The Guardian

Content Was Refreshed: 20 Sep 2018 | 01:27:35

Health & wellbeing | The Guardian

Latest Health & wellbeing news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

Experts warn against switching to a gluten-free diet because that may reduce intake of fibre, iron and B-vitamins

Eating a high gluten diet when pregnant appears to be linked to an increased risk of having a child who develops type 1 diabetes, new research suggests, although experts say expectant mothers shouldn’t rush to ditch bread and pasta.

While studies in rodents have suggested there a possible link between low gluten consumption in mothers and a lower incidence of type 1 diabetes in offspring, no such link has previously been found in humans.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 19, 2018, 10:30 pm

We’d like to hear about your experiences during and after childbirth and what helped you deal with them

Sharing stories of traumatic childbirths online is contributing to a rise in women’s fear of pregnancy and labour, according to an academic.

Related: ‘Yes he’s alive but I’m not OK’: the bloody truth about childbirth

Continue reading...
Posted: September 19, 2018, 5:00 am

New mothers are sharing their horror stories online. But does talking about giving birth traumatise other women – or empower them?

Clare Cashion was 28 weeks pregnant and just about to board a plane home from a family Christmas in Ireland when her waters broke.

She was rushed to hospital in Dublin, where doctors managed temporarily to halt the birth. But there was no longer any question of her safely leaving the country, so while her partner and three older children flew back home to England, Clare stayed behind in hospital. Her son Cullan was eventually born on New Year’s Day by emergency caesarean section, after a labour that was traumatic from the beginning.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 19, 2018, 5:00 am

Eating for two is a myth, say researchers, with weight gain linked to insulin resistance

Midwives should be given guidelines on how to advise expectant mothers about managing their weight, their professional body has said, reacting to research that suggested the commonly held belief that pregnant women needed to eat for two was a myth.

Gaining too much weight during pregnancy could put the future offspring at an increased risk of insulin resistance and affect their blood pressure in childhood, according to the study published in the journal Diabetologia.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 17, 2018, 11:16 pm

A new test that reveals a baby’s sex at 10 weeks has, predictably, led to panic about an increase in terminations – as if we need even more anxiety about pregnancy

When should a woman be able to find out her baby’s sex? And what should she be able to do with this information? In the latest instalment of What to Expect When Society Lays Expectations Upon You, to which Wide Awoke dutifully refers whenever anything pregnancy-related crowns its head, the Labour party is calling for a ban on pregnant women being told the sex of their baby after the early blood tests. Why? Because of a concern that some people may choose termination on the grounds of sex. Which is, quite rightly, illegal. The sex of a foetus is not a reason for termination; I think most human beings can agree on that.

Let’s delve deeper. Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), now offered by the NHS to screen for genetic conditions including Down’s syndrome, can also determine a foetus’s sex from as early as 10 weeks. Parents cannot use NIPT to find out a baby’s sex unless they go private, and this appears to be happening more. A report last year warned that “permitting NIPT for sex determination in the UK may be encouraging sex selection”. The Labour MP Naz Shah said that a preference for boys in some cultures could force parents “to adopt methods such as NIPT to live up to expectations of family members”.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 17, 2018, 4:01 pm
Dry January is already popular, and people are being encouraged to take a break from alcohol next month, too. Does this make a big difference, or should we be finding new ways to drink less?

One of the biggest problems with alcohol is that it is so deeply embedded into the marrow of everyday life. Avoiding it is difficult, so much so that giving up for a month – not that long in the greater scheme of things – has become one of those monumental challenges that people take on for charity, like running a marathon or jumping out of a plane. Last year, 75,000 people signed up for Go Sober for October, raising £5m for Macmillan Cancer Support while recalibrating their relationship with alcohol.

Not to be confused with Stoptober (the smoking cessation campaign from Public Health England), Go Sober for October provides a second annual chance to join a mass, month-long break from booze. If you failed at Dry January (being snowed in calls for nips of brandy, right?), you still get another shot at giving up for a bit without being roundly eyed with suspicion and disapproval. With one in five adults drinking over the recommended upper limit of 14 units a week, according to a YouGov poll this year, livers up and down the land must be breathing sighs of relief.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 17, 2018, 5:00 am

If you’re thinking of joining the 3.5m British people who eat only plants, take things slowly at first, brace yourself for judgment and start reading food labels properly

If you rush into any new diet without preparing, you will probably find it quite hard. So take veganism a step at a time. Many vegans consider dairy the cruellest of food industries, so you could start by cutting out milk and cheese, then eliminate meat, then eggs. Or go vegan just two days a week to begin with. It is better to ease into veganism over a month or two and then stick with it, than to dive in too fast and wonder why it didn’t work for you.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 16, 2018, 2:00 pm

Tackling a tough, three-day course around Stavanger, Peter Kimpton battles the elements to discover a stunning landscape that involves as much water as land

Garlanded with wispy clouds, jagged mountains rise sharply above glassy lakes, reflected to sky with such perfection you are almost dizzy with how upside down it all appears. Or is that a mirage – from exhaustion? From the moment 250 cyclists clattered nervously, like skinny, helmeted warriors on to a ferry at 6.45am to battle through the water in mist and rain for 45 minutes even before the start, it was clear this would be no ordinary event. Cycling in Norway is less travelling on land, more an undulating series of roads and bridges linking breathtaking fjords; a constant movement between mountain, sea and lake.

Haute Routes sportives are always challenging, designed to replicate professional-level riding, except unlike Alpine routes, this inaugural event is three days long, pleasingly located in one place, the harbour city of Stavanger on Norway’s west coast. One hotel, one race village nearby, and three days of circular routes. So the logistics were easy, everything close at hand, and the post-ride food and massages were excellent.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 14, 2018, 6:00 am

Council’s successful legal challenge to Cycle Superhighway 11 follows scrapping of pedestrianisation of Oxford Street

A legal challenge by Westminster city council to block a major cycle route in London has succeeded on a procedural point, in a move that could send Transport for London back to the drawing board and set safety improvements to one of London’s most dangerous junctions back by months.

The council’s successful judicial review of Cycle Superhighway 11 (CS11), which was due to run from Swiss Cottage to Portland Place, is the latest of its blocks to cycling, walking and road safety improvements. Following the scrapping of the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, the review has cemented Westminster’s reputation as the car-is-king borough of London.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 13, 2018, 3:55 pm

Packing light for an endurance event can seem like an insurmountable challenge. From fluids to food and kit, here’s how to get it right

I felt well prepped. My first serious trail run lay a week away. Madeira’s mountainous tracks and cliff-top coastline beckoned. Our route: the classic MIUT ultra spanning the Portuguese island in the north Atlantic. But we weren’t crazy. We would do it in two stages rather than in one, crazy-goat go. And we would hack off the first 35km. So that left around 80km over two days. Sure, the gradient chart for the first day looked like a heart attack victim’s cardiograph (3,600m of ascent). But, as I say, I felt good. I had trained hard. I wasn’t carrying any niggles.

Then, with a simple email, everything changed. The message was from Charlie, one of our Madeira trail-running trio. Of the three of us, he was the only one with any experience of serious long-distance running. He owns a high-end travel company in Morocco and talks casually of jogging in the Atlas mountains. He had already won our ear. Then I learned he had done the Marathon des Sables, a seriously gruelling six-day race in the Sahara, and our respect rose inordinately. So when he sent an email with the subject heading, “Everything weighs something”, I was primed to listen.

Continue reading...
Posted: August 23, 2018, 5:00 am

Welcome to the Weekend Debrief awards! Rehydration is available in the form of beer and prosecco, refuel with cake. And for one last time, runners, come and share your stories below the line.

*Drum roll please*

Ladies and gentlemen! Please place your grubby running shoes by the door, don your finest non-sweaty non-Lycra attire (assuming you have any) and take a seat and a glass of prosecco for the Weekend Debrief Awards. Oh and don’t worry, canapes in the form of miniature cakes will circulate shortly.

Continue reading...
Posted: August 20, 2018, 9:14 am

While they are still a healthier choice than a chocolate bar or a biscuit, flavoured yoghurts are packed with sugar

Children’s yoghurts are packed with sugar, experts have found, warning that manufacturers and retailers need to do more to tackle the problem.

Although yoghurt has long been considered a healthy food, experts warn that many of the products sold in supermarkets could contribute to child obesity, tooth decay and other health problems due to their high sugar content.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 19, 2018, 5:30 am

Researchers are asking people who have suffered from depression and anxiety to provide DNA samples so they can look for common genes

Genetic links to anxiety and depression are to be explored in the largest ever study into the issue, experts have announced.

Researchers are calling on people in England to sign up to the Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (Glad) study. It is hoped that 40,000 volunteers aged 16 and over will agree to be part of a database which will be used in future research studies to better understand the genetic aspects of mental health conditions.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 18, 2018, 5:30 am

D*Face and Shepard Fairey among artists donating to men’s mental health charity

Some of the world’s most prolific street artists have offered works to be auctioned in aid of Movember, the men’s mental health charity.

Sotheby’s has announced a charity sale called Against the Wall, which has involved Dean Stockton, who goes by the name D*Face, persuading other street artists and artists to come up with new work for a cause close to his heart.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 17, 2018, 2:41 pm
Birmingham criticised by health campaigners over tie-in that breaches established guidelines

British American Tobacco’s attempt to win public health contracts so that its e-cigarettes can be promoted as smoking cessation aids has been branded “a disgrace” by the public health minister.

Emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the multinational tobacco giant and Birmingham city council are piloting a project to promote BAT’s vaping products to smokers who want to kick the habit. The emails show that, while the council refused to allow BAT to present the deal as a partnership, the company approached other local authorities on the back of its work with Birmingham as it touted for more business with the public sector.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 9, 2018, 8:30 am

Information from airport interviews to be shared as part of Anglo-US drive to protect potential victims

British police and border security will share intelligence on female genital mutilation with US counterparts as part of a drive to increase prosecutions and prevent abuse.

Information on flight paths and investigations will be shared between the UK authorities and US agencies, including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 7, 2018, 5:00 am

There are many diets you can follow if you want to live more healthily, but it’s hard to know which has the best long-term effects? Luckily, a team of experts has done the research

Losing weight is a common new year’s resolution. Even when dressed up as a pledge to eat more healthily, it can be tinged with self-loathing. Those pigs in blankets, mince pies and Baileys. Why, oh why? But at least anyone who wants to improve their diet has a fantastic resource to help them. With perfect timing, a US panel of experts in diet, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and food psychology has scrutinised and ranked 40 diets. Its listings, which are produced annually, show which diets are best for short- and long-term weight loss, which are easiest to follow, which you are most likely to stick with – and which are unsafe because they don’t supply enough nutrients.

Continue reading...
Posted: January 5, 2018, 4:18 pm

A new study suggests canine-lovers could be 23% less likely to die from heart disease – or it could just be that healthier people prefer dogs

Dogs really are our best friends, according to a Swedish study that says canine ownership could reduce heart disease. A study of 3.4 million people between the ages of 40 and 80 found that having a dog was associated with a 23% reduction in death from heart disease and a 20% lower risk of dying from any cause over the 12 years of the study. Previous studies have suggested dogs relieve social isolation and depression – both linked to an increased risk of heart disease and early death.

Continue reading...
Posted: December 4, 2017, 7:00 am
More than a quarter of new fathers in a new study showed significant levels of depression – what are the causes, and what can they do about it?

Men don’t go through pregnancy or childbirth. Their hormone levels don’t nosedive. They don’t get sore nipples. What exactly have they got to be depressed about? Quite a lot, according to research from Sweden showing that, over the past 10 years, a significant number of men have struggled with the transition to fatherhood.

This latest research tries to quantify just how many men get postnatal depression. Previous studies have found between 4% and 10% of men, while, in this smallish sample of 447 Swedish fathers who volunteered (and may therefore not represent your average dad), a surprising 28% of men had symptoms that scored above mild levels of depression. Overall, 4% had moderate depression. Fewer than one in five fathers who were depressed sought help, even though a third of those had thought about harming themselves. While women in the UK are often asked a series of questions that screen for postnatal depression (which affects up to 13% of women), the mental health of fathers is rarely assessed.

Continue reading...
Posted: November 13, 2017, 8:00 am
If you have sensitive skin, doctors recommend moisturisers without fragrance or allergic ingredients, but terms such as ‘hypoallergenic’ and ‘dermatologist-recommended’ are often just marketing tools

What do you look for in a body moisturiser? Is it the smell, how smooth it leaves your skin feeling, or how much it costs? If you are attracted by terms such as “dermatologist recommended” or “hypoallergenic”, you may be disappointed. A study of the top 100 best-selling whole body moisturisers found that not only did prices vary by 9,400% but that 95% of the products claiming to be dermatologist-recommended had at least one ingredient that could cause an allergy. Of the hypoallergenic moisturisers, 83% contained a substance on the allergen list of the North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG). The most common potential allergy-causing ingredients were fragrance mix and paraben mix (a preservative).

Continue reading...
Posted: October 30, 2017, 7:00 am

A new report suggests that young people are aware of their parents’ drinking – and it may well have an impact on their relationship with alcohol. So should you keep booze out of the family home?

When you’re drinking wine at home, don’t look as if you’re enjoying it – at least not if you have kids. How much you drink, how often you say: ‘Ah, that’s nice,’ while imbibing and whether you use alcohol as a reward or coping mechanism can all encourage adolescents to drink, according to a report last week from the Institute of Alcohol Studies.

In case you think it’s OK for teenagers to drink, the Department of Health advises children have an alcohol-free life until the age of 15 and only one drink a week until they are 18. In 2009, Prof Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer at the time, warned that “exposing children to drink-fuelled events” was one of the root causes of the UK’s drinking problem.

Continue reading...
Posted: October 23, 2017, 6:00 am

Are you worried that you are complicit simply by knowing about it? Because you are not, says Annalisa Barbieri

A friend confessed to me that she has cheated on her husband. It started with texts, before she met up in secret with a man she doesn’t know and they slept together. I am good friends with her husband and close to their young children. She wants me to be supportive, but I am struggling. She told the man she slept with that she was recently separated – he initially rejected her when he thought she was married. She says she feels no remorse and wouldn’t care if her husband had an affair, either. She says she wants to escape the clutches of being a mum and a wife and experience a thrill again. I am not convinced the affair is over: she is desperate to see this man again and can’t stop thinking about him. I feel awful knowing all this and still seeing her family. She says I am the only one who knows. How can I be there for her when I think what she has done is so wrong?

You ask how you can be there for her when you don’t like what she has done, so presumably you want to continue the friendship. This is what I am concentrating on. I havesupported people through infidelities, but I also want to remind you that you don’t have to: sometimes, it is the end of a friendship. Friendships can and should withstand rocky roads, but we all have our portcullis moments.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 14, 2018, 1:59 pm

He is extremely sensitive and was bullied at school, where I was a teacher. Now he is very lonely and terrified of getting things wrong. I am at my wits’ end

My lovely son is 22 and says he will be a lonely virgin for the rest of his life. At school, he was bullied and called gay (we have talked about whether he might be gay; he insists he fancies women). I was a teacher at the school and, no matter what I did, no one took the situation seriously. He is now so terrified of getting things wrong that he won’t spend time with people he likes. He is very lonely and I am at my wits’ end to try to help him. It’s a mystery to me why someone hasn’t asked him out. He is very beautiful, funny and intelligent, if extremely sensitive. What can I do?

• When leaving a message on this page, please be sensitive to the fact that you are responding to a real person in the grip of a real-life dilemma, who wrote to Private Lives asking for help, and may well view your comments here. Please consider especially how your words or the tone of your message could be perceived by someone in this situation, and be aware that comments that appear to be disruptive or disrespectful to the individual concerned will be removed.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 14, 2018, 11:40 am
I want to fall in love and be intimate. I thought if a boy could be patient and wait it would help, but there is no such person in my life

I am a 20-year-old woman at university. I desperately want to have a serious relationship, or a relationship of any kind, but I am scared to have sex. I have done it a few times, but touching and fooling around gives me anxiety, especially when it is with strangers. It is like pulling teeth and not something I would initiate.

I don’t understand why that is or what is wrong with me. I really like boys; I always have. I want to have the ability to fall in love and be intimate but nothing seems to be working for me. I thought that if there were a man who could be patient and wait it would help, but there is no such person in my life. I don’t want to be gay or asexual or frigid. I want a loving relationship with a man where we grow and learn together.

Continue reading...
Posted: September 17, 2018, 7:00 am

The fight for gender equality goes on – so focus on shaping the world you want, Mariella Frostrup tells a woman whose biological clock is ticking

The dilemma Like me, most of my friends are in their 30s, some turning 40. Those with partners and children have disappeared, other than posting their idyllic family life.

We’ve tried all of the dating things, found no one and biological clocks are ticking. One friend said her life is not worth living because she hasn’t got a partner or a child. In the past I’d give advice and encouragement – suggest things might turn out all right in the end. There’s still time!

Continue reading...
Posted: September 16, 2018, 4:59 am
Content Was Refreshed: 20 Sep 2018 | 01:27:35
Last Modified: April 28, 2018