national fundraising and awareness week Monday 24 – Sunday 30 June

CF-Week -graphic

This year’s Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Week will raise awareness of the work the CF Trust do in the field of transplants and fundraising.

While new treatments and improvements in care mean people with CF are living longer, healthier lives, many will reach a point where a lung transplant is the only option to prolong life.

  • 1 in 3 people with cystic fibrosis who are on the waiting list will die before they can receive a lung transplant
  • 4 out of 5 donated lungs are not used

The CF Trust is launching a debate with the aim of ensuring that all those who are suitable for a lung transplant receive one.

If you haven’t already done so, you can sign up to the Organ Donor Register today at http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk.

Read more in the factsheet on lung transplantation and cystic fibrosis.

For general enquiries, please call 020 8464 7211 or email: enquiries@cysticfibrosis.org.uk

Clinical Trial Update: Self-Monitoring and Home Lung Infection Test for People with Cystic Fibrosis

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Aseptika Limited, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK: Aseptika Ltd, is developing a home-based rapid and quantitative test for bacterial respiratory infections in patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), has announced that volunteers from Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are now participating in the clinical trial. The trial incorporates the use of home telemetry to measure lung and cardiovascular function, levels of physical activity and body composition, which are combined with the measurement of biomarkers to predict the reoccurrence of chest infections.

This trial explores whether CF patients could self-monitor at home, with remote support from their clinicians, using the Company’s home infection test and the Activ8rlives web-based platform.

The Company successfully bid for and was awarded Phase 1 funding through NHS Midlands and East and the Health Enterprise East’s second SBRI competition in 2011. In May of last year, Aseptika was also awarded Phase 2 funding to undertake this current study.

The company has already demonstrated the feasibility of quantifying the levels of key biomarkers in sputum samples as a way of predicting the onset of chest infections known clinically as ‘exacerbations’. The biomarker tests can be used to give both clinicians and patients 7 to 10 days advanced warning of an exacerbation and when commercialised, could lead to a reduction in hospital admissions and length of stay, as well as improving healthcare outcomes for those with CF.

In the trial, volunteers measure key performance indicators of health such as Peak Flow, FEV1, pO2, heart rate, physical activity, weight, body composition, cough and wellness at home and this information is uploaded to their private Activ8rlives web account. The sputum profiling data is added to this same web database and correlated with the volunteer’s medication regime. This wealth of information can be viewed by the clinician for research purposes only at this stage during the trial, but will be made available to the patients at its completion.

In a comment on the current clinical trial, Dr. Anne Blackwood, Chief Executive of Health Enterprise East said, “Aseptika’s technology platform has the potential to improve the quality of life of patients with CF in addition to reducing healthcare costs by preventing unnecessary admissions. Empowering patients to self-manage their condition is a key priority for the NHS.”

The objective of the self-monitoring solution being developed by Aseptika is to provide the tools to CF patients and their carers to help them stay well. Simultaneously this also provides their clinical team with complete, reliable and up to date information, especially for patients which have long journeys to attend their specialty clinics. Early changes in levels of biomarkers and health indicators will give patients, their families and clinicians every chance to identify when a course of treatment is becoming ineffective or when a change in treatment is required, or identify if additional support at home is needed.

Results from this trial are expected to be published after completion towards the end of 2013.

For more information on Aseptika Ltd and Activ8rlivesand products, please visit: www.activ8rlives.com

- Ends -

 

Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.

Caption: Peak Flow meters, Pulse Oximeters, Activity monitors, Smart Scales and biomarker tests all used by the patient volunteers in their own home as part of the clinical trial being conducted with Cystic Fibrosis volunteers at Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridgeshire, UK.

About Activ8rlives

Activ8rlives provides tools for self-monitoring with the ability to receive eMentoring from the family group, self-help groups or from clinical teams. The Company offers a range of health monitors, from step counters through to electronic “smart” scales, smartphone food diary apps to peak flow meters and pulse oximeters. The online communities combine empowerment through self-monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Groups can be led by clinicians or used to provide one to one coaching, to improve clinical outcomes.

Users can track: physical activity, body measurements and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health, blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication and bacterial infection markers. Custom trackers such as: dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature – in fact anything that can be measured – can be created. Users can join groups of like-minded people or set up their own group to share their successes with family, friends or colleagues in a secure environment. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

Health Enterprise East (NHS)

Health Enterprise East Limited (HEE) is the NHS Innovation Hub for the East of England, and assists with accelerating the development and uptake of innovative MedTech products and services that improve the quality of healthcare delivery.

We are committed to improving healthcare through supporting the development of innovative new products and services which meet the needs of the NHS. This work was commissioned by the Management Board of SBRI East and funded by NHS East of England, the European Regional Development Fund and the Technology Strategy Board. The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) are not necessarily that of the funding partners.

For press information, please contact:        

Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Aseptika Ltd (Activ8rlives)

jessica.auton@aseptika.com 

Direct +44 (0)1480 352 821

Mobile +44 (0)7455 922 122

 

Activ8rlives Provides New Financial Incentives for Being Consistently Active

Activ8rlives, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK: Activ8rlives announces a novel motivational programme for its users, utilising its integrated medals system, to reward being consistently active by earning big discounts.

It is not always easy for busy people to be active and most people have to work at it. If you are physically activity every day, the boost to your health and wellbeing is significant. 

Activ8rlives is an integrated health and wellness solution in which its users self monitor numerous key indicators of health (weight, body composition, cardiovascular and lung function, blood glucose, blood pressure and many other parameters including levels of physical activity).

If we want to, we can share our data with our GPs in a simple remote monitoring solution. Being physically active every day is probably the best treatment our doctors can prescribe for us, but we never get a reward for taking care of ourselves – until now!

Physical activity levels are easily tracked using the Activ8rlive’s Buddy step counter – a simple gadget which is worn on any part of the body that measures how active we are throughout the day. It is a way of keeping track of how much energy we use doing every day things such as: housework, walking to school or work, gardening, washing the car, taking the stairs rather than the lift and anything which helps us squeeze in small activity breaks throughout the day. The Buddy acts as a witness to all of non-sporting activity we do and motivates us to do a bit more without going to the gym. It also reassures us that we have reached our personal activity quota by the end of each day. Simple – but life transforming!

The data from the Buddy can be uploaded to the user’s free personal account on Activ8rlives.com and progress can be tracked on free Smartphone Apps. Data is stored, managed and displayed allowing the user to gain new insights about activity, health and wellness.

With each day of 10,000 steps, points are earned towards reward medals. When the user reaches a Silver Medal, which can be earned in just 35 days, they qualify for their first discount on any new Activ8rlives products purchased for friends, family or colleagues – or themselves. Further discounts are earned for each Silver Medal. A discount of up to 30% can be earned for those who have achieved their Gold Medal (earned by achieving 175 days of 10,000 steps). This is on top of any offers made on the Company’s website from time to time.

Users with Silver and Gold status also have access to their own dedicated groups with priority technical support and early access to new technologies, beta programmes and requests for new features to meet their requirements.

Founder (and Gold Medal holder) Kevin Auton said “As Activ8rlives continues to attract an ever growing community of users, we wanted to demonstrate ways to acknowledge and reward the high levels of dedication it takes to the make permanent changes in lifestyle we all aspire to.

If you have ever tried doing 10,000 steps per day, every day for a month for example (as we do as a personal challenge in some of our groups), it is actually really tough when you are juggling family, work and personal lives. If that is a challenge, try doing it for six months.

By being this active, even if we are not into sports, the health benefits are significant and our sense of wellbeing increases quickly. So we wanted to reward those who are helping themselves to stay well through being habitually active, by giving a financial reward for their efforts.

Giving steep discounts on our growing range of self monitoring devices and accessories to those who have worked hard, is our way of acknowledging this commitment.”

Kevin went on further to say: “Our users are the best teachers of the Activ8rlives technique for lifestyle transformation – they are literally walking their talk every day and telling others about the benefits of being active. Making a gift of a Buddy step counter to their friends and family and then walking alongside them to encourage and motivate them, is a practical expression of their support for those they care about. Showing others how to adopt a healthy lifestyle in a way that it can be fitted around our busy lives, is one of the best gifts you can give to another.”

For more information on Activ8rlives and products, please visit: www.activ8rlives.com

 - Ends -

Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.

 

Caption: Activ8rlives Gold Medal earned after reaching a personal target of over 10,000 steps for 175 days, entitling the user to 30% discount off further products from Activ8rlives.com.  This can be used in conjunction with all other offers made by the Company.

About Activ8rlives

Activ8rlives is the brain child of Kevin Auton, who realised the value of self monitoring long-term health conditions with group support after he and his own family decided to work together to lose weight, improve their general health and wellbeing. Activ8rlives offers a range of health monitors, from step counters through to electronic “smart” scales, smartphone food diary apps to peak flow meters and pulse oximeters. The online community combines empowerment through self monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Through the online programme, users can track: physical activity, body measurements and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health.  Additional customisable tracking can include: blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication, dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature and bacterial infection markers – in fact anything that can be measured. Users can join groups of like-minded people or set up their own group to share their successes with family, friends or colleagues in a secure environment. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

 For press information, please contact:        

Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Activ8rlives (Aseptika Ltd)

jessica.auton@activ8rlives.com 

Direct +44 (0)1480 352 821

Mobile +44 (0)7455 922 122

Free Wellness Check For Locals at Huntingdon 3K Fun Run

Activ8rlives (a Trademark of Aseptika Ltd), Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK:  It won’t just be the runners whose fitness will be put to the test during the Huntingdon 3K Fun Run on Sunday 16th June. Attendees at the event will be given a unique insight into their own health and wellness, thanks to a free health check by local health and wellness company Activ8rlives.

Activ8rlives, based in Huntingdon, will be setting up camp in the Spectator Village, where their team will be on hand to help people learn more about indicators of their health and how they can easily and effortlessly monitor their own health and wellness on a daily basis.

The free Wellness Check is available on the day and will include: measurements such as body height, waist, neck, waist to hip ratio; weight measurements, BMI, body fat, visceral fat, muscle mass and bone mass; cardiovascular health with heartbeat, blood pressure and oxygen saturation; and lung function with peak flow metrics.

Health indicators enable us to modify our behaviours, make connections between related parameters and to seek medical intervention if the measurements fall outside the normal healthy range.  Once participants have undertaken their free Wellness Check the Activ8rlives team will be on hand to help you set some personal health and wellness targets. This may be to lose weight or get fitter, and we’ll introduce you to the free image-based Food Diary app, which can be accessed via your Smartphone or Tablet.

For more information on The Huntingdon 3K Fun Run, visit www.hunts10k.org.uk or for more information on Activ8rlives and products, please visit: www.activ8rlives.com

 - Ends -

Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.

About Activ8rlives

Activ8rlives is the brain child of Kevin Auton, who realised the value of self monitoring long-term health conditions with group support after he and his own family decided to work together to lose weight, improve their general health and wellbeing. Activ8rlives offers a range of health monitors, from step counters through to electronic “smart” scales, smartphone food diary apps to peak flow meters and pulse oximeters. The online community combines empowerment through self monitoring with the added dynamic of group support and motivation. Through the online programme, users can track: physical activity, body measurements and weight, lung function and cardiovascular health.  Additional customisable tracking can include: blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, International Normalized Ratio (INR), medication, dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, mood, fertility, temperature and bacterial infection markers – in fact anything that can be measured. Users can join groups of like-minded people or set up their own group to share their successes with family, friends or colleagues in a secure environment. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

 For press information, please contact:       

Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Activ8rlives (Aseptika Ltd)

jessica.auton@activ8rlives.com 

+44 7455 922 122

 

 

 

Early death rates shocking

BBC News – “The local variation in early death rates revealed in a new league table for England is “shocking” and must drive action to improve health, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.”

Around 153,000 people die prematurely each year in England, with three quarters of those deaths down to cancer, heart attack or stroke, lung disease and liver disease – according to Public Health England. Follow this link to read more http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22844227

Activ8rlives says: This report indicates that these premature deaths are lifestyle related and therefore can be avoided if we take better care of ourselves. By tracking our physical activity, our weight, our lung function, our cardiovascular health, our food intake and our alcohol consumption, this allows us to learn for ourselves how our body responds and motivates us to make lifestyle changes. Activ8rlives provides the tools for you to keep yourself and your family healthy and self monitor long-term health conditions.

 

Activ8rlives 2.0 Goes Live with New Self Monitoring Capabilities for Health and Wellness

 Activ8rlives’ website version 2.0 has now gone live after several months of preparation and testing. Activ8rlives focuses its online self monitoring solutions for health and wellness, which is utilized by families, groups and companies.

The website capabilities have been expanded to include self monitoring of lung function, cardiovascular performance, biomarkers such as blood glucose, INR, blood pressure, waist to hip ratio and an additional six custom parameters, which could include fertility, mood, medication or training sessions.

Activ8rlives website version 2.0 now enables the following:

Monitoring Lung Function:  A change in lung function can be an early indicator that a person is becoming unwell and needs to seek medical intervention or alternative medication. It is particularly useful for suffers of Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Cystic Fibrosis (CF).

Highlighting Cardiovascular Disease:Activ8rlives 2.0 allow users to self monitor blood pressure, cholesterol, INR and using the Pulse Oximeter, record heart rate and blood oxygen saturation levels. Early warning signs of raised levels can alert the user to seek medical advice to avert an acute cardiovascular incident.

Tracking Key Biomarkers:As indicators of a normal or diseased process or other physiological state in the body, levels which may fluctuate over time and may worsen, Standard biomarkers that can now be tracked at home include: blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein and International Normalized Ratio (INR).

Custom Tracking: Users can choose to track further custom parameters including waist to hip ratio, medication, dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, moods, fertility, temperature and other bacterial infection markers.  In fact anything that can be measured.

In summing up the enhancements to the website, Dr. Kevin Auton, Director of Activ8rlives commented,

 “We are unlike consumer fitness sites that focus on fitness trackers and competitive performance. We are providing tools to help with long-term self monitoring of health, of which physical activity is a vital but single aspect. With Activ8rlives 2.0 we want to empower and motivate groups of friends, colleagues at work and whole families to stay healthy and to adopt changes in lifestyle to keep well. It is your body and you choose how to look after it. Self monitoring is an investment in your future – a ‘health savings account’ into which we need to make a daily investment.”

In Detail:

Lung Function

According to the British Lung Foundation, one in five people in the UK are affected by lung disease. So in Activ8rlives 2.0 users can now measure their lung function, incorporating the ability to upload data from a Peak Flow meter (PEF and FEV1) that measures lung function and a Pulse Oximeter, monitoring the bloods oxygen saturation and pulse rate. Data from these two devices are particularly relevant for suffers of asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Cystic Fibrosis (CF) self managing their wellness. A change in lung function can be an early indicator that a person is becoming unwell and needs to seek medical intervention or alternative medication.

Users can also record how well they feel and if they have one, the severity of their cough.Being able to make connections between the intensity of the cough over time and other health indicators, such as weight, diet, exercise, lung function, etc. can be useful and empowering in the decisions they make.

Cardiovascular Disease

NHS studies show that a quarter of all deaths in the UK can be attributed to some form of cardiovascular disease and millions more are at risk. Activ8rlives 2.0 allow users to self monitor blood pressure, cholesterol, INR and using the Pulse Oximeter, can now automatically record heart rate and blood oxygen saturation levels. Early warning signs of raised levels and measurements can alert the user to seek medical advice to avert an acute cardiovascular incident.

Biomarkers

What are biomarkers in medicine? They are indicators of a normal or diseased process or other physiological state in the body, levels which may fluctuate over time and may worsen. Standard biomarkers that can now be tracked at home include: blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, C-reactive protein and International Normalized Ratio (INR). Providing the user the ability to self monitor and become aware of the relationship between multiple health indicators allows greater control to adjust lifestyle to bring the levels of the biomarkers they are tracking into a healthy range.

Custom Tracking

Another benefit of Activ8rlives 2.0 is the ability to track a further six custom parameters of choice. Depending on goals to improve health and wellness, users might include: waist to hip ratio, medication, dress size, training sessions, pool laps per session, runs per week, sleep duration, allergy reactions, moods, fertility, temperature and other bacterial infection markers.  In fact anything that can be measured.

Long-term conditions such as lung disease, obesity, diabetes and heart failure account for the majority of hospital admissions. Self management plans are often given in a way that does not promote or encourage compliance in patients to self manage. The result is that behaviours do not change and society becomes over reliant on healthcare services, to the point where demand can no longer be met.  Self monitoring a panel of health indicators is not a diagnostic tool, but a suite of self management tools which empowers and motivates lifestyle transformation. It promotes control and ownership of health and in the long-term, and will reduce the requirement for acute medical intervention.

With all these new features and benefits to users, Activ8rlives 2.0 still remains FREE to use – as it always will be. There are no joining or subscription fees. EVER!

For more information on Activ8rlives and products, please visit: www.activ8rlives.com

Ends

Activ8rlives and Activ8rlives.com are trademarks of Aseptika Ltd.

High-resolution image available from Jessica Auton jessica.auton@aseptika.com Ref: A8/JOB/009

About Activ8rlives

Activ8rlives is the brain child of Kevin Auton, who realised the value group support could bring to sustained weight loss after he and his own family decided to work together to lose weight and improve their general health, fitness and wellbeing. Activ8rlives offers a range of equipment, from step counters through to electronic “smart” scales, from smartphone food diary apps to peak flow monitors, combined with an exclusive online community programme, which enables members to self monitor their health and activity and share their successes with other group members in a secure environment. Activ8rlives is free to use and there are no joining or subscription fees.

For press information, please contact:

Jessica Auton, Marketing Director, Activ8rlives (Aseptika Ltd) jessica.auton@aseptika..com +44 7455 922 122

 

Rise in obesity poses ‘dementia time bomb’ – reports the BBC – 12th May 2013

Ever-growing waistlines could result in a big increase in the number of people who develop dementia in the future, researchers have warned.

Previous studies have shown that being overweight in middle age increases the odds of developing the mental disorder.

Data presented at the European Congress on Obesity suggests stemming the rise in obesity will cut dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Society charity said regular exercise and a healthy weight were important for reducing risk.  Piling on too many pounds is known to be bad for the body, but there is growing evidence that it is also bad for the mind.  Nobody knows exactly what causes dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease, but body weight appears to be a risk factor.

One study of 8,500 Swedish twins showed that those with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30, who are classified as obese, were almost four times as likely to develop dementia as those with a normal BMI.  Even those who were clinically overweight, a BMI between 25 and 30, were 71% more likely to develop dementia.

In England 24% of men and 26% of women are obese.

Researchers used computer models to compare what would happen if obesity rates stayed the same or increased to 46% of men and 31% of women by 2050, which has been predicted by some groups.  They said rates of dementia would go from 4,894 cases in every 100,000 people over 65 to 6,662 cases in every 100,000 people over 65.

Keeping obesity levels constant would save around £940m in dementia care, the study predicted. We have known for a long time about the risks to cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, so this is a new concern.

Jessica Smith, a research officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It’s easy to see the immediate impact of piling on the pounds, but we can’t afford to ignore the long-term effects.  “Evidence shows that obesity increases the risk of developing dementia. This study highlights the impact obesity will have on the numbers of people with the condition in the future.

She added that “maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly – especially in midlife – are hugely important in reducing your risk”

Activ8rlives says:  Our view is that quality of life is as important as quantity of life.  This latest study again indicates achieving both is not only down to our luck with the genes we inherited.  We can do something about it and start today.

Activ8rlives 2.0 goes live on Wednesday 8th May 2013 – be sure to upload your data. Site will be down for switch-over on Tuesday 7th May.

The date for the big switch over has been set after months of testing and preparation.  Our new Activ8rlives 2.0 goes live on Wednesday 8th of May.

We will take the old site down on Tuesday 7th of May and transfer everyone’s data over to the new version.  You will therefore not be able to access Activ8rlives on Tuesday 7th May.

Please make sure you upload your devices and data to the old site before Tuesday 7th.

There will also be a new version of the Service Link to download which adds the ability to upload not only your Buddy step counter and Body Analyser, but also the new Peak Flow meter and Pulse Oximeter.  It also allows you to record how well you feel and if you have one, the severity of your cough.

You will also be able to track:  blood pressure, C-reactive protein, blood glucose and cholesterol  INR, neck size, waist-to-hip ratio, C-reactive protein and up to six of anything you want to track.  And it remains FREE to use – as it always will be.

There will be a lot of new features for your to learn about.  If you get stuck or need some help, call us any time on +44 (0) 1480 352 821.  We will be happy, as we always are, to talk to you directly and to help, support and encourage you to be active, eat well and stay healthy.  Call us any time.

Kindest regards,

Activ8rlives team

Silver and Gold medals are available to wear. Earn these by walking 10k steps a day with your Buddy step counter.

Image

Did you know that you earn virtual medals from points earned each time you do more than 10,000 steps day using your Buddy step counter?

These appear in your rewards section of the Activ8rlives website.

You can also get real medals once you have earned your first silver and your first gold free from Activ8rlives.

Once you have earned a medal, just email us (support@activ8rlives.com) with your mailing address and we will post one to you, FREE.  No cost to you whatsoever. Where ever you are in the World.

Seems the least we can do to reward all of the effort you have invested in being active, eating well and staying healthy.

Activ8rlives v2.0 is nearly here ….

In Activ8rlives v2.0 you will get:

  • Activity tracker – FREE
  • Weight tracker – FREE
  • Wellness tracker – FREE
  • Cough tracker -FREE
  • Biomarkers – FREE (blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol  blood pressure, waist:hip ratio, neck size, bacterial infection markers)
  • Your own custom trackers – FREE (medication, dress size, training sessions done, distances, times, fertility etc)
  • Image-based Food Diary – FREE
  • Smartphone Apps for iPhone, Android, Windows 8 and BlackBerry
  • Join our support groups – FREE
  • Create your own groups – FREE
  • Adventures – our group-based walking game using Google Earth™ – FREE

Why 30 is really 45: We’re so unhealthy that we’re 15 years OLDER than our parents were at the same age.

  • Today’s adults are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes because of poor health
  • Men in their 30s were 20% more likely to be overweight than in previous generations, Dutch researchers found
  • Women in their 20s are twice as likely to be obese

By Anna Hodgekiss, Daily Mail Online.  27th April, 2013

Today’s adults are so unhealthy they are 15 years ‘older’ than their parents and grandparents at the same age, researchers say.

They are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity than previous generations because of poor health, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Looking at 6,000 adults aged 20, 30, 40, 50 over a 25 year period, researchers found younger generations had poorer ‘metabolic’ health – a range of issues including blood pressure and weight.

The study revealed men in their 30s were 20 per cent more likely to be overweight than in previous generations, while women in their 20s are twice as likely to be obese than those 10 years ago.

Blood pressure also increased among the younger generation of both men and women, while younger blokes are more likely to have diabetes than their dads and granddads were.

Author Gerben Hulsegge, from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, said the younger generation are ’15 years ahead’ in terms of ‘metabolic’ health.

He said: ‘The more recently born adult generations are doing far worse than their predecessors. 

‘For example, the prevalence of obesity in our youngest generation of men and women at the mean age of 40 is similar to that of our oldest generation at the mean age of 55.

‘This means that this younger generation is ’15 years ahead’ of the older generation and will be exposed to their obesity for a longer time.

‘This firstly highlights the need for a healthy body weight – by encouraging increased physical activity and balanced diet, particularly among the younger generations.

‘The findings also mean that, because the prevalence of smoking in high-income countries is decreasing, we are likely to see a shift in non-communicable disease from smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer to obesity-related diseases such as diabetes. 

‘This decrease in smoking prevalence and improved quality of health care are now important driving forces behind the greater life expectancy of younger generations, and it’s likely that in the near future life expectancy will continue to rise.

‘But it’s also possible that in the more distant future, as a result of our current trends in obesity, the rate of increase in life expectancy may well slow down, although it’s difficult to speculate about that. ‘

 

Cystic fibrosis bug ‘can spread between patients’ – report published in the Lancet by Dr Andres Floto (Papworth Hospital)

X-ray showing a build up of mucus in a patient's lungs

From the BBC, 29th March 2013

A dangerous infection which is becoming more common in people with cystic fibrosis can spread between patients, UK researchers say in The Lancet.

Doctors previously thought the Mycobacterium abscessus bacteria could only be caught from water and soil.

But hospitals around the world may now have to change the way patients are treated, the study says.

Around 3-10% of cystic fibrosis patients in Europe and the US are infected with the hard-to-treat bug.

There are around 9,000 people with cystic fibrosis in the UK although around one-in-25 people carries the faulty gene which causes the condition.

It affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus which makes it hard to breathe and digest food.

“We believe the infection gets aerosolised, for example, when people cough  and because this bacteria is tough it hands around in the air.”  Dr Andres Floto Papworth Hospital, Cambridge

Researchers writing in The Lancet do not know exactly why Mycobacterium abscessus – which is distantly related to the bacteria that causes tuberculosis – is more likely to infect people with cystic fibrosis but it could be related to problems with the immune system.

It causes lung damage, and can be incredibly hard to treat with infected patients needing months of treatment with toxic drugs.

Although the infection has been on the rise over the past decade, doctors always believed it could not spread between humans.

But by looking at DNA from almost 170 samples of the bacterium, and using that to create a family tree, researchers found that it can indeed spread from person to person.

 

Infection control

Study leader Dr Andres Floto, research director of the Cystic Fibrosis Unit at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge and principal investigator at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, said the results had prompted them to completely rethink their infection control, despite already having strict policies in place.

He explained they already treated all in-patients in individual rooms without exposing them to other patients and out-patient clinics were set up so individuals did not have direct contact with each other.

“But despite that we were seeing transmission events in hospital which tells us that transmission is likely to be indirect,” Dr Floto said.

“We are doing more research into that but we believe it gets aerosolised, for example, when people cough and because this bacteria is tough it hangs around in the air.”

All inpatients at Papworth are now treated in negative pressure rooms to prevent the spread of airborne bugs and those with the infection are cared for away from the cystic fibrosis unit.

“And in outpatients for people with this bug, we use clinic rooms only once and then not for other patients until the next day when it has been deep cleaned.”

Dr Floto said his team had already been in touch with hospitals in the UK and abroad to inform them of their findings and encourage them to change their practices and prevent the infection spreading as much as possible.

“Our results will help to protect patients from this serious infection.”

Co-author Professor Julian Parkhill, head of pathogen genomics at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said: “By sequencing the complete genomes of bacteria we can accurately describe where they have emerged from and how they pass from person to person.

“This new information has led to rapid changes in how people with cystic fibrosis are cared for in hospital to protect them from this emerging threat.”

Jo Osmond, director of Clinical Care and Commissioning at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said: “We will work closely with clinicians and the NHS to ensure appropriate measures are in place to deal with this issue.

“It is reassuring that this issue has been picked up early and that we are working positively to put in place measures to ensure cross-infection risks are reduced to a minimum.

“People with cystic fibrosis who have concerns about this issue should speak to their clinician.”

Notes:

Dr Andres Floto is collaborating with Aseptika in the development of a novel self-monitoring  system with remote on-line mentoring using Activ8rlives infrastructure.  A clinical trial of the system is currently in progress.

Amber runs first ever half marathon and becomes an authorised Run England Trainer

 

The finish line with Zac, who made me a t-shirt saying ‘Mummys the best GO’ I love him! Amber x 

Amber has today achieved her dream ambition:  to run a half marathon.  From being a self-confessed couch potato, Amber was one of the early members of Activ8rlives’ Walk around the World programme funded by SPORTIVATE in Cambridgeshire UK.

Amber ran for Cancer Research, raising money for this great cause.

On completing the run today in the UK’s Arctic conditions, Amber said:  “I am extremely proud to say that after about 2hours and 40mins and 29,737 steps I actually completed my first ever half marathon!! And the best part of it all was running the last 100m with my 5 year old son.  So to everyone who wishes they could run in any race from 5k to a full marathon and doesn’t believe that they can, then I say your wrong, I believe in you and if you have a little faith in yourself, you will achieve everything you want to!

Thanks also to all the Activ8ers from around the World who sent me good luck messages.   Thank you so much to each of you!”

 

Amber has also undertaken SPORT ENGLAND’s Run England training programme to lead a local running club.  She hopes to recruit a team to take part in Huntingdon’s local Fun Run in June 2013.  If you are local and would like to join us, contact Activ8rlives.

Well done Amber!

Activ8rlives.

 

Mobile World Congress 2013 (Barcelona) and the challenge of being active when you are standing still all day.

Lots of kind people have asked me to let everyone know how Mobile World Congress conference is going.  So I am going to keep a diary in the form of this blog.  Check-in via the main site (www.activ8rlives.com) for the latest information.

12:00 Tuesday 26th February.

The show is even busier today than yesterday if that is at all possible.  Meet some really nice people who like what we are doing – nice to meet you all if you are reading this – and the concept of Activ8rlives is well received.  This is the biggest conference we have ever attended so it is good to get this confirmation and feedback.  Also lots of opportunities for new products and services to our brilliant Activ8ers.

 

22:00 Monday 25th February

Thanks to a long walk from the metro to the hotel, I just about made 10,000 steps today.  Its been a very busy day but a successful one.

17:30 Monday, 25th February.

Very busy day.  This place is packed.  People were queuing around the block to get in apparently.  Place is full of techno companies selling services I don’t really understand.  All very clever stuff.

So far have only done 6.5k steps.  Going to have to walk back to the hotel tonight to get my step count up.  Been very sensible with food intake, but difficult getting enough to drink.  Need more water and less strong coffee tomorrow.

09:30 Monday 25th February

Despite the early start, my travel plans were thwarted by a bad decision to take the Conference shuttle bus for the last leg of the journey.  Will take the train as I did yesterday in future.

Its pretty busy already.  The halls are filling up with very young, eager looking people.  No one looks where they are going as they are all talking on Smartphones.  Most of the stands have lips and I watch a lot of people tripping up them.

So far I have only managed 3.3K steps.  Could be a challenge keeping the step count up.

15:00 Sunday 24th February, (9,000 steps):  Activ8rlives won a space on the UKTI’s mega pavilion by presenting the new Activ8rlives Smartphone App.

A bit about the conference: it is a geeks paradise.  Imagine 8 covered football stadiums, full of the latest electronics and gadgets, all joined by moving walkways and you have a fair idea of the scale of this event.  It is massive.

We have a small space as part of a two-story trade mission stand kindly organised by the UK Trade and Investment department.  They have provided a huge amount of support to enable us to be here – something we could never have managed by ourselves, even if we could have afforded the colossal fees to exhibit here.  The stand is amazing – will post some images later.

The show proper starts tomorrow (Monday).

Getting here yesterday was OK, if a bit long winded.  The hotel is so far out of Barcelona up in the hills to the north of the city that I am not actually sure it is in Barcelona at all – but a nice location.

Weather here has been beautiful.  I am in my shirt sleeves, but everyone else is wearing coats.

I am very impressed with the area I am staying in.  Huge tracks of landscaped space created for walking, cycling and playing.  Plazas free from cars at every turn, blending the old with the new – it somehow works well – in which the locals sit and chat and enjoy the spring sunshine, talk and the kids play on the park equipment provided everywhere.  Talk about providing a space for families to be active in, even in a city.

The spaces have been created by burring the roads underneath them.  It really is very impressive.  There is a great walk along the river leading down to the sea,  Its about 5Km and they have made a pathway which is used by so many people.  There are locals of all shapes and sizes and levels of fitness, walking jogging, cycling and rollerblading.  Reminds me of the walkways in San Francisco, San Diego, Brisbane and Weymouth (!).  I spent a very pleasant hour walking this route and by the time I got back to the hotel, had already got 8k steps banked.

It just goes to show that if planners provide space to exercise, people will use it.  The walkway (width of a two lane road) was packed with folk exercising in the sunshine.  It was a great atmosphere.

Then off to the conference center by Metro.  WOW!  Their metro makes the UK’s London Underground system look prehistoric.  Wide trains, loads of space for access with buggies and wheel chairs and cellphone signal all the time!  My kinda town.

 19:00 Sunday (18,000 steps).  All set and ready for the start at 08:00 tomorrow!

Activ8rlives helps patients with Asthma, COPD and Cystic Fibrosis monitor their lung function and health at home.

Up and coming health and wellbeing technology company Activ8rlives will be launching two new devices for monitoring lung health at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona (25th-28th February 2013).

The Company will be introducing a Peak Expiratory Flow meter and Pulse oximeter, which upload information about the user to their private account on the web-based Activ8rlives system.

Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) and the related parameter for Forced Expiratory Volume within 1 second (FEV1), are values which report the performance of a person’s lungs.  Most widely used in the management of Asthma, these measurements can also be used by patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Cystic Fibrosis, to self-monitor their lung function.  A change in function can be an early indication that a person is becoming unwell and needs to seek treatment.

The pulse oximeter is a simple device which is worn on the end of your finger and calculates the degree of oxygen saturation of the blood by measuring small changes in the colour of your blood.  It also calculates your pulse rate.  The system is presently designed to monitor decreases in oxygenation levels for patients who are trying to preserve lung function but will also be used as a screen for those concerned that they may have undiagnosed sleep apnoea – a condition which often affects males in middle age who are overweight.

The development of these new capabilities is one of a series of investments made possible when the company received a Small Business Research Initiative contract from NHS Midlands and East and the Health Enterprise East’s second SBRI competition in last year, to develop and the company’s ideas for a home-based test for lung infections.

In the case of the UK’s 9,000 sufferers of Cystic Fibrosis, use of the devices to help with earlier detection and subsequent treatment of recurring bacterial chest infections (known as exacerbations), which are a key symptom of the condition, could lead to an annual cost saving for the NHS of £57m.

Dr Anne Blackwood, CEO of Health Enterprise East said:  “We are really pleased to see Aseptika introduce new technical capabilities to the market at such a large conference such as Mobile World Congress.  It shows that our SBRI programme allows UK SMEs to innovate and that these can quickly result in the introduction of new products for sale to our NHS and for export overseas.”

- ENDS -

 About Aseptika (Activ8rlives.com)

Activ8rlives is the brain child of Kevin Auton, who realised the value group support could bring to sustained weight loss after he and his own family decided to work together to lose weight and improve their general health, fitness and wellbeing.

Activ8rlives offers a range of products, from activity monitors through to electronic weighing scales, combined with an exclusive online community programme, which enables members to track their progress and share their successes with other Activ8rlives members.  Activ8rlives.com is free to use and there are no meeting or subscription fees.

For more information visit www.Activ8rlives.com

 

Health Enterprise East (NHS)

Health Enterprise East Limited (HEE) is the NHS Innovation Hub for the East of England, and assists with accelerating the development and uptake of innovative MedTech products and services that improve the quality of healthcare delivery.

We are committed to improving healthcare through supporting the development of innovative new products and services which meet the needs of the NHS.  This work was commissioned by the Management Board of SBRI East and funded by NHS East of England, the European Regional Development Fund and the Technology Strategy Board.  The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) are not necessarily that of the funding partners.

For press enquiries, images or for further information, please contact Collette Johnson 01480 364 925 or email Collette.Johnson@hee.org.uk

Aseptika begins first trials of new monitoring system for Cystic Fibrosis patients

Huntingdon-based company Aseptika Ltd, creators of a home-based rapid and quantitative test for bacterial respiratory infections in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), is now scaling-up trials of the prototype test to make it possible for CF patients (and their doctors) to monitor their health at home using the Activ8rlives web-based platform.

The company successfully bid for and was awarded phase 1 funding through NHS Midlands and East and the Health Enterprise East’s second Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition in 2011.  In May of last year, Aseptika was also awarded phase 2 funding.

The company has successfully demonstrated the feasibility of quantifying the levels of key biomarkers in sputum donated by cystic fibrosis patients as a way of predicting the onset of chest infections known clinically as ‘exacerbations’.

The tests can be used to give both clinicians and patients 7 to 10 days advanced warning before an exacerbation and when commercialised, could lead to a reduction in hospital admissions and length of stay as well as improving healthcare outcomes in patients with the condition.

To add further complications to the ongoing management of CF, it is not possible to predict which antibiotics will be clinically effective when an exacerbation does occur.   Doctors are forced to rely on monitoring the patient’s response after 5-7 days to see if the patient is recovering or not.

Aseptika’s test will be objective and show early changes in levels of key biomarkers for each patient, which gives doctors and patients the chance to identify when a course of treatment is ineffective and requires a change in treatment, speeding up recovery time and reducing potential lung damage caused by recurrent exacerbations.

The company’s initial trial at Papworth hospital’s CF centre of excellence showed that the centre could save over £1.7m a year if it used the new CF exacerbation test.

According to Aseptika’s director Kevin Auton the estimated savings are 50 per cent for each patient with CF severity in bands 2A or above and could lead to an annual cost saving for the NHS in treating the UK’s 9,000 CF patients of £57m.

“The test will be the same principle as a pregnancy test, so it will be used to self-monitor.  Patients will spit on the test to see how virulent the bacteria in their lungs are at any one time, and be able to see when an exacerbation is starting,” Dr Auton explained.

Dr Auton says that the SBRI competitions are the fairy dust that allows companies to get started on their great ideas and that his company would never have been able to raise funding for such an early-stage idea had it not been for SBRI backing.

“Given that the balance of economic power has shifted to the Far East, without simple schemes like the SBRI operated by Health Enterprise East, UK plc’s knowledge-driven economy is in deep trouble.

SBRI is a case of relatively small amounts of money making the difference.  It allows the development of the new products the public sector needs, supports the development of new UK companies and ultimately, helps change lives for the better.”

- ENDS -

About Aseptika (Activ8rlives.com)

Activ8rlives is the brain child of Kevin Auton, who realised the value group support could bring to sustained weight loss after he and his own family decided to work together to lose weight and improve their general health, fitness and wellbeing.

Activ8rlives offers a range of products, from activity monitors through to electronic weighing scales, combined with an exclusive online community programme, which enables members to track their progress and share their successes with other Activ8rlives members.  Activ8rlives.com is free to use and there are no meeting or subscription fees.

For more information visit www.Activ8rlives.com

For press enquiries, images or for further information, please contact Jenna Gould on 01603 743 363 or email jenna@mediajems.co.uk

Health Enterprise East (NHS)

Health Enterprise East Limited (HEE) is the NHS Innovation Hub for the East of England, and assists with accelerating the development and uptake of innovative MedTech products and services that improve the quality of healthcare delivery.

We are committed to improving healthcare through supporting the development of innovative new products and services which meet the needs of the NHS.  This work was commissioned by the Management Board of SBRI East and funded by NHS East of England, the European Regional Development Fund and the Technology Strategy Board.  The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) are not necessarily that of the funding partners.

For press enquiries, images or for further information, please contact Collette Johnson 01480 364 925 or email Collette.Johnson@hee.org.uk

Activ8rlives to launch new website at Mobile World Congress 2013, Barcelona

Up and coming health and well being technology company Activ8rlives will be launching the second version of its website for health and wellness at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona (25th-28th February 2013).

As well as a new fresh look making the site easier than ever to navigate, the new website allows users to keep a detailed image-based food diary to track everything you eat and drink – no need to count calories – using the company’s dedicated Smartphone apps to take and upload pictures directly.  The site tracks the users health and well being, by following the user’s activity levels and recommending when they should be more active.

It also tracks weight, Body Mass Index and now, Body composition, providing new interactive tools to show if you have achieved a shape.  Uniquely, the pictorial food diary is annotated with your activity levels and weight change, giving immediate feedback as to whether your diet is working for you.  Body composition information such as visceral fat index and muscle and fat percentage, can be compared with the food choices being made.  If body fat levels are too high, review what you have eaten and adjust gently the following week to see the impact.  Change your levels of exercise by just 10% and monitor the impact on muscle percentage, weight and your appetite.

The new website adds other new health checks such as the user’s self perception of overall wellness and symptoms if they have a lung condition – ideal for those trying to give up smoking or have asthma, COPD or Cystic Fibrosis.

The user can now also create their own trackers and set these to record what they need to follow, e.g. blood glucose, HbA1c levels, INR (blood viscosity), cholesterol, blood pressure, waist and neck size, fertility cycles or frequency of intimacy with your partner – whatever you wish to self-monitor.

The new website allows the user to compare one tracked parameter with another in an intuitive and simple way, aiding learning, self-motivation and self-management.  Use of the Activ8rlives website and its associated Smartphone apps is completely free.  There are no monthly subscription fees and no purchase is necessary to be able to track your health and wellness.

Kevin Auton, company founder and director said:  “Version 2 of Activ8rlives builds further on our concept of self-monitoring and self-management.  Now in addition to activity levels, food/drink intake and weight/body composition, we have included simple tools for everyone to use so as to maitain quality of health.  As the public debate about healthcare rationing begins, more of us will want to find ways to keep ourselves and our families well, to improve quality and not just quantity of life years.  Our new website paves the way for us to integrate web-connecting medical devices which can be used in the home and in clinical settings.  The next two of these devices will support those with lung health conditions to take better care of themselves, with on-line mentoring from their clinicians.  We are now recruiting volunteers for clinical trials with these devices in the UK.”

Innovation in treating obesity from California.

Doctors name and record patient’s activity levels as one of their vital signs as a way of tackling obesity.

Roll up a sleeve for the blood pressure cuff. Stick out a wrist for the pulse-taking. Lift your tongue for the thermometer. Report how many minutes you are active for each week.

Wait, what?

If the last item isn’t part of the usual drill at your doctor’s office, a movement is afoot in the USA to change that.  One recent national survey indicated only a third of Americans said their doctors asked about or prescribed physical activity.

Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health insurance plans, made a big push a few years ago to get its southern California doctors to ask patients about exercise. Since then, Kaiser has expanded the program across California and to several other states. Now almost 9 million patients are asked about their activity levels at every visit, and some other medical systems are doing it, too.

Here’s how it works: during any routine check of vital signs, a nurse or medical assistant asks how many days a week the patient exercises and for how long. The number of minutes per week is posted along with other vitals at the top the medical chart.  So it’s among the first things the doctor sees.

“All we ask our physicians to do is to make a comment on it, like, ‘Hey, good job,’ or ‘I noticed today that your blood pressure is too high and you’re not doing any exercise. There’s a connection there. We really need to start you walking 30 minutes a day,’” says Robert Sallis, a Kaiser family doctor.  He hatched the vital sign idea as part of a larger initiative by doctors groups.

He says Kaiser doctors generally prescribe exercise first, instead of medication, and for many patients who follow through that’s often all it takes.

But it is a challenge to make progress.  Some patients may not be aware physical INACTIVITY is riskier than high blood pressure, obesity and other health risks people know they should avoid.  A US- government study concluded that people who routinely exercise live longer than others, even if they’re overweight.

Carrie Jaworski, a NorthShore family and sports medicine specialist, already asks patients about exercise.  She says some of her diabetic patients have been able to cut back on their medicines after getting active.

William Dietz, an obesity expert who retired last year from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says measuring a patient’s exercise regardless of method is essential, but that “naming it as a vital sign kind of elevates it.”  Figuring out how to get people to be more active is the important next step, he says, and could have a big effect in reducing medical costs.

Associated Press, Lindsey Tanner

Activ8rlives says:  We think that naming exercise as a vital sign is a great innovation.  What this does is make everyone, including the patient’s medical team, mindful of the need to be active on a daily basis.  This innovation is so simple, does not cost a penny to implement and could make savings from £5bn we spend each year in our NHS treating the consequences of obesity.

New Years resolutions – easy does it and plan to make small but achievable changes with us at Activ8rlives.

Like millions around the World tonight, you may be thinking of making big changes in your lifestyle for 2013.  If you are planning on banning chocolate form the house and have declared that you are going on a crash diet to lose 25% of your body weight in two weeks, I don’t need to tell you that New Year’s diet resolutions are among the most popular self-improvement declarations that are being made tonight – and most will be broken before the week is over.

The trouble with trying to make big changes — whether it’s with food or exercise — is that it only takes a few missed days and you’re back to your old behaviours again.

So take it easy on yourself because becoming habitually active and adopting healthier eating behaviours takes time – up to 6-12 months for consciously made changes to become a permanent unconscious habit.  This is why crash diets don’t work – they are not sustainable but small and consistent changes are.

Long-term behaviour change is the result of small adjustments and daily practice – or adopting an attitude of mindfullness.  Wear a step counter to learn about when you are and are not active.  Weigh yourself daily using a Body analyser to help keep your goals in mind if your goal is to maintain a healthy weight. Record your food and drink intake using a food diary so that you remain conscious of your eating habits – this all helps to bring about changes in the way we behave.

Sometimes the adjustment takes the form of being more active on your less busy days.  Those of us who are office-based during the week need to get up from our desks regularly and have mini activity breaks (a walk around the block) several times a day, while those who have very active work days and who just collapse onto the sofa at weekends, need to find new ways to be active on days away from work, especially with the other family members.

Sometimes a new habit means continuing to enjoy the “got to have” foods we love, but use a food diary to monitor how often we eat these and try to eat less of these or less frequently like only on special occasions for example.  Reducing your alcohol intake is one of the quickest wins in the journey to reduce calories and improve health. Track how much you drink each week with our free Smartphone Food Diary (iPhone, Android and Blackberry).

Being specific in setting goals is also important.  Rather than deciding to “get fit” in 2013, decide to walk a specific number of steps each and every day.  Make it achievable.  With food, decide on a weekly score of Good vs Bad choices using the Activ8rlives Smartphone apps and try to stick to it rather than give a vague goal of “I will lose weight.”

Doing it together, like most things is more fun than doing it by yourself – and more likely to be successful too.  Form a group with friends, family or colleagues and agree to support each other in achieving a goal.  Make it fun by creating a walking Adventure using this free feature within Activ8rlives.  Or join one of the growing number of communities such as the Activ8rlives Support group for a lot of free advice, encouragement and support.

So make your New Year’s resolution to take it in small steps, do it one day at a time, work in a group and learn to become mindful of your food/drink intake, your activity levels and observe how this changes your body composition.  That’s it.  That’s all we have to do.  Join us by giving it a try in 2013.  We’ll work on it together.

Wishing everyone a fun, healthy and happy 2013!

Activ8rlives

Why athletes live longer

Olympic medalists live longer than the general population, regardless of country of origin, medal won, or type of sport played, research published in the British Journal of Medicine has reported.

The life expectancy of 15,174 Olympic athletes who won medals between 1896 and 2010 was competed with that of general population groups matched by country, sex, and age.

All medallists lived an average of 2.8 years longer – a significant survival advantage over the general population in eight out of the nine country groups studied.

Gold, silver and bronze medallists enjoyed roughly the same survival advantage, as did medallists in both endurance and mixed sports. Medallists in power sports had a smaller, but still significant, advantage over the general population.

The authors said that “possible explanations include genetic factors, physical activity, healthy lifestyle, and the wealth and status that come from international sporting glory.

In the second study, researchers measured the effect of high intensity exercise on mortality later in life among former Olympic athletes.  After adjusting for sex, year of birth and nationality, they found that athletes from sports with high cardiovascular intensity (such as cycling and rowing) or moderate cardiovascular intensity (such as gymnastics and tennis) had similar mortality rates compared with athletes from low cardiovascular intensity sports, such as golf or cricket.

Activ8rlives says:  This is an interesting study showing that there is a clear advantage to being active throughout life, even if you are not an athlete in the high aerobic category.  It shows that the more sedate sports such as golf are as good a form of exercise, but like all forms of activity, it has to be habitual – ie for life.  It would be great if this study had also tracked not only how long everyone lived but how free from long-term illness they were compared with those who were inactive.  Quality of life years not quantity of life years is what most of us strive for.  Being active for us is about retaining the highest quality of life for as long as possible.

HFHealthyLiving recommends Activ8rlives Food Diary as app of the week

Healthfirst Healthy Living (www.hfhealthyliving.org) is dedicated to helping New Yorkers (New York City, USA) get the info and resources they need to make smart lifestyle choices to stay healthy.

Healthfirst Healthy Living blogs on a range of health related topics with some great content on being active, eating well, managing diabetes and weight control.

We are delighted that Activ8rlives Food Diary has been made their “app of the week”.  Available for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry.

 

 

 

Cycle and walking ‘must be norm’ for short journeys to tackle inactivity epidemic reports the BBC.

By Nick Triggle, Health correspondent, BBC News

Cycling and walking should be the norm for all short journeys, experts say.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said people should shun their cars if a trip could be done in 15 or 20 minutes on foot or bike.

It said the approach was needed to combat the “silent epidemic” of inactivity posing a risk to the health of people in England.

Schools and workplaces should also be encouraged to get more pupils and staff cycling and walking.

A recent report in the Lancet said inactivity was now causing as many deaths as smoking.

Latest figures suggest six in 10 men and seven in 10 women are not doing the recommended levels of physical activity.

The figures are little better for children.

In particular, levels of cycling and walking are falling – with England lagging well behind other European countries, such as the Netherlands and Denmark. Only 11 minutes a day on average is spent cycling or walking.

Prof Mike Kelly, from NICE, said: “As a nation, we are not physically active enough and this can contribute to a wide range of health problems.”

Dr John Middleton, vice-president of the Faculty of Public Health, said cycling and walking needed to be made an “easy option”.

“It’s not necessarily about spending more money on transport, but investing existing money in our health by rethinking the way in which budgets are being spent.

“We want to see more people walking and cycling,” he added.

Activ8rlives says:  We welcome public debate about how all of us need to work together to make it easier to include habitual activity within our daily life.

The move of the responsibility for tackling obesity from the NHS to local Health and Wellness Boards in 2013 is a real opportunity to do things differently rather than trying to do more-for-less, which clearly has not been cost effective.

Tackling inactivity will require joined-up thinking at the level of local planing, schools, community groups, GPs, charities like Sport England and the many companies committed to health and wellness initiatives, because what we have done up to now has not worked.  Time to think differently – one step at a time.

 

One for the ladies …..

Habitual physical activity that adds up to moving 6,000 or more steps a day may protect women’s health in midlife, because, whether through formal exercises or just the activities of daily life, this level of activity is linked to a lower risk for developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome in midlife women (from Medical News Today).

This was the finding of new research from Brazil published online ahead of print on 19 November in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of cardiovascular disease risk factors, including but not limited to, large waist, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, that can also be a precursor to full blown type 2 diabetes.

There is plenty of evidence that structured exercise reduces health risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, but this study suggests that habitual physical activity, whether through exercising or just having an active life, is enough to improve women’s health in midlife.

What The Researchers Did

The researchers used data from a longitudinal population study in the city of Passo Fundo, in the far south of Brazil, that started in 1995, limiting their analysis to a snapshot of 292 women aged 45 to 72 years (average age 57).

The women wore pedometers and recorded their daily steps for 7 days, and also underwent health checks that tested cholesterol and blood sugar, and measured waist and hip size to assess abdominal obesity, a known risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

For their analysis, the researchers grouped the women into inactive (under 6,000 steps a day), and active (over 6,000 steps a day).

What They Found

The results showed that the average number of steps per day overall was 5,251, with the active group (32% of the women) averaging 9,056 and the inactive group averaging 3,472.

The analysis also showed a statistically significant pattern between physical activity and a number of health risks, such that lower levels of physical activity were associated with smoking, having a higher body mass index, and having larger waist and hip measurements.

Women in the inactive group were much more likely to be overweight or obese, and have waist sizes over 88 cm (35 in), even after taking into account other effects like menopause status, smoking, and hormone therapy.

Inactive women were also more likely to have type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

The researchers conclude that:

“Habitual physical activity, specifically walking 6,000 or more steps daily, was associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in middle-aged women, independently of menopause status.”

Setting Goals Helps

So it would seem, that for women in midlife, the journey to better health starts with 6,000 steps. For most people, that is the equivalent of walking for about an hour a day.

Studies suggest that people who set themselves goals with a pedometer are more likely to increase their levels of physical activity, lose weight and lower their blood pressure.

But setting yourself a goal of walking for an hour a day can be rather daunting if you are just starting out. It might be easier to achieve such a goal if you break it down and find ways to add in extra steps to what you already do: ten minutes here, and ten minutes there, for instance.

People who have used pedometers successfully to increase their daily activity do things like:

  • Park further away from entrances, eg at the supermarket or workplace,
  • Use the stairs rather than the elevator,
  • Take a walk at break times, and
  • Enjoy a stroll in the evening, for instance after dinner, with family or friends.

Activ8rlives says:  What a great piece of research.  It reinforces the messages, that being active every day (10k steps per day) is not just about weight loss.  Exercise AND achieving a healthy weight is what keeps us well.  Self-monitoring changes our behaviour, which is why when we wear an activity tracker like the Buddy or Personal step counter, our activity levels increase.  Working in groups maintains the incentive and momentum.  Keep doing those steps but break it up throughout the day as this research recommends – and take it one day at a time, gradually finding excuses to be more active.  www.activ8rlives.com 

 

Activ8rlives Food Diary Smartphone App Wins Award

Activ8rlives Food Diary Smartphone App Wins a place on ICT Knowledge Transfer Network and UK Trade and Investment stand at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 2013.

Against 10 finalists of the UK’s most exciting mobile and wireless SMEs, Activ8rlives wins a place at Europe’s biggest trade show for mobile and wireless – 70,000 delegates expected.

For the fifth year in a row the ICT KTN, working in association with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Mobile Monday London, held a competition open to UK-based SMEs with an innovative new mobile or wireless solutions, services or products.

10 finalists each gave a presentation to a panel of experts and an audience from the mobile and wireless sectors.

On offer were four free places to showcase each of the winner’s solutions or products on the UKTI stand at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, 25th to 28th February 2013.   The winners will be provided with stand space, support from UKTI with press and media activity to maximise coverage and company proposition and help with partnering other companies across the EU.

Activ8rlives was one of the winners selected by the panel and gained a high score in the audience vote.

For MWC 2013 the ICT KTN, Cambridge Wireless, UK Trade and Investment, XL Communications and Mobile Monday London will be working together to provide a comprehensive programme of activities leading up to and during MWC 2013 in Barcelona.

Dr Kevin Auton, founder and director of Activ8rlives said: “Winning one of these places in this dragon’s den style competition is a huge boost for us, so soon after we introduced the Food Diary Smartphone app.  All of the finalists have excellent technologies and we were delighted to have been selected from these for a place at Mobile World Congress 2013.  This is a significant opportunity for us to meet with the leaders in the sector, including those that will be shaping the future of how healthcare within the EU is delivered.  We are also hoping to meet other technology providers who could partner with us in developing the next generation of services in health and wellbeing.  The support from UKTI and ICT KTN will help us communicate our messages – MWC2013 will be a really big showcase for us.”

When Calorie Counting And Portion Sizes Fail To Make The Grade – Snap Your Food Instead!

Research suggests that calorie counting and measuring portion sizes are not successful in maintaining weight loss as people often miscalculate their intake by as much as 40%! That’s precisely why Activ8rlives has launched an innovative new picture-based Food Diary – a smartphone app and integrated website designed to help achieve a healthy lifestyle and successful weight management.

Keeping a food diary is certainly not a new concept and is currently used by millions of people across the globe to reduce their intake of food or lose weight. The theory is that by recording what we eat and drink, we will eat slowly and less, as we become more aware of our (bad) habits. However, whilst this makes sense in theory, it is often harder to maintain on a daily basis.

Kevin Auton, creator of the new Food Diary from Activ8rlives explains,

“The problem with traditional food diaries is that they very quickly become a chore and so people soon give up. That is a real shame, as research indicates that those who DO stick to their food diary are actually successful in losing weight or reducing their food intake. So, we decided to explore this concept further to try and find ways to make recording your food and drink interesting, interactive and most importantly, visual.”

The Activ8rlives Food Diary Smartphone app has made it easy and fun to keep a food diary.  Rather than trying to estimate the calories in a meal or drink, it simply takes and then sends a picture of each item of food or drink directly to the user’s on-line Activ8rlives account for self-monitoring of activity and weight.

The pictures are automatically displayed in the Food Diary page of the user’s account, where they can see everything they have eaten over the course of a week, categorised clearly by ‘good choice’ and ‘bad choice’. This information is then presented alongside their recorded fitness activity levels for the week and their weight change, uploaded from the Activ8rlives Step Counters and Body Analyser (smart scales).

Activ8rlives’ products not only support the Government’s Change4Life guidelines, but provide real and practical tools which can be used by everyone, claims Kevin.

“With the combination of our Step Counters, Body Analyser and Smartphone app, there is no need to count calories or points,” adds Kevin. “The pictures do all the talking! As a result, we become our own health trainers and can slowly change our diet and behaviour.  It’s simple, gentle and powerful,” he adds.

Activ8rlives’s Food Diary Smartphone Apps (Android, Blackberry and iPhone) are available for FREE.  Users can create a private account in Activ8rlives.com, which is subscription free.  There are no freemium-to-premium upgrades or on-going monthly fees.  No purchase is necessary to use the website and users don’t have to purchase Activ8rlives products to be able utilise the site. They can also manually enter data from any pedometer or bathroom scales.

Activ8rlives’s Buddy and Personal step counters and Body analyser, which upload data seamlessly to a user’s account, can be purchased direct from Activ8rlives.com or via Amazon.co.uk.

- ENDS  -

Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes for Health in the USA, says families and communities play key roles in curbing obesity.

Francis Collins shares the lessons gained after years of research:

  • For the individual, we need to overcome the perception that obesity is just a matter of willpower — blaming the victim doesn’t help.
  • For real change, individuals need to get past the crash-diet mentality to a lifestyle plan of healthy eating and increased physical activity.
  • People need tools that can assist them in making these changes, including support groups and Web- or cellphone-based tools that allow tracking of diet and exercise to provide feedback.
  • Families are crucial — unless the whole family gets involved in a plan to adopt a healthier lifestyle, it will be difficult for the individual to succeed.
  • Communities are essential to success. Public education programs are critical. Redesigning the built environment to promote active lifestyles and access to healthy foods needs to be a priority; schools need to develop healthier lunch programs and access to physical education.
  • Businesses that get engaged in providing incentives for a healthy lifestyle are finding that this yields results in productivity and reduced health care costs.
  • National policies need to promote healthy eating and active lifestyles instead of working against them.

Activ8rlives says:  This puts the challenges clearly and provides high level solutions. Families, communities and empowerment of each of us with the right tools, must be at the center of greater health and wellness for all of us.

New research suggests that if you want to lose weight, don’t try to do it alone.

Study found those who worked in groups, shed more weight – even if the group is led by a “expert patient” rather than a healthcare professional.

“Group-based weight-loss treatment produced weight loss, whether delivered by a professional or peer counsellor,” according to a study by Angela Marinilli Pinto, assistant professor of psychology at Baruch College of the City University of New York. “When people are in a group with others on the same journey, they feel there is that element of: ‘OK, this worked for him or her, perhaps it will work for me. Perhaps I can give it a try.’”

The research was published in the journal Obesity (October 9th, 2012).

Pinto and her team randomly assigned 141 overweight or obese men and women to one of three groups:  Group #1 got 48 weeks of behavioural weight-loss treatment from a healthcare professional.  Group #2 participated for 48 weeks in weight management programme in which the meetings are led by members who have achieved and maintained a healthy goal weight [lay people or “expert patients” as our NHS calls us].  Group #3 got a combined treatment – they first had 12 weeks of behavioural weight-loss treatment from a healthcare professional and then transitioned to 36 weeks of the group weight management programme.

The findings were a surprise. After nearly a year (48 weeks), the researchers found no evidence that adding brief treatment led by healthcare professionals, and then transitioning to a weight management program, improved results.

At 48 weeks, those in the professionally led group had lost 11.9 pounds, while those only in lay person-led group lost more (13.2 pounds). The combination group lost the least — 7.9 pounds, on average.

The weight management group which was led by people who had also lost weight (the expert patient) produced better weight loss than this novel approach of combining peer and professional-led processes.  “Better meeting attendance is associated with better weight losses.”

The study shows that there is no evidence that adding professional guidance improves weight loss over peer-led groups.

The results are a bit surprising, said Connie Diekman, director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, because most evidence has found that education by registered dieticians or behaviour therapists enhances understanding of weight loss and boosts adherence.

“The study does demonstrate that regular involvement in weight-loss groups helps with weight loss,” she said. “This point should be considered when people think about weight loss — doing it alone may not yield success.”

 

Activ8rlives says:  This is an interesting study.  It shows that we do not need healthcare professionals to lead weight-loss programmes.  What most of us really need is a bit of education, a bit of guidance and a bit of help from others who are “walking their talk.”

Self-monitoring, working in a group and constant interaction with members of a group whose members share a strong sense of identification, is a powerful way to make sustainable changes in our behaviour.  These changes lead to the improvements in health we are all seeking.

The output of this study should have major impact on the way in which we think about the management of obesity in our society and have a profound affect on the thinking of policy makers, as responsibility for our health and wellbeing moves from the UK’s NHS to local authority control in 2013.

Being active every day really does keep you young at heart – and tames type 2 diabetes.

We all grow old.  But we age at different rates.  If you have type 2 diabetes, your heart and lungs age faster than if you do not have the condition.  Exercise may be able to slow this aging, according to researchers.   Research from 2010 also claimed that exercise can “tame” type 2 diabetes.

Amy Huebshmann, from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said that exercise can actually help bring aging of type 2 diabetes patients closer to healthy individuals’ aging rates.

This University Research team found that people to stop exercising as much as they did when they were younger. Healthy adults’ fitness levels are lowered by around 10% for every 10 years after the age of about 40-50.  What is more, people with type 2 diabetes do 20% less exercise than healthy individuals, regardless of whether the patients were adolescent, middle-aged, or older.   They also found that not only does type 2 diabetes reduce fitness levels at every stage of life by 20%, but other daily life activities are hindered as well. Simple tasks such as going for walks may be difficult for these individuals.

This reduction in physical activity among type 2 diabetes patients increases their risk of death and early disability, says Heubschmann. “It means you might move into an institutionalized setting, such as an assisted living facility, much earlier.”

The good news is that exercise can reduce the risk of early aging. Fitness levels of those with type 2 diabetes can be improved by up to 40% after 12 to 20 weeks of normal exercise, Huebschmann explained, “In other words, these defects are not necessarily permanent. They can be improved, which is great news.”

This study reiterates the importance of diabetics finding the motivation to exercise, and provides hope for patients who need to lower their risk of cardiovascular problems linked to diabetes.

Huebschmann said “People with diabetes are typically less physically active, but the majority of those patients say that their doctors told them to be active. There’s a disconnect between what patients known they should do and what they actually do.  Type 2 diabetes has a significant negative impact on health, but that impact can be improved with as simple an intervention as regular brisk walking or other physical activity that most people with diabetes can do.”

Activ8rlives comments:  Every study shows the benefits of being active every day.  It is not just about weight management, but it is also about staying healthy.  Any activity is good:  walking to school, playing golf, cleaning the car, dancing, house work – literally anything which gets us moving – is good for our long term health.  The study shows that if we are not active, we age faster.  It also shows that it is never too late to start being active and this can help improve health even with a long-term condition such as type 2 diabetes.  Use an Activ8rlives step counter – it is a powerful way of learning how to be active within the constraints of a busy day.

 

Diverse microbes discovered in healthy lungs shed new light on cystic fibrosis

For decades, doctors thought that bacteria did not grow in healthy people’s lungs. But an emerging body of research, including a new paper from Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, shows that the perceived wisdom is wrong. Far from being sterile, the study shows, healthy lungs are home to a veritable forest of microbes.

The paper, which appeared in Science Translational Medicine, compares the microorganisms in the lungs of healthy people and cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. CF is a genetic disease that causes severe, progressive lung dysfunction and death from respiratory failure. Healthy people have far more diversity in their lung microorganisms than those with CF and the mix of lung bacteria differs substantially between the two groups, researchers found.

For example, the researchers confirmed the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the lungs of CF patients, where it is frequently associated with pneumonia.  In contrast to this well-known pathogen, a large proportion of the microbial residents in healthy people’s lungs have never been grown in a lab.

Researcher David Cornfield, MD, a Packard Children’s pulmonologist who treats patients at the Cystic Fibrosis Centre at Stanford, likens the lung to a rainforest, speculating that the decreased diversity in the CF lung’s microbes may be just as harmful as allowing one species to take over in a delicately balanced ecosystem of a rainforest.

Cornfield explained that the findings open a wide array of possibilities for novel avenues in the treatment of CF and other lung diseases:

“We may need to consider strategies that allow favourable microbes to exist while eradicating disease-causing species,” Cornfield said. “That paradigm, if it’s true, would really turn the care of patients with pneumonia and other lower-airway diseases on its head.” Future research might test whether CF or pneumonia patients could benefit from doses of probiotic bacteria to their lungs, he said.

By Erin Digitale, Stanford School of Medicine on 26th September 2012 

Activ8rlives comments: The more we learn about how our lungs work in health and disease, the more we realise that the environment within the lung is a highly complex ecosystem.

While there is an extensive array of home-use tools available to help support those with other long-term conditions such as type 1 and 2 diabetes, there are very few to assist for those with Cystic Fibrosis.

The research taking place in academic centres of excellence such as Standford (USA) and Cambridge (UK) are providing highly valuable information which can be applied in the development of a next generation of care-at-home products that are much needed for this under represented group of patients.

It is estimated that around 100,000 people have Cystic Fibrosis.

Background

Pseudomonas is a gram-negative rod that belongs to the family Pseudomonadaceae. These pathogens are widespread in nature, inhabiting soil, water, plants, and animals (including humans).  Pseudomonas aeruginosa has become a cause of infection, especially in patients with compromised host defence mechanisms.

It is the most common pathogen isolated from patients who have been hospitalized longer than 1 week.  It is a frequent cause of nosocomial infections such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and bacteremia.  Pseudomonal infections are complicated and can be life threatening.  People with COPD and CF often have exacerbations in which this organism suddenly increases its activity leading to regular chest infections.  If not controlled quickly, the patient requires treatment with IV antibiotics in hospital.

Aseptika Ltd (Cambridgeshire UK), the parent company of Activ8rlives, is developing a home-based rapid and quantative test for bacterial respiratory infections in patients with Cystic Fibrosis, which if successful, will lead to a reduction in hospital admissions and stay length and improve healthcare outcomes.

This initiative is supported by a two-phase SBRI East competition – Improving the Health of People with Long Term Conditions – which was launched in February 2011.

Supported by NHS East of England, the European Regional Development Fund and the Technology Strategy Board, the SBRI East competition was looking to industry to bring innovative ideas that could be shown to make a difference to the care of people with long-term conditions.  Solutions were expected to enable the delivery of care closer to home and the empowerment of people to take greater control and responsibility for their own health and well-being.

Over 70 companies applied for SBRI East funding, some of whom are currently engaged in the health sector and others in different areas but with technology that could cross over into healthcare.

In phase 1 of the competition eight companies were awarded contracts of up to £100,000 to develop their ideas.  In phase 2, Aseptika Ltd was one of five companies to be awarded development contracts to further progress their ideas.

Contact details

Kevin A Auton Ph.D (Director)           t: +44 1480 352 821

Aseptika Ltd

www.activ8rlives.com

Physical activity levels are dropping around the world, led by declines in occupational activity.

A recent study shows that activity levels at the workplace in USA, the UK, China, Brazil, and India – have fallen in recent years, with the largest declines in China, according to Shu Wen Ng, PhD, of the University of North Carolina.

And that trend – believed to be related to changes in the types of jobs people are doing, mechanization, and use of computers – is expected to continue over the next few decades.

In the USA, total physical activity – measured using metabolic equivalent (MET) hours per week -dropped by 32% from 235 in 1965, to 160 in 2009, and it is projected to decline even further to 126 by 2030.  As with all of the countries, most of the decline occurred in occupational activity, with slight declines in home-based and transportation-related activity. Leisure activity saw some gains, but not enough to make up for the other trends.

In the UK, total MET-hours per week dropped by 19% from 216 in 1960 to 173 in 2005, and it is projected to fall to 140 by 2030. Trends were generally similar to those in the U.S., except for a rise in transportation-related activity attributed to environmental-related policies and urban planning.

Occurring along with those trends, leisure sedentary time is expected to rise in both countries – to 42 hours per week in the U.S. and 52 hours per week in the UK by 2030.

Activ8rlives says:  Nearly everyone who is fortunate enough to have a job says the same thing:  “I don’t have time to exercise, I am too busy working and looking after my family and there are just not enough hours in the day.”

We sense that while we are working harder than ever, especially during the global economic downturn, we do the type of work that has us sitting at a computer or not actually moving about much.

There is not much we can do about how the world of work is changing or the global economy.  But we can adapt to it by finding excuses to be active throughout our day.  This awareness or mindfulness as we call it, is a change in behaviour which is easily learned and one we can teach to others in our family. Wear an Activ8rlives Buddy or Personal step counter for a month and notice how your patterns of behaviour change as a result of this self-monitoring and increased mindfullness.

I like to keep in mind Edward Stanley’s saying:  “Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”  Mr Stanley was the 15th Earl of Derby and made this statement in 1873.  So we have known about this link between activity and good health for a while.

Just for today only, make a commitment to achieve 10,000 steps if your health permits.  Whether you are successful or not at achieving this, try again tomorrow. Taking it one day-at-a-time, everyone can make a little more room, however busy the schedule, to be active, keep healthy and stay well.

Belly fat link with diabetes risk in obese adults. Study also finds insulin resistance also a factor in developing type 2 diabetes.

Obese adults with excess abdominal fat and insulin resistance are more likely to develop diabetes than obese adults without these characteristics, a new study suggests according to research published in the Sept. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study included more than 700 overweight people, aged 30 to 65, who did not have diabetes or cardiovascular disease at the start of the study.

During an average follow-up over seven years, 11.5% of the participants developed diabetes, according to a journal news release.

Having excess visceral fat (fat located inside the abdominal cavity, around the internal organs) and insulin resistance was associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

But obese adults with higher amounts of total body fat and subcutaneous fat (underneath the skin) did not have this increased risk, the study found.

In insulin resistance, the body does not use the insulin – a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar – properly.

The research suggest that assessing fat distribution and insulin resistance in overweight adults may help identify those at increased risk for developing diabetes, said Dr. James de Lemos, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre, Dallas USA.

The study uncovered an association between abdominal fat and diabetes risk, but didn’t prove the existence of a causal relationship [it did not prove that having high visceral fat was the cause of type 2 diabetes, just that those with high visceral fat were more likely to develop the disease].

The researchers noted that rising rates of overweight and obesity have contributed to a doubling in type 2 diabetes incidence over the past three decades.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, news release, Sept. 18, 2012

Activ8rlives says:  The links between visceral fat and increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes have been known for some time.  This study, over a longer period of time (7 years) adds to the evidence of this link.  The authors of this research clearly indicate that it is not just being overweight which is the risk factor, it is where our bodies store this fat which may be the risk.  The Activ8rlives Body analyser allows those who are concerned about this risk factor to monitor themselves and from this, gain insights as to how they can reduce their visceral fat levels through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes.

New USA survey shows that people who eat more fruit and vegetables have lower rates of obesity.

Latest survey in the USA shows that the states with the highest consumption of fruits and veggies have among the lowest rates of obesity.  So who’s munching most on fibre-rich, nutrient dense produce? The residents of California; Washington, D.C.; Vermont; New Hampshire; and Oregon top the list of states highest in fruit and vegetable consumption.

But despite this, only about 1 in 4 adults in these top-ranked states are eating five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

The states with the lowest fruit and veggie consumption are West Virginia (7.9 percent), Louisiana (8.2 percent), Oklahoma (9.8 percent) and Mississippi (10.3 percent).  And how does this track with obesity rankings? Seven of the 10 states with the highest rates of obesity were in the bottom tier for fruit and vegetable consumption.

It’s a similar story with exercise. States where people report engaging in the most physical activity or exercise beyond doing their regular jobs, including Colorado, Utah, and California, also have the lowest obesity rankings.

Colorado has the best ranking.  Only about 21 percent of Coloradans are obese, followed by Hawaii, with an obesity rate of 22 percent.  Mississippi has an obesity rate of 34.9 percent, followed by Louisiana at 33.4 percent, and W. Virginia at 32.4 percent.

Activ8rlives says:  Just goes to show that the UK’s Department of Health and its excellent Change4Life programme got the formula right:

([5 x fruit or veggies]  + 60-minutes of activity)/day = healthy (and probably happier) people.

Activ8rlives moves to its own dedicated server

Activ8rlives is pleased to announce that it has moved to its own dedicated secure servers.  Due to expansion, the site and its secure database has now been housed on dedicated server which will also increase the speed of data presentation and will allow for continuous up-scaling to support the growing number of users.

All users have the ability to upload an unlimited amount of data, pictures and information which is stored securely.  Users accounts are free-for-life and there are no on-going subscription fees.  No purchase is necessary to register for or use Activ8rlives.

Kevin Auton Ph.D, Founder and Director commented:  “This is an important step forward for us.  It moves us to a position in which we can fully control and secure our services to our growing number of users and lays the foundation for the addition of new and addition functionality which is in development.  In the coming months, new services will be added which further extend Activ8rlives’s services, empowering users to be active, stay well and keep healthy through self monitoring and by working in groups.”

 

New online global Adventures promote healthy lifestyles

Walking around the World Adventures in Google Earth
Walking around the World with Activ8rlives using Google Earth

 

Activ8rlives launches Adventures  - a collaborative group game to promote increased activity,  healthier lifestyles and improved weight management. 

Activ8rlives launches its new Adventures game to add to its social network-based health and wellness system. Adventures helps groups of people to explore the World using the stunning satellite images from Google EarthTM – travelling along the route they have planned by being active every day.

Each group can plan a number of routes between any starting and finishing position on the globe. Routes can be straight lines or they can follow roads, rivers, cities, mountain ranges, golf courses, animal migration routes, famous trails, historic sites, art museums or locations of corporate subsidiaries’ following the terrain of Google Earths’ beautiful 3D topography maps. Group members can zoom down to their current location to explore the cities they are travelling through, see famous landmarks, check-out golf courses’ fly along valleys, soar over snow covered peaks or journey as a school class to visit partner schools located on different continents.

Each member contributes to the group’s journey steps by uploading their activity data from their Activ8rlives’ step counter, or they can enter it manually into their account – so no purchase is required to be a member of Activ8rlives or to use Adventures. The combined distance travelled along the planned route are shown to all members of the group in real-time.

Families, educators, youth group leaders and corporate wellness advocates can design their own routes to support local educational or corporate themes. There are no restrictions on where a group can travel to or how many adventures can be created.

The emphasis of this travel game is co-operation rather than competition and on the promotion of long-term engagement as opposed to short-term competitive challenges or races. The pace of progress along a route is set by the group’s collective level of activity. There are no time limits or imposed start or stop dates.  Groups may begin their adventure whenever they choose, take as long as they wish and take it one day at a time!

Adventures can be used by anyone of any level of fitness or sporting ability. It is ideally suited to those who do not consider themselves to be good at sports or who feel excluded from competitive sporting activities, but want to be active and healthy.

 

Notes to Editors:  Why add Adventures?

Being active and maintaining an appropriate weight, are the cornerstones of staying well and keeping healthy.  The London 2012 Games were an inspiration. They demonstrated how hard work and dedication by the athletes over many years, along with the support of their families and team mates, made it possible to achieve excellence in human performance.

Most of us will never be World-class gymnasts, track athletes or tennis champions. But all of us need to be active and remain active throughout our lives. This is not about crash diets or a short-term competitions.

Being consistently active makes positive contributions toward our ability to fight-off infection and significantly lessens the risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer by up to 40% (Cancer Research, UK). Being active lifts our mood and helps us maintain mental as well as physical health and wellbeing. However, being active has to be consistent, which means that it must be sustainable within our busy daily schedules.

Health guidelines recommend 60 active minutes a day for young people or 150 minutes per week for older adults. Activ8rlives’ activity monitors record the amount of activity we do each day. With its group-centric social network, Activ8rlives enables people to organise into groups (families, friends, classes, schools, departments or companies) to encourage each other to be active, achieve an appropriate weight and to maintain a healthy lifestyle, by incorporating “bouts” of activity within our working day and around our family and home lives.

Activ8rlives emphasises the use of self-monitoring as a way of changing our behaviour and this helps in adopting new positive habits – what is called social cognitive behaviour or “mindfulness” – being aware of our habits and ways of making positive changes when needed.

By self-monitoring our activity and being mindful of the requirement to achieve our daily “dose” of activity, we tend to do more; most users typically double their levels of activity when they begin self-monitoring with a sophisticated accelerometer which has to be accurate for the wearer to consider it believable.

As we do more, we feel healthier and start to feel the benefits of getting fit. But staying engaged can be a struggle and we are more likely to stick with it if we connect being active with our social or family networks.

Activ8rlives provides an infrastructure for people to work within their networks (and create new ones) while contributing data anonymously, which is used to play games. No other user is allowed to see the data of another – only the pooled group data such as the average steps per day, distance walked this month, average calories used, average weight lost etc., can be viewed by group members.

Adventures is therefore one of many ways in which Activ8rlives retains engagement and makes being active a sociable activity.

Exercising in midlife protects heart, says research (BBC News)

From an original article by Michelle Roberts Health editor, BBC News online

Making sure you get enough exercise in midlife will help protect your heart, according to research.

Even those who make the switch in their late 40s and 50s can still benefit, the study of over 4,000 people suggests.

And it need not be hard toil in a gym – gardening and brisk walks count towards the required 2.5 hours of moderate activity per week, say experts.

But more work is needed since the study looked at markers linked to heart problems and not heart disease itself.

And it relied on people accurately reporting how much exercise they did – something people tend to overestimate rather than underestimate [Activ8rlives:  many of us have discovered this when we start wearing the Personal or Buddy step counters :-) ].

In the study, which is published in the journal Circulation, people who did the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise a week had the lower levels of inflammatory markers in their blood.

Inflammatory markers are important, say experts, because high levels have been linked to increased heart risk.

 

‘Be active’

People who said they consistently stuck to the recommended amount of exercise for the entire 10-year study had the lowest inflammatory levels overall.

But even those who said they only started doing the recommended amount of exercise when they were well into their 40s saw an improvement and had lower levels of inflammation than people who said they never did enough exercise.

The findings were unchanged when the researchers took into consideration other factors, such as obesity and smoking, that could have influenced the results in the group of UK civil servants who were included in the study.

Dr Mark Hamer, of University College London, who led the research, said: “We should be encouraging more people to get active – for example, walking instead of taking the bus. You can gain health benefits from moderate activity at any time in your life.”

Maureen Talbot of the British Heart Foundation, which funded the work, said: “Donning your gardening gloves or picking up a paint brush can still go a long way to help look after your heart health, as exercise can have a big impact on how well your heart ages.

“This research highlights the positive impact changing your exercise habits can have on the future of your heart health – and that it’s never too late to re-energise your life.

“However it’s important not to wait until you retire to get off the couch, as being active for life is a great way to keep your heart healthy.”

Activ8rlives says:  Being active is a great way to keep all of you healthy not just your heart!  This research shows that it is never too late to begin being active, whether you are 8 or 80.  Start today and take it one day at a time.  Self-monitoring of our activity using a Personal or Buddy step counter and of our weight/body composition using a Body Analyser smart scale keeps us honest and accountable to ourselves.  Working in groups keeps us engaged over the long-term.  The consistency of daily activity and on-going engagement with our personal mission is the key to good health, as this 10 year study of civil servants shows.

Weight training ‘reduces diabetes risk’ new study shows.

BBC News Health – 7th August 2012

Researchers found regular weight training reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to a third, in the study of more than 32,000 men published in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal.

It is already well known that regular exercise can prevent the disease.  But the report is considered important as weights provides an alternative to aerobic exercises such as running for people who are not so mobile.

Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health in the US and the University of Southern Denmark followed the men over an 18-year period, during which time nearly 2,300 developed the condition.

They found 30 minutes of weights a day, five times a week could reduce the risk of diabetes by 34%.  But they also reported that even less regular exercise – up to an hour a week – had an impact, cutting the risk by 12%.

Nonetheless, aerobic exercise was still found to be slightly better with regular activity halving the risk.

The two combined had the greatest effect, reducing it by up to 59%, the study found.

Lead author Anders Grontved said: “Many people have difficulty engaging in or adhering to aerobic exericse.  “These new results suggest that weight training, to a large extent, can serve as an alternative.”

It is not clear if the same results would be found with women.

Activ8rlives says:  The consistent messages from each study is that exercise – any exercise – is good and reduces our chances of developing long-term illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  This study shows that consistent exercise using weights can be used in place of jogging/running for those who are unable to take the high impact on joints or who may be too overweight to leap about.  But note that the participants did 30 minute sessions, 5 days of each week.  That is a lot of gym time, which is great if you can fit it in during the working day.

But if you do not have access to a gym or have weights at home, getting out and walking to school, having a walk at lunchtime or completing part of your daily commute to work on foot, is an ideal way of increasing your activity levels (step count).

This study also shows that even very modest exercise is better than nothing at all.

Using a system such as Activ8rlives with its integrated Buddy and Personal step counters, Body Analyser and self-help social network structure, helps us learn how to be active and achieve an appropriate body weight.  By achieving this, we increase our chances of staying well.

Working-out in the middle of the working day. Sustainably active and healthy life-styles.

From Reuters – With the three-martini lunch gone the way of the typewriter, office workers are free to discover the healthier perks of midday movement.

An active lunchtime can range from the sweaty to the serene, experts say, from a full-out cardio blast to a walk in the park.  People who want to get in a good workout over lunch hour can do simple things like go for a walk,” said Dr. Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise.  “Think about it. Thirty minutes on a regular basis would meet the minimum threshold for physical activity.”

U.S. government guidelines state that adults 18 and older need 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days a week to be healthy. How intense should your midday workout be? For many, perspiration is the dividing line.

“Sweating is a huge obstacle for most people,” said Bryant, “but just sitting at the computer compromises posture and has health consequences.”Keep a water bottle and pair of walking shoes in your desk at all times and do not take these home.”

Activ8rlives recommends 60 minutes of gentle exercise such as walking – or 10,000 steps – every day if you can and you don’t have to get sweaty if you don’t want to.  Just being active on a daily basis is does more than just help you manage your weight.

Dr. Nicolaas Pronk, an expert on workplace wellness with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), said often workers’ lunch time is more limited than 30 minutes.

He recommends workers first focus on reducing prolonged periods of sitting with 10-minute breaks throughout the day.  “Sometimes these are called instant recess or booster breaks,” said Pronk, vice president of Health Partners Research Foundation in Bloomington, Minnesota.  “In the workplace setting, it may be most important to ensure that people do not sit for prolonged periods of time first, to stimulate overall increases in physical activity.”

Activ8rlives says:  a 30 minute walk at lunch time is a great way to be active and stay well.  Wearing a Buddy step counter or a Personal step counter all day helps us quickly learn what works best for us and helps us keep track.  Many users soon discover their own ways to build-in exercise in a sustainable and systematic way.  Its what we call “being mindful of being active.”

Staying healthy when you live with a long-term health condition. Being extraordinary by doing ordinary things, every day.

We wanted to repost a great article by Julie Desch in California.  Julie is a fifty-one year old retired physician with cystic fibrosis. She fills her days with treatments, eating, dog walks, working out, running a taxi service for her two teenage sons and coaching people with cystic fibrosis to live healthier lives. She is passionate about all things fitness related. We found her story an inspiration and her deeply honest narrative shows that whatever challenges we live with or problems we may have, these do not have to stop us from reaching high.  Power to you Julie!

Fifty Two (almost) and Going STRONG.  Reproduced with kind permission by Julie Desch.  July 2012

To give you an idea of what I mean by strong, here was my workout today: I squatted my weight twenty times, deadlifted my weight sixteen times, and did ten minutes of swings (225 to be exact) with a 26 pound kettlebell. Throw in a few sets of walking dumbbell lunges and planks for time, and I am very happy to be sitting as I write this article. This was actually a fairly moderate workout for me, as I’m only a few weeks out from being sidelined with pneumonia. And it was after walking the dogs for an hour.

As you might guess, I am a fan of exercise. I’ve discovered that the gym is the place where I am completely in charge of my body. Cystic Fibrosis (CF) has no input regarding how strong I can be. Yes, it does hamper me a bit on the treadmill, and I do get a bit winded during those swings, but I can bench press and squat and dead lift with anyone my size, regardless of her CFTR status [the gene mutation which causes CF] .

When living with a disease that has taken my sister, my brother and many friends, I am empowered by staying as strong as I can for as long as I can. So I may take it to an extreme at times and I will admit to being downright obsessive about training programs and exercise research. But this is my coping mechanism, and I’m sticking to it!

As a physician and one who follows CF research fairly obsessively, I can go on and on with the reasons why it is essential to exercise as part of your daily CF routine.

To briefly summarize, regular exercise for those with CF can improve your quality of life, increase your ease of doing every day tasks, strengthen your bones, improve your appetite, increase your fitness level, decrease the rate of decline of your lung function, improve your mood, decrease depression or anxiety if you are prone, and help you clear mucus from your lungs. It also will likely help you sleep better, and may diminish the sense of breathlessness that accompanies lung disease. That’s just off the top of my head. I’m sure there are other reasons that have slipped my mind.  Exercise is great for those who don’t have CF as well!

As a trainer and wellness coach, I can assure you that the cysters and fibros that I have helped establish and maintain an exercise program have benefitted immensely from the process. They have loved it. They are amazing heroes who don’t let CF control them either. Cystic fibrosis may knock them down occasionally, but they get back up again. It becomes a part of life that they just don’t want to lose.

As a double delta F508 [one type of the mutations which causes CF] who is still using my very own lungs to suck air while swinging that kettlebell and pumping iron, I know that my exercise obsession is a huge factor in my success so far. I hope this article will inspire you to think of how to make daily exercise a part of your long and healthy life.

Activ8rlives says:  As we approach the London 2012 Games, hearing stories from people like Julie makes us mindful that many of life’s heros never win medals in grand stadiums, carry Olympic torches or get invited onto chat shows.  They live extraordinary lives by overcoming the obstacles which have been placed in front of them and by doing what for so many of us, are the day-to-day ordinary things. They are great role models and extraordinary champions.  An inspiration to us all.

Julie shares her experiences, strength and hope on her blog:  www.sickandhappy.com

 

 

People turn to high-calorie food first after fasting – eating sensible meals three times a day is the way to achieve a healthy body weight

(Reuters Health) – People who haven’t eaten for many hours turn to high-calorie foods like starches and proteins – not vegetables – once they can satisfy their hunger, a new study suggests.

And, researchers found, fasters ended up eating extra of whatever foods they chose to chow down on first at that meal.

The findings carry a message for anyone who goes for long spans of time without eating, researchers said. That includes patients fasting before a procedure or blood test, some dieters and medical interns working long shifts without a snack break, for example.

128 students were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group was told not to eat or drink anything after 6 p.m. the day before the lunchtime study. The other group, which acted as a comparison, was able to eat normally.

By the time students sat down for lunch on the test day, the fasting group had not had anything to eat for about 18 hours.

Each student was offered a buffet lunch of dinner rolls, French fries, chicken, cheese, carrots and green beans, while under video surveillance.

Using the video logs, the researchers recorded which foods the students ate off their plates first. They also measured how much students ate by embedding scales in the lunch table.

66% of the fasters first went for the dinner rolls, French fries, chicken or cheese, compared to 44% of students in the comparison group.

Fasters ended up eating almost 47 percent more calories of their first-choice food compared to other menu items.

The study cannot say why fasters went for the starches and proteins first, but it may have something to do with an internal drive to seek high-fat foods after a period of deprivation.

In a commentary published with the study, two nutrition researchers suggest the findings may be important for people who are experiencing hunger and food insecurity.

“I think we’re just starting to understand some of these factors with obesity, food insecurity and related factors as things that interrelate. I think it will be a missed opportunity if we don’t (look into this),” said Amy Yaroch, one of the commentary’s authors and the director of the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition in Omaha, Nebraska

Activ8rlives says:  All the guidance for being active, keeping healthy and staying well shows that starvation diets don’t work and skipping meals is a bad choice.  Starvation diets just encourage our bodies to think that we are entering into a famine and millions of years of evolutionary development that has gone into our bodies, compensates for this – increasing the levels of hormones controlling appetite after fasting is one of these mechanisms.  The advice from Change4Life is that small meals, comprising of healthy choices, three times a day is the best way to achieve a healthy body weight.  Yo-yo dieting happens when we don’t do this correctly.  People Yo-yo diet because when they crave instant results.

We see the effects of Yo-yo dieting when we self monitor using the Body Analyser:  during fasting-type diets, muscle is lost first before fat.  When we eat again (usually in excess because of the hormones triggered by starvation and hence we overeat), fat is added before muscle – this protected us during periods of famine when food was scarce for long periods.

But it becomes a viscous circle which can only be broken by eating sensible portions in regular meals made up of foods which are good choices.  Exercising consistently keeps our metabolism up.  Being mindful of the “secret calories” we often eat without thinking about between meals and not eating these, helps us to gently achieve a healthy body weight.

So our message is:  Be consistent and staying with it works.  Striving for the “5 minute wonder diet” does not – our bodies fight against these extreme regimes.

 

Children only get a third of recommended exercise a day.

Girls less active than boys by the age of eight

By FIONA MACRAE, Daily Mail.

PUBLISHED: 22:00, 20 June 2012

Many young girls only get 17 minutes of exercise a day, research suggests.  Boys fare little better, with the average eight to ten year old active for only 24 minutes a day.

The figures – which fall well short of the hour of daily exercise recommended – have been described by campaigners as unbelievable.

Girls only got an average of 17 minutes of exercise a day and they will fuel concerns about the future health of a ‘couch potato’ generation which prefers playing computer games to football.

Newcastle University researchers fitted 508 school children aged between eight and ten with monitors that recorded how active – or inactive – they were during their waking hours.  The results revealed how little time the children, from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, spent doing moderate or vigorous activities such as running, skipping or dancing.

Overall, only 4 per cent of their time was spent being this physically active – equivalent to around 20 minutes.  But this was an average figure for both sexes and girls were much less active than boys.

The researchers, who believe the picture to be the same nationwide, said children must get into the habit of exercising from a young age if Britain’s obesity time-bomb is to be defused.

Lead researcher Dr Mark Pearce said: ‘Given the importance of physical activity in maintaining good health, we know we need to get our kids more active.  ‘What we hadn’t known until now is how young we need to be catching them.’  He said it was worrying that even by the age of eight girls were less active than boys.  Previous studies have found that many girls lose interest in sport by their teens but it was not known just how early this lack of enthusiasm set in.

Dr Pearce said possible solutions include encouraging young girls to see female athletes as role models and offering a wider range of sports in schools, such as dance.

The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, also found the children of older fathers tended to be less active.  This could be due to older fathers having more senior posts at work and so putting in longer hours, leaving them less time to play with their children.  They may also have different attitudes to parenting or generally be less active.

Surprisingly, the study found that children whose parents restricted their TV viewing exercised less than those allowed to watch as much as they wanted.  Dr Pearce said it is possible that seeing sport on TV encourages youngsters to participate themselves, or the finding could simply be due to chance.

Growing appetites for junk food could mean today’s children risk being the first generation to die younger than their parents.  With almost a third of youngsters aged between two and 15 too heavy for their height, obesity experts warn that sedentary lifestyles and growing appetites for junk food mean today’s children risk being the first generation to die at an earlier age than their parents.

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said many children don’t have the motivation to exercise in their free time and schools must devote more time to PE.  He said: ‘Exercise alone won’t bring down obesity levels but it is desperately important to the health of the child.  ‘And it will make them concentrate better in the classroom and improve their behaviour.’

Department of Health guidelines say children aged between five and 18 should do at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activity each day, such as sports, brisk walking, dancing or cycling.  And they should do activities that strengthen the muscles and bones – such as skipping, gymnastics or sit-ups – three times a week.

Adults should be active for at least 30 minutes at least five days a week.

LIVING SPORT’s Sportivate programme funds young people in Cambridgeshire to walk around the World with Activ8rlives.com

Being active is important for our well being.  But what do you do if you don’t enjoy playing sport and you don’t fancy the gym and what do you do to stay active once you have left school?

Young people are being funded by LIVING SPORT’s, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough County Sports Partnership, Sportivate programme to join the “Walk Around the World” group hosted on the Activ8rlives.com website.

Group members will wear a sophisticated activity monitor on their arm, around their neck, on their ankle or attached to their clothing to measure how much activity they each do during the day.  The information is uploaded via a computer or entered into a Smartphone to their private on-line account which shows them how many steps they have taken, miles they have walked and calories they have burned.  The site can also be used to track their weight and body composition and can record their food and drink intake if they want to.  All of this information stays private and can only be seen by the individual.

By joining the Walk-around-the-World on-line group within Activ8rlives.com, the individual steps from each of the “walkers” are anonymously added together and the software plots their combined progress along a route displayed in Google Earth maps.  Each user can zoom into these maps at street level to explore every city the group walks through.

The first leg of their “Virtual World Tour” will take them through Europe, Iran, Pakistan, India, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia and into Singapore (9,583 km).  From there they will walk through Indonesia, hop across to East Timor before walking across Australia. The third stage includes a dramatic journey island hoping across the Pacific before heading north through the Americas and back to the UK via Canada.  Lets hope they all take a good pair of shoes with them.

A local company Aseptika based in Huntingdon has developed the website and a set of gadgets which feed information to it.  Their aim is to empower groups of people of any age to help each other take more exercise, make better food choices and stay healthy.  Already one group of 17 Huntingdon residents have embarked on this epic journey as a fun way of keeping healthy and staying well.

LIVING SPORT via Sport England’s Sportivate initiative is providing £35 funding each for 25 people who are between 14-25 towards the purchase of the Company’s activity monitor (the Buddy step counter) and its colourful accessories.  The contribution from each participant will be just £4.95.

Sportivate is a £32 million Lottery programme that gives 14-25 year olds access to courses in a range of sports.  The programme is aimed at those who are not currently choosing to take part in sport in their own time.  A Key objective of Sportivate is that they support the participants to continue playing sport and being active once each six week course has finished.  The Activ8rlives.com pilot is unusual in that the 25 participants may never meet each other, but will support and motivate each other on-line via the private and secure social network part of the Activ8rlives.com site.  Each group member of the “expedition” will use the Buddy step counter to discover new ways of being active in their everyday lives and measure how far they walk each day.  The scheme will last for as long as it takes to complete the World Tour – probably about 12 months.

So if you see some determined looking young people striding through Huntingdon, give them some encouragement and a wave – they may be walking across a desert, swimming an ocean or navigating through a dense rainforest.

The scheme is open to everyone irrespective of ability or gender but you must be aged 14-25 and live in Cambridgeshire.  For details call 01480 352 821, email us at walkaroundtheworld@activ8rlives.com or register on activ8rlives.com and join the “Walk around the World” group (search for “Walk around the World” on the Groups Page once you have registered).

The use of the Activ8rlives.com site is free and is subscription-free for life.  No purchase is required to use the site.  The Company sells its Buddy step counter and Body Analyser via its website www.activ8rlives.com

 

Contact Details

Aseptika Ltd (Activ8rlives.com)

Kevin.auton@aseptika.co.uk

T: 01480 352 821

 

LIVING SPORT

Ross Hayward (Sport Projects Coordinator & Sportivate Lead)

ross.hayward@livingsport.co.uk

T: 01487 849915

Starbucks discloses calories on pricing board – 10/10 for Starbucks!

Starbucks once again show that they are ahead of the pack in providing information to its customers.

On its pricing boards in its cafés, website and free Smartphone Apps, Starbucks now publish the calorie content of their drinks and snacks.  This allows us to make informed choices about what we eat.

It takes a lot of effort to achieve this level of detail and Starbucks are to be congratulated for leading the way.

I will now switch to Venti Americanos without milk (23 calories) from an equivalent sized Cappuccino with full fat milk (196 calories).  Easy choice.  No one is telling me what I should be doing, but I now have all of the information at hand so that I can make my own choices.  As such, Starbucks have empowered me to decide.  We applaud Starbucks for making this information available and would encourage other chains to do the same.

I know where I will be drinking my coffee from now on.

Activ8rlives.com

 

Friendships influence kids’ activity levels

While children do not make or break friendships based on physical activity, a new study suggests their social network of friends can greatly influence how much they move. The research was published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.

“We tend to think of teenagers as being very influential amongst their peers, but now we’re seeing this in a younger age group as well,” said study author Sabina Gesell, assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“So with that influence, friends can bring each other up in their activity level or can bring them down to become more sedentary, depending on what they are doing themselves,” she added.

Gesell and colleagues studied 81 children between the ages of 5 and 12 during a 12-week after-school program.  They interviewed the children about who they were hanging out with the most.  Children were equipped with devices called accelerometers to measure their levels of activity.

When given the choice to keep their activity levels the same or change them to match those of their pals, children were six times more likely to choose the latter. They became more active or more sedentary, depending on the activity levels of their closest friends.  Many maintained their current levels of activity.

Gesell called the notion of using social networks to form interventions in the fight against childhood obesity “novel” and “promising.”

She suggested that rearranging who plays with whom during playgroups in after-school programs could make impact.

“If we have groups who are typically sedentary, if we can sort of splinter them off and insert those kids into groups of active children, then those sedentary kids should become more active,” she said. “We should be able to see this change within 12 weeks.”

Dr. William Stratbucker, a pediatrician and the medical director of the Healthy Weight Center at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, agreed that this study highlights a scenario that could impact obesity prevention.

He noted that, “some kids chose to sit around and play games and other kids chose to run around and play on the playground.”

Stratbucker said, “One big take-home message is that parents have to be aware of where their kids spend time during the day and if they’re spending time in an after-school care program, which is very common, they need to be aware of what the environment’s like there and what opportunities there are for the kids to be active.”

Activ8rlives says:  this is a very powerful study.  Knowing what we are doing, either as individuals or as a family group, can influence our decisions.  The use of accelerometers (the chip used in the Activ8rlives step counters  - sometimes called pedometers) for this study group provides objective information and empowers parents to make decisions.  Extending this into the use of social networks to encourage and promote activity is novel and promising.  It also works.

 

Activ8rlives News Letter (May 2012)

New products and services

As we fast approach the London 2012 Games, it is good to see so many people, at all levels of ability, inspired to be more active and to think about long-term health and wellbeing.  This growing awareness is tangible and it is exciting to be part of movement as it builds.

Activ8rlives.com has recently introduced several new features that we want to tell you about:

 

New version of the Activ8rlives Service Link software

This streamlines the upload process from your Buddy and Personal step counters and your Body Analyser, to your Activ8rlives.com account. 

The new version of the A8 Service Link automatically retrieves your account’s UNIQUE ID for you, making set-up and adding new users much easier.  Our beta testers liked the new version.  It is now also available for both Windows and Apple PCs from the Activ8rlives.com website.

To download the new A8 Service Link software, login to your account, go to the Technical Support page (tab at the top right of each page) and click on the link for either Windows or Apple software.

Once installed, if you have the older version, just delete the icon from your desktop leaving the new icon in place.  You can go to the Technical Support page by clicking here.

Your will also find the latest versions of the manuals on the Technical Support page for the Buddy and Personal step counters and the Body Analyser, which show how to install the new A8 Service Link and how to use it with your devices.

 

New version of the Personal step counter (stores 30-50 days of data)

Version 4 of the Personal step counter is now available and can be used with the new A8 Service Link for Windows and Apple PCs.  This is a big step forwards for us in the design of this well-liked 3-axis accelerometer.  Slim profile, big buttons, ability to zero the screen without wiping the memory and 30-50 day data store.

If you have purchased a Personal step counter from Activ8rlives within the last 12 months, then until the start of the London 2012 Games, we will offer you a free upgrade to this brand new unit.    So if you would like a shinny new one, send us your old one (version 3) in whatever state it is in and we will give you replacement – at no cost.  Just tell us if you want your new unit in Black, Pink or Blue. We want you to love the new Personal step counter too!

 

Ability to manually add 7 days of step and weight data to the Activ8rlives site

Our NHS colleagues requested the ability to add up to 7 days of data.  It has taken us a while to work-out how to do this without causing problems when you also use a Buddy or Personal step counter, but it is now in place and is working well. 

Activ8rlives is unique in that we are the only company selling step counters and body analysers who offer a completely free website (no fees, credit cards or freemium to premium upgrades) and who also do not require you to buy our products to use it.

Just create an account, type in your data and join in using pedometers and bathroom scales you may already have at home.  This makes our technology accessible to everyone, especially large groups in schools, community projects or other groups funded by public services who may not have the funds to invest in new equipment.

 

Wish you were here?

Working in a group is a powerful motivation, helping us to introduce positive changes and to turn these new behaviours into lasting habits.  To make it more entertaining, we have added the ability for you to post photos on the pages of your Group space as part of a comment you make to the group.

An ever more important way in which Activ8rlives brings about changes in our behaviour, we are harnessing the power of the social networking experience by linking it with the objective information we generate about ourselves.  It is what the psychology boffins call “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy” (CBT).  Whatever! We just try to make it fun while being healthy and staying well.

For example, some use this new feature to post pictures of Google Maps showing the progress along a route made by their group.  Or post views recorded during a great walk.  Or images from their Smartphones of disasters in the kitchen with their latest recipe for zero-fat, no carb, whole bean tofu salad J  Make it fund and share.

It is noticeable that the more an individual posts to their group, the more likely they are to achieve the lasting changes in behaviour they desire. Its that CBT thing again.  And it works.

 

Personal Trainer and Family Wellness systems launched

Achieve lasting health benefits for the whole family for a one-off investment.  No upgrade fees, or monthly retainers, no embarrassing weigh-ins in front of other people.  You work together as a team.  You set the pace of change.  You see the results.  Together, we can do it!

Personal Trainer:  We have now packaged a complete kit for the individual (black Personal step counter v4, matching arm/ankle strap, lanyard with protective sleeve, Body Analyser and manuals) for just £99.95 – a saving of £25 compared with when items are purchased separately.

Family Wellness system:  For the family, we have introduced a package of four Personal step counters (two black, a blue and pink) with matching coloured arm/ankle straps, lanyard protective sleeves and shoulder bags, Body Analyser and manuals) for an amazing price of just £199.95!  If purchased separately, the total cost would be £340.

This means that a family of four can enjoy a complete Activ8rlives health and wellness experience for a one-off cost of under £200 – with no ongoing per-user fees to pay for or weekly meetings to fund.  If you don’t like the colours, we can make a custom package for you at no extra charge.  Available now via our website and Amazon.co.uk.

 

Smartphone apps are coming!

In June, we will launch Smartphone apps for iPhone, Android and Blackberry. This will include a revolutionary new feature unique to Activ8rlives.  We will inform you about this important announcement separately.

 

Major announcement

Activ8rlives’ parent company (Aseptika Ltd) will be announcing an exciting initiative which will take the service to new levels and to an ever wider group of participants.  We anticipate being able to share this news with our users in early July.

 

Activ8rlives to support 3K and 10K fun run in aid of Hullabaloo

Sunday 17th June, Alconbury Airfield, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire UK. 

We are proud be a Silver sponsor of this great event for the local community – just ordinary people turning out to run or walk together, making a difference to their health and also supporting great local causes.  Activ8rlives will be at the event raising money for the Hullabaloo by offering to measure visitor’s BMI, visceral fat and muscle content with our Body Analyser for £1.  Hullabaloo raises money for local causes.  Details of the run at Alconbury Airfield can be found here.

 

User news

Congratulations to “T it Works!” from Imtech Aqua in Swavesey (Cambridgeshire) for their great effort in completing the London Moon Walk this month and for raising money for breast cancer care and treatment.

After months of training in which the group doubled their daily activity rate, the team set-off to London for the over-night Moon Walk dressed in their modest and unassuming costumes.

Well done ladies for your hard work, your achievements and the money raised for breast cancer causes.

Congratulations are also due to the Elizabethan Diamonds:  The Diamonds have amassed over 11 million steps on their walk from the UK to Melbourne (Australia) via Google Earth and together, have walked 7,288 kms. 

This is a group of 17 residents aged from 9 to 80 with varying athletic abilities.  As a group, they have doubled their activity levels since starting-out in February 2012.  The Diamonds are presently pounding across the rugged terrain of Afghanistan.  Mind your step on those steep mountain passes folks.  If you would like help in setting-up your own globe trotting group, call us for advice, help and support (Activ8rlives t: 01480 352 821).

If you have a story or would like to share your experiences of training for a charity walk for example, do send them to us to include in the next news letter.

Wishing you all continued health, wellbeing and happiness.  10,000 steps, one-day-at-a-time.

Kevin A Auton Ph.D, Founder and Director

Activ8rlives.com

Subsidizing exercise and fitness-related lifestyles in middle age could significantly reduce the ballooning cost of health care in later years, a new study of more than 20,000 people suggests.

Fitness in Middle Age Lowers Medical Costs Later: USA Study Results suggest preventive efforts focusing on lifestyle choices are well aimed.

By Ellin Holohan
HealthDay Reporter

The study, slated for Thursday presentation at an American Heart Association meeting in Atlanta, found that fit middle-aged men and women had significantly lower medical expenses later in life compared to people who failed to stay in shape.

The more-fit study participants had 38 percent lower medical costs many years later, measured by Medicare and other insurance claims from 1999 through 2009.

“We wanted to determine if higher levels of physical fitness in middle age are associated with lower costs later in life,” said study author Dr. Justin Bachmann. “We found that fitness confers dividends later in life even when other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure and obesity are controlled for.”

The implications of the findings give “credence to efforts like Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ campaign,” he said. The First Lady has initiated a project aimed at reducing childhood obesity through exercise and proper nutrition.

Levels of fitness were determined by a treadmill test measuring metabolic equivalents (METs), Bachmann said. The higher the METs, the more fit a person is. People who exercise regularly perform better on the test because they have greater aerobic capacity, which translates into better cardiorespiratory health and lower costs later in life, he said.

The study was a collaboration between the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center and the Cooper Institute, both in Dallas.

Researchers screened participants for previous heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Of the 20,489 given a “healthy” designation, 16,186 were men and 4,303 were women, with an average age of 51. When Medicare costs and other insurance payments were compared, the average age was about 72, Bachmann said. The study participants were drawn from the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, a repository of health-related data from close to 100,000 patients collected over the past four decades.

Many of the study participants were business executives who went to the center for physicals and represent “an unusually healthy cohort,” reducing the effect of confounding factors, Bachmann said.

The analysis controlled for health risks, such as smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and body-mass index (BMI). Body-mass index, used to measure the impact of obesity, is based on a combination of height and weight in adults.

Even in the presence of risk factors, better fitness in middle age predicted lower medical costs later.

The least-fit group at the study’s onset had higher risk factors across the board. For example, 31 percent of the most out-of-shape men smoked, compared with 9 percent of the most-fit men. About 5 percent of the least fit men had diabetes, vs. less than 2 percent of men in the best condition. A similar pattern existed for women in the study.

Average annual claims for medical costs for the least-fit men, at $5,134, were about 36 percent higher than the average of $3,277 a year for the most-fit men. The average medical claims of $4,565 for the least-fit women were about 40 percent higher than the $2,755 average for the most fit.

Another expert called the study “quite compelling” and connected the results of the treadmill tests to regular exercise, promoting it as a path toward fitness.

“Exercise is the best medicine we have,” said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Noting that exercise has an impact on blood pressure, diabetes and even mood, she said “the positive effect of exercise on the body is powerful and it’s empowering.”

Exercise affects “so many chronic conditions leading to major health care costs,” said Steinbaum, who also is the hospital’s director of women and heart disease. “We should have financial support for people to go to gym facilities.”

People who are more fit should “get some benefit” from insurers, Steinbaum said. Society should “give them the ability to become fit,” and then “give people a reward when they demonstrate” fitness, she added.

Because the new study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Activ8rlives.com says:  These types of studies in the USA are of great interest to us in the UK where the real costs of ill health are hidden from us because of our great universal healthcare-for-all system.  NHS services are therefore seen as “free”.  They are of course, paid for through taxation and the costs have escalated so high that our nation can no longer afford them.

In the USA where healthcare is big business, the costs of providing this can be calculated precisely and insurance levels are set according to claims – like car insurance.  If we each held our own “budget” for our healthcare, from birth to death and when we had spent it, that was it, would we take more care of ourselves and be more responsible for our own health and well being?  It is an interesting debate.

This study shows that physical activity and healthy weight means during our middle age keeps us well when we are older.  My Buddy step counter shows that I have only got to 8,800 steps so far today.  Think I will nip out tonight and squeeze in another few thousand.  Keep stepping, one-day-at-a-time!

Power walkers to keep abreast of fundraising using Buddy step counters from Activ8rlives.com (Cambridge Evening News, UK)

A team of power-walking women will storm through the streets of London in decorated bras to raise money for breast cancer research.

By Leanne Ehren, Cambridge Evening News (UK)

9th May 2012

Front, from left, Heather Saunders, Denise Barrell, Nicky Barrett, Zoe Morgan; back from left Sally Boyle, Alicia Burrows, Sandra Peckham, Linda Sancaster and Nicky Chalklin with their step counters

Front, from left, Heather Saunders, Denise Barrell, Nicky Barrett, Zoe Morgan; back from left Sally Boyle, Alicia Burrows, Sandra Peckham, Linda Sancaster and Nicky Chalklin with their Buddy step counters
Team “T it Works” from Swavesey firm Imtech Aqua have been training hard for three months to walk the London MoonWalk on Saturday evening.

The 11 women have been monitoring their steps after being given a Buddy step counter, linked to a supportive social network site, by Huntingdon-based Activ8rlives.com and have amassed 2,414 training miles between them – the equivalent of walking to Turkey.

The MoonWalk is a first for many of the team, including Sally Boyle, who said: “You don’t quite realise how far a mile is until you start training.

“When you get in your car and measure out half a marathon or 13.1 miles, suddenly you realise what you’ve signed yourself up for!”

Participant Alicia Burrows said: “Training together and using the site has definitely spurred us on.

“Everybody has different peaks and troughs in their training and this way we can really support each other. Being pushed up a hill is always a great help!”

The women will be joining 15,000 participants in the MoonWalk to raise money for Walk the Walk, which distributes grants to charities and organisations to help battle breast cancer.

Everyone will be donning brightly coloured bras as they walk through the night to finish either 13.1 miles, which nine of this team are completing, or the full 26.2 miles which two Imtech Aqua members, Sandra Peckham and Nicky Chalkin, are tackling.

Sandra added: “I think each of us has been touched by breast cancer in one way or another. Some of us have friends who are going through treatment at present.

“The atmosphere at the event is fantastic and the money raised supports breast cancer projects across the UK.”

Donate at www.walkthewalkfundraising.org/t_it_works.

Activ8rlives says:  We are really proud of your achievements and it has been an honor to support your training for this event.  The “T it Works” group data shows that you have together, doubled your activity levels while training for the Moon Walk, walking over 6 million steps together and we all wish you every success for the actual event. Go Team “T it Works!”

Is King Canute Advising the Government on strategy to counter obesity? by Jim Cowan, April 2012.

This week, we feature an article by Jim Cowan, a commentator on healthcare, who explores where the responsibility for tackling obesity lies.  Jim comments on the latest report which forecasts the growing costs to the NHS of treating diabetes. 

“Last week a new report forecast that by 2035 diabetes would cost the NHS 17% of its entire budget with obesity being a major contributing factor.

In place of decisive action to stem the tide, the [UK] Government are employing a strategy of asking people nicely and hoping lifestyles will change; more a King Canute style policy of inflated self-belief based on little but hope rather than clearly mapped out actions and measures.

A new report from the York Health Economics Consortium due for publication in late May, warns that the majority of NHS spending on diabetes is avoidable. The ‘Impact Diabetes’ report, commissioned by Diabetes UK, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Sanofi, suggests that 80% of the NHS’s £9.8bn annual UK diabetes bill goes on the cost of treating complications. Experts advise that much of this is preventable with better health checks and better education.

Baroness Barbara Young from Diabetes UK said; “The report shows that without urgent action, the already huge sums of money spent on treating diabetes will rise to unsustainable levels that threaten to bankrupt the NHS.

“If this rise in diabetes is allowed to continue, as is happening at the moment, it will simply be disastrous for the NHS and wreck NHS budgets. I think we have a car crash coming.”

“But the most shocking part of this report is the finding that almost four-fifths on NHS diabetes spending goes on treating complications that in many cases could have been prevented.”

Among the areas requiring urgent attention from government is the ticking obesity time-bomb. However, far from acting decisively with strategy laying out clear actions and measures, successive governments have done fair impressions of King Canute sitting on the beach only in place of holding back the sea they believe they will hold back the obesity tidal wave.

In August last year the Telegraph reported that many of the world’s leading experts proposed that the time had come to tax unhealthy foods, the alternative maintenance of the status quo likely to result in nearly half of UK adults being obese by 2030.

Obese people suffer more with diabetes, heart disease and cancer posing a serious threat to the NHS’s ability to cope. The threat is so serious that The Lancet predicted that by 2050 fighting health problems caused by obesity would absorb over a third of the NHS’s budget.

Professor Steven Gortmaker, from the Harvard School of Public Health, said taxing unhealthy food and drink would save governments billions by reducing obesity-related illness as well as bringing in revenue. His analysis showed a ‘fat tax’ was the single most effective measure, in terms of lives saved. He said that such moves were effective and cost-effective to society.

Prof. Gortmaker went on to say that “so far, governments haven’t shown any leadership whatsoever. We have let the market do its work and it’s worked well to produce obesity.”

In the UK, Professor Klim McPherson, from Oxford University, criticised Coalition ministers for believing they could solve the problem without drastic action.

So, what of the Government’s strategy to tackle obesity?

David Cameron believes people can be “nudged” to better health by creating incentives to help them make better choices.

The Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said, “rather than nannying people we will nudge them. Nudges are very important. Tax is not a nudge, tax is a shove.”

Anne Milton, the Health Minister sounded more tuned in to the scale of the problem when stating last August; “We’re too fat and we need to do something about it.” She then went on to state, “we have no plans to impose a fat tax.”

When Prof. Gortmaker advises that a fat tax would be “more effective and cost-effective to society,” he identifies key components of good strategy which is to be effective, efficient and economical. Good strategy cannot and should not be based on merely hoping for positive outcomes.

Taking lessons in strategy from King Canute is not wise. Perhaps someone could give the Government a nudge (or maybe a shove) in the right direction before the weight of obesity breaks our NHS.”

© Jim Cowan, Cowan Global Limited, April 2012

Family dinners at home are healthier for our children

A study presented by Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA) at the American Society for Nutrition’s scientific sessions in San Diego shows that eating out (in the USA at least) is “generally associated with poor food choices and bad health.”

The researchers evaluated results from 68 previously published scientific reports considering the association between family mealtime and children’s health.

The review found numerous benefits to children associated with having frequent family meals, including increased intake of fruits, vegetables, fibre, calcium-rich foods and vitamins. In addition, the more a family ate together the less children consumed dietary components thought to be harmful to health such as soft drinks containing sugar.

Children in families with frequent family meals tended to have lower body mass index than those who enjoyed fewer family meals.

More than 40 percent of the typical U.S. food budget is spent on eating out but family meals at home are linked to healthier eating, the U.S. researchers said.

Activ8rlives says: Eating together as a family makes us mindful of what we are eating and we tend to eat more slowly when we are together than when we eat separately or in front of the TV.  Dinner is also an important time for the family to come together and communicate.

Portion sizes of meals in restaurants in the USA are larger than those in the UK and Continental Europe.  But we have the same problem:  Feeding a family in a restaurant can be a challenge. Finding something that children will eat usually means choosing restaurants which serve foods high in fat and sugar because they are quick to prepare and tasty.  Most children’s menus are pizzas, or something and chips.  We would like to see food chains who provide a standardised menu, publish their menus with the UK’s Food scoring system that we now see on ready meals and other snacks.  This will allow parents to make better choices when eating out.  The key message here is:  At home, you can prepare foods from raw materials and this gives greater control over what you eat. Eating out occasionally is fun and a treat for everyone.  The important word is “occasionally”.

Calories to be capped and cut in supermarkets by food manufacturers.

The country’s biggest supermarkets, food manufacturers, caterers and food outlets are joining forces to help cut five billion calories from the nation’s daily diet, the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced this weekend.

Asda, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Coca-Cola Great Britain, Kerry Foods, Kraft, Mars, Nestle, PepsiCo, Premier Foods, Unilever, Beefeater (Whitbread), Subway and contract caterer Compass have all joined the fight against obesity and are leading the way in signing up to the Responsibility Deal’s calorie reduction pledge.

England has one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe and some of the highest rates in the developed world. Over 60 per cent of adults and a third of 10 and 11 year olds are overweight or obese. Consuming too many calories is at the heart of the problem.

Making commitments today to cut and cap calories are some of the world’s biggest food and drink manufacturers and best known brands. More than three-quarters of the retail market has signed up. In addition, among the first signatories are some of the top caterers providing meals in thousands of out of home settings, including Subway’s 1,423 stores – ranked number two by total meals sold. The impact of these commitments will help millions of people eat and drink fewer calories.

The following examples highlight some of the initiatives being taken, which include companies actively promoting and incentivising customers to choose lower calorie options. For many these examples are just one part of a wider calorie reduction strategy.

The commitments include:

  • Asda will develop a new reduced calorie brand across a wide range of products that will contain at least 30 per cent fewer calories than their core Chosen by you brand;
  • Coca-Cola Great Britain will reduce the calories in some of its soft drinks brands by at least 30 per cent by 2014;
  • Mars will cap the calories of their chocolate items to 250 calories per portion by the end of 2013;
  • Morrisons will launch a range of healthier products developed by their chefs and nutritionists. More than 300 lines will be introduced, including low calorie and high fibre offerings. Key to this range will be an easy to read and understand labelling system;
  • Premier Foods, manufacturers of brands including Ambrosia, Batchelors, Hovis, Loyd Grossman, Mr.Kipling, and Sharwood’s, will reduce calories in one third of their sales by the end of 2014 and at least 30 per cent of new products will be lower calorie choices;
  • The Subway brand has committed to offer five out of their nine Low Fat Range Subs, each with fewer than 370 calories, as part of their £3 lunch offer; and
  • Tesco is on track to remove 1.8 billion calories from its soft drinks, will expand its Eat, Live and Enjoy range of low-calorie meals and is making it easier for shoppers to spot low-calorie options through its “Green Ping” labels.

Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley said:
Eating and drinking too many calories is at the heart of the nation’s obesity problem.
“We all have a role to play – from individuals to public, private and non-governmental organisations – if we are going to cut five billion calories from our national diet. It is an ambitious challenge but the Responsibility Deal has made a great start.
“This pledge is just the start of what must be a bigger, broader commitment from the food industry. But it is a great step in the right direction and will help million of us eat and drink fewer calories.”

Chair of the Responsibility Deal Food Network Dr Susan Jebb said:
“I am delighted that these first companies are leading the way on this calorie reduction programme which is vital to tackle obesity and improve public health. This is a very encouraging start displaying some creative and varied ways to encourage behaviour change.

“I am impatient to make progress, but it will take time to change the eating habits of the nation. This is a marathon not a sprint and we all have to commit to support this programme of work for years to come. I know some other companies are already developing their plans but we need everyone, all companies – from all sectors and all sizes – to step up and act for the good of the nation’s health.”

British Retail Consortium Food Director, Andrew Opie, said:
“Responsible retailers are dedicated to helping people make healthier choices. The new commitments on calorie reduction complement other work retailers are doing in areas such as calorie information, salt reduction and alcohol units. The next phase must be to consolidate the excellent foundation which so many businesses have helped to put in place.”

FDF Director General, Melanie Leech said:
Recognising the importance of the government’s Call to Action on Obesity in England, FDF has been working constructively alongside other stakeholders through the Public Health Responsibility Deal to develop a calorie reduction pledge. We welcome the approach of a menu of options, which should allow as many companies as possible to support improved public health whilst continuing to make a major contribution to the UK’s economic recovery. A number of FDF companies are making immediate commitments to support the calorie reduction pledge and we would expect other companies from right across the food and drink industry to join them over the next few months.”

Activ8rlives says:  this is an important step – but one of many that are required.  We welcome the focus on health and wellbeing that these initiatives bring.  One step at a time.

Fitting exercise around my working day – 10,000 steps, one day at a time.

Banking 10,000 steps a day – a personal story.

Got my 10k yesterday at 22:00 – really needed a good walk after being home with poorly child yesterday. Felt the stress draining away with every step. Really feel edgy if I don’t have the opportunity to walk during the day.  My daughter seems a lot better today so it will be a normal school day for her. This morning, my wife is going to do the school run – my turn for a day of meetings. Could be a challenge to get my steps in as I usually do the “Park and Stride” with my youngest daughter instead of driving all the way to the school gate. Parking 0.5 mile from the school and walking the rest every day usually allows me to bank 5,000 steps. Without this, I am going to have to keep an eye on the Buddy step counter throughout the day. I am seeing friends tonight, so there wont be time to go on a long “catch-up” walk tonight. Have to find excuses to keep moving.

07:30 – I am on the 07:30 train to London. Could have walked to the station but drove because I was a bit slow getting ready this morning – bad choice.  Parked as far away from the entrance to the station as I could. Already banked 2,300 steps. So what if I get the odd look because I am walking up and down the platform from one end to the other because I have a few minutes to spare. Everyone else just stands in a queue waiting of the train to arrive. At least I have already got 25% of my exercise for the day and I have not even started. Making up for my tardiness in getting ready this morning – good choice.  Sun breaking through the morning fog. Train crowded so no room to move.

08:30 – Caught an earlier train than I needed to so will get off the Underground one station away from my stop to bank more steps. No one wears ties with their suits anymore.  Decided to retain tie. I’m wearing my walking shoes (black of course) but don’t want to look too much like I am running an internet start-up. Could be tough reaching 10k with a day in London.

09:10 – 4997 steps on the Buddy step counter. Took the Piccadilly Line to Covent Garden rather than the Northern Line. Would have had to change anyway and probably would have done as many steps but underground. A walk through Covent Garden in the sunshine was a delight – a plethora of odors from stall holders making candles and knitting clothes with recycled belly button fluff etc. Always a delight.  Why is it there are so many mountaineering shops in Southampton street (altitidude above sea level approximately 35 feet)? Arrived at meeting 5 minutes early, feeling refreshed and alert.

11:37.  5,668 steps. In a great conference, but sat down. Fortunately, the loos are some distance from the conference room, facilitated by strong and plentiful coffee. Half way with my steps though. I have deliberately scheduled a 30 minute gap between the end of the conference and my next meeting which is a few streets away.

14:27.   9,407 steps.  Great walk across Trafalgar Square and via Piccadilly Circus to my next meeting.  Just time for a quick diet coke break (no more coffee for me today).  London in the spring and walking above ground – a treat even though a little hazy.  Have spoken to 5 people today about the benefits of staying activity and striving to maintain a healthy body weight. The more I tell others about the “secret” of Activ8rlives, the more it brings the technique to mind.  Whether they take in what I say or not, it keeps the mission central in my mind and therefore keeps me well.  Quite literally “Walking my talk”.  By the time I head for Kings Cross again, I will have achieved my 10k steps.  So fitting in exercise on a business trip to London is easy and a lot of fun – with a bit of planning and sensible scheduling.  And a lot more pleasant when done outside of a tube carriage or taxi.  Perhaps the real challenge is for those who are based from home to fit in exercise around their day’s work.  Perhaps this is why everyone in London looks so thin.  Or maybe it is because everyone I see here is a lot younger than me :-)

16:57 – 11,960 steps.  Back at Kings Cross and on the train home.  Surprised at how many steps I have done today. A lot more than I would have done if I had been working from home or in the office.  Feels good though – pleasantly tired but not frazzled.  The new area at Kings Cross station is a huge improvement.  First time I have ever felt sorry to be leaving it so quickly.  Good job whoever managed the development.

22:30 – 14,735 steps.  Good day for activity and a successful working day too.  I wanted to demonstrate to myself, that I can be active, work and balance all of this with a family life.  It does not need to be hard, but it does require a little planning.

 

 

 

Sedentary life amplifies obesity genes: US study

(AFP) – WASHINGTON — A sedentary lifestyle can amplify a genetic disposition to obesity, but just walking briskly, and briefly, each day can cut that effect in half, a new study showed Wednesday.

“This is the first study that directly looked at the effect of the sedentary behavior of television watching on the body mass index (BMI) of individuals with a genetic predisposition to obesity,” said study author Qibin Qi authors at a conference by the American Heart Association this week in San Diego, California.

To combat the results, Qi said a one-hour daily walk “reduced the genetic influence towards obesity, measured by differences in BMI by half.”

The study involved 7,740 women and 4,564 men, with researchers collecting data on their physical activity and TV watching two years prior to assessing their BMI.

The average American watches television for about four to six hours each day, noted Qi.

The BMI indicator is the ratio of weight in kilograms (pounds) to square of height in meters (inches) — on this scale, a score of 30 or more is considered obese.

The genetic effect on BMI was seen as “more pronounced in people who spent 40 hours a week watching television than those who spent an hour or less, 0.34 versus 0.08 kg/m2,” according to the study.» The recommended walking exercise was associated with 0.06 kg/m2 reduction in the genetic effect on BMI, said researchers, who presented their report at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions conference in San Diego.

Activ8rlives.com comments:  “This study demonstrates two very important factors:  First, that there is a genetic predisposition in some of us to obesity.  Second, that this predisposition can be countered by moderate exercise (brisk walking) for 60 minutes a day.  Studies of this type provide further evidence which supports the UK’s Department of Health guidelines published under its Change4Life initiative.”

Key study report that the best way in which parents can help their obese children lose weight is to change their weight themselves, say USA researchers.

A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and The University of Minnesota has indicated that a parent’s weight change is a key contributor to the success of a child’s weight loss in family-based treatment of childhood obesity.

“We looked at things such as parenting skills and styles, or changing the home food environment, and how they impacted a child’s weight,” said Kerri N. Boutelle, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at UC San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.

“The number one way in which parents can help an obese child lose weight? Lose weight themselves. In this study, it was the most important predictor of child weight loss,” Boutelle stated.

Recent data suggests that 31 percent of children in the United States are overweight or obese, or between four and five million children. Current treatment programs generally require participation by both parents and children in a plan that combines nutrition education and exercise with behaviour therapy techniques.

“Parents are the most significant people in a child’s environment, serving as the first and most important teachers. They play a significant role in any weight-loss program for children, and this study confirms the importance of their example in establishing healthy eating and exercise behaviours for their kids,” said Boutelle.

The researchers looked at eighty parent-child groups with an 8 to 12-year-old overweight or obese child, who participated in a parent-only or parent and child treatment program for five months.

The study focused on evaluating the impact of three types of parenting skills taught in family-based behavioural treatment for childhood obesity, and the impact of each on the child’s body weight: the parent modelling behaviours to promote their own weight loss, changes in home food environment, and parenting style and techniques (for example, a parent’s ability to help limit the child’s eating behaviour, encouraging the child and participating in program activities).

Consistent with previously published research, parent BMI change was the only significant predictor of child’s weight loss.

The researchers concluded that clinicians should focus on encouraging parents to lose weight to help their overweight or obese child in weight management.

The results were published in the advanced online edition of the journal Obesity.

Activ8rlives says:  “Studies like these confirm what we as parents, learn when we are open to the idea.  That changing someone else’s behaviour is impossible, if we cannot change our own behaviour first.  So the best way to help our children be active and achieve a healthy body weight is simple:  we just become active and achieve a healthy body weight too.  Doing this together as a family was the only approach which worked for us.  This means that the primary level for intervention for those trying to improve public health, must be at the level of the family, with approaches which can reach ALL of the family, not just the children at risk of poor health because of their weight.”

Adults can’t find the time to eat right and exercise, survey shows

(HealthDay News) — Lack of time seems to be the key reason why only 12 percent of American adults regularly practice such healthy habits as eating right and exercising, according to an American Heart Association (AHA) survey.

The survey found that 80 percent of respondents said they struggled to eat at least nine servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and about 60 percent said it was difficult to get the recommended levels of exercise — at least 150 minutes a week of moderate activity such as brisk walking.

On the positive side, however, the survey showed that 90 percent of respondents said they did want to improve their health.

“Whether it is simply adding a 30-minute brisk walk to your day, eating a few more fruits and vegetables with your meals, balancing your calories and physical activity to achieve a healthy body weight or creating routine oral-care habits — it all contributes to an overall healthier lifestyle,” AHA spokesperson Dr. Tracy Stevens, a professor of medicine and cardiologist with Saint Luke’s Cardiovascular Consultants in Kansas City, Mo., said in an AHA news release.

Activ8rlives.com says:  “Changing our behavior does not have to cost a lot of additional time.  Lack of time is the excuse most of us use to avoid doing what we do not want to do.  Often, behavior change it is about very small additions which we introduce into our days – they can make a big difference.  Being mindful of our activity levels is a key first step.  When people of all ages start using our Buddy step counter, most are surprised at how little activity they undertake during the day.  Our activity increases when small and often easy additions to our daily routine.  It is not as hard as most of us think it is.”

Children who eat lunch at home in Spanish study are ‘at lower risk of obesity’

By REBECCA SEALES, Mail Online, 5th March 2012

Children who have their meals at home enjoy a healthier diet and are at lower risk from obesity than their peers, researchers [from Spain] say.

A study from the University of Granada found a direct link between who prepared a child’s lunch and how healthy they were.

Writing in the journal Nutricion hospitalaria, the authors said: ‘The mother is the family member who best knows the nutritional needs of children and has the strongest nutritional knowledge for the preparation of children’s meals.’

The healthiest option: Research has found that children who eat lunch at home enjoy a healthier diet and are at lower risk of obesity.

The findings come amid an ongoing campaign for healthier meals in UK schools, which TV chef Jamie Oliver has championed since 2005.

Since 2006 schools have had to provide meals that meet national nutritional standards. These require high-quality meat or oily fish featuring regularly on the menu and two portions of fruit and veg with every meal. Deep-fried food has been limited to no more than two portions per week.

At the end of 2011 Mr Oliver raised concerns about the quality of meals in some academy schools, which are not obliged to adhere to the national standards.

The School Food Trust has been examining the quality of meals in state-funded but privately-run schools and will release a report on its findings later this month.

In the Granada study researchers analysed 718 children aged between 9-17 years from 13 different schools, and assessed each child’s family environment, exercise habits and how often they ate certain foods. They then measured their weight, size and body mass index (BMI).

The research found a clear link between sedentary hobbies and high BMI, meaning that the more time a child devoted to watching TV, playing video games and surfing the internet, the more likely they were to be obese.

The team concluded that it is ‘extremely important’ for families to pass healthy habits on to their children, especially a love of exercise.

Activ8rlives.com says:  Every study published reiterates the same message:  eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, keeping our intake of fat and sugar low, combined with 60 minutes of activity a day, is the way to keep healthy and stay well.  As important, doing this together as a family builds positive habits and behaviours.  By teaching our children these lessons, we are actually learning these habits and embedding them in the culture of our family group.  We are literally “walking our talk” when we teach our children how to maintain good health.

Keep moving throughout the day to stay healthy – even if it is in small doses.

Why It’s So Important to Keep Moving

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS, New York Times, February 29, 2012

Hoping to learn more about how inactivity affects disease risk, researchers at the University of Missouri recently persuaded a group of healthy, active young adults to stop moving around so much.  Scientists have known for some time that sedentary people are at increased risk of developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.  But they haven’t fully understood why, in part because studying the effects of sedentary behaviour isn’t easy.  People who are inactive may also be obese, eat poorly or face other lifestyle or metabolic issues that make it impossible to tease out the specific role that inactivity, on its own, plays in ill health.

So, to combat the problem, researchers lately have embraced a novel approach to studying the effects of inactivity.  They’ve imposed the condition on people who otherwise would be out happily exercising and moving about, in some cases by sentencing them to bed rest.

But in the current study, which was published this month in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the scientists created a more realistic version of inactivity by having their volunteers cut the number of steps they took each day by at least half.

They wanted to determine whether this physical languor would affect the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels.  “It’s increasingly clear that blood sugar spikes, especially after a meal, are bad for you,” says John P. Thyfault, an associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri, who conducted the study with his graduate student Catherine R. Mikus and others.  “Spikes and swings in blood sugar after meals have been linked to the development of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.”

So the scientists fitted their volunteers with sophisticated glucose monitoring devices, which checked their blood sugar levels continuously throughout the day.  They also gave the subjects pedometers and activity-measuring armbands, to track how many steps they took.  Finally, they asked the volunteers to keep detailed food diaries.

Then they told them to just live normally for three days, walking and exercising as usual.

Exercise guidelines from the American Heart Association and other groups recommend that, for health purposes, people accumulate 10,000 steps or more a day, the equivalent of about five miles of walking.  Few people do, however.  Repeated studies of American adults have shown that a majority take fewer than 5,000 steps per day.

The Missouri volunteers were atypical in that regard.  Each exercised 30 minutes or so most days and easily completed more than 10,000 daily steps during the first three days of the experiment.  The average was almost 13,000 steps.

During these three days, according to data from their glucose monitors, the volunteers’ blood sugar did not spike after they ate.

But that estimable condition changed during the second portion of the experiment, when the volunteers were told to cut back on activity so that their step counts would fall below 5,000 a day for the next three days. Achieving such indolence was easy enough.  The volunteers stopped exercising and, at every opportunity, took the elevator, not the stairs, or had lunch delivered, instead of strolling to a cafe.  They became, essentially, typical American adults.

Their average step counts fell to barely 4,300 during the three days, and the volunteers reported that they now “exercised,” on average, about three minutes a day.

Meanwhile, they ate exactly the same meals and snacks as they had in the preceding three days, so that any changes in blood sugar levels would not be a result of eating fattier or sweeter meals than before.

And there were changes.  During the three days of inactivity, volunteers’ blood sugar levels spiked significantly after meals, with the peaks increasing by about 26 percent compared with when the volunteers were exercising and moving more.  What’s more, the peaks grew slightly with each successive day.

This change in blood sugar control after meals “occurred well before we could see any changes in fitness or adiposity,” or fat buildup, due to the reduced activity, Dr. Thyfault says.  So the blood sugar swings would seem to be a result, directly, of the volunteers not moving much.

Which is both distressing and encouraging news.  “People immediately think, ‘So what happens if I get hurt or really busy, or for some other reason just can’t work out for awhile?’”  Dr. Thyfault says. “The answer seems to be that it shouldn’t be a big problem. ” Studies in both humans and animals have found that blood sugar regulation quickly returns to normal once activity resumes.

The spikes during inactivity are natural, after all, even inevitable, given that unused muscles need less fuel and so draw less sugar from the blood.

The condition becomes a serious concern, Dr. Thyfault says, only when inactivity is lingering, when it becomes the body’s default condition.  “We hypothesize that, over time, inactivity creates the physiological conditions that produce chronic disease,” like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, regardless of a person’s weight or diet.

To avoid that fate, he says, keep moving, even if in small doses.  “When I’m really busy, I make sure to get up and walk around the office or jog in place every hour or so,” he says.  Wear a pedometer if it will nudge you to move more. “You don’t have to run marathons,” he says.  “But the evidence is clear that you do need to move.

New science can help guide diets and exercise

What you choose isn’t the point. What must happen is: Stick to it.

By Stacey Burling:  INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

The most important weight-loss message – you have to use more calories than you eat – hasn’t changed in decades.

But dieting experts say science has some new, surprising things to say about the other half of the standard recommendation – exercise – and about which diet to use.

Researchers are also refining the behavioural tricks that can change the way people eat, not only to lose weight but also to keep it off. Modern technology is giving dieters new options, such as Internet- and cell-phone-based programs or scales that can transmit your weight from your home to your doctor or dietician.

Thomas Wadden, director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania, said the last decade has seen “pretty aggressive diet wars” among the proponents of low-fat, low-carb, or low-glycemic-index approaches.

After years of comparisons, Wadden and other experts said the verdict is clear: What you choose doesn’t matter.  If you follow the rules, the results are all about the same. Wadden said he does recommend that, whatever the diet, patients reduce saturated fats and trans-fats for better health. You can pick a more aggressive approach while you’re losing, eventually transitioning to a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean protein for maintenance.

Gary Foster, director of Temple University’s Center for Obesity Research says “Calories drive weight loss.

So what about exercise? Isn’t it the answer?  No, the experts said.

Exercise is “the single best predictor of who keeps weight off and who doesn’t,” Foster said. “It has very little effect on weight loss.”

What exercise does do is help people maintain muscle mass, which revs up metabolism a little and improves overall health. In one of the cruel twists of our evolutionary history – the one that shaped our bodies to withstand famine, not a world full of junk food – people who have lost a lot of weight burn fewer calories during exercise than people who have never dieted.  To keep weight off, dieters need to exercise 225 to 300 minutes a week: about 32 to 43 minutes a day.

On the behavioural front, researchers say that “accountability” is a crucial factor in making diets work. People do best when they keep track of what they eat and how much they exercise. They need to weigh themselves frequently, ideally every day. It also helps a lot to report what they’re doing to someone else. The gold standard is a face-to-face meeting, but results also improve with telephone and Internet reporting.

“It’s really important to be accountable to somebody else,” Foster said.

Wadden says technology is offering new alternatives to people who need to lose weight. While not yet in wide use for weight control, scales that transmit weights to doctors or diet programs can build in accountability. Internet- and phone-based programs make it easier to calculate calories and energy usage

Activ8rlives.com exhibiting at NHS’ conference on engaging with small companies (1-2nd March 2012)

Activ8rlives.com will be exhibiting its products at the Heath Enterprise East’ SBRI East conference “Engaging SMEs with the NHS on the 1st and 2nd March 2012.

Aimed at helping small to medium sized enterprises access the NHS, the SBRI East (Small Business Research Initiative) programme is pleased to announce details of this FREE two day conference.

Taking place on the 1st & 2nd of March the conference will give delegates the opportunity to hear from clinical, procurement and commissioning leaders in the NHS and gain valuable advice from companies already in the SBRI East programme, including Aseptika Ltd who have developed Activ8rlives.com.

Details of the event can be found here.