MRC Centre of Epidemiology for Child Health
Research quick links
- Congenital disorders
- Childhood origins of adult disease
- Electronic health records
- Genetic epidemiology
- Growth & development
- Health inequalities
- Life course research
- Obesity, nutrition & physical activity
- Research for policy & practice
- Screening & surveillance
- Statistical methods
- Vision & eyes
Published: Nov 29, 2013 11:51:38 AM
The study, published 30 September, was commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership and is part of the Child Health Reviews - UK (CHR-UK) project led by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and based at our Centre.
Key findings are:
Published: Oct 3, 2013 4:41:09 PM
Two papers from the Centre’s HIV group have been selected for inclusion in the August issue of HIV , which highlights important new findings in HIV science. More...
Published: Sep 9, 2013 3:45:53 PM
Half of all UK seven year-olds are sedentary for between six and seven waking hours per day and half are not doing the recommended daily minimum of one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity, according to the latest findings from the Millennium Cohort Study.
The research, led by academics at UCL and published in the journal BMJ Open, shows that girls, children of Indian ethnic origin and those living in Northern Ireland are least active.
The authors base their findings on a representative population sample of almost 7,000 UK primary school children who are all part of the Millennium Cohort Study.
The duration and intensity of children's daily physical activity levels were captured for a full week between May 2008 and August 2009, using a device called an accelerometer, worn on an elasticated belt. The children only took this off when they bathed or went to bed.
UK guidelines on physical activity levels across the life course were revised in 2011. These recommend that children engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least one hour every day, and that they spend less time sitting down, although no maximum duration has been specified for this.
The analysis showed that on average, across the entire sample, children achieved 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day, and that they took an average of 10,299 steps.
But the accelerometer readings also showed that half the children were sedentary for six hours or more every day and that half of them didn't achieve the daily recommended minimum level of exercise.
Girls fared worse than boys in terms of of total physical activity, moderate to vigorous physical activity and in the number of steps they took each day. They were also more sedentary and less likely to meet the minimum daily exercise recommendations than the boys. Just 38% of girls achieved this, compared with almost two thirds of boys (63%).
"We don't have any biological explanation for the different levels of activity in boys and girls," says Carol Dezateux, Professor of Paediatric Epidemiology at the UCL Institute of Child Health and senior author on the study. "At this age, there aren't significant differences in how children are put together physically, so we have to look at opportunity and social expectation.
"What we need to see is a positive attitude to offering choice, diversity of opportunity, a wide range of activities and inclusiveness for all children - especially girls."
Children of Indian ethnic origin spent least time engaged in moderate to vigorous exercise and took fewest steps each day, while only one in three (33%) of children of Bangladeshi origin met the recommendations.
Among the four UK countries, children in Northern Ireland were least active with just 43% managing 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day, while children in Scotland (52.5%) were most likely to achieve the minimum daily recommended duration of more intense activity.
Around 52% of English children managed 60 minutes each day but there were some regional differences, with children living in the North West (58%) most likely and those in the Midlands (46%) the least likely to meet the guidelines.
In an accompanying podcast, senior author Professor Carol Dezateux describes the gender differences in exercise levels as "striking" and calls for policies to promote more exercise in girls including ballgames, playground games and dancing.
The authors refer back to the promise of the London 2012 Olympic Games, which was to inspire a generation to take part in sport.
"The results of our study provide a useful baseline and strongly suggest that contemporary UK children are insufficiently active, implying that effort is needed to boost (physical activity) among young people to the level appropriate for good health," they write.
This is likely to require population wide interventions, they say, including policies to make it easier for children to walk to school, in a bid to increase physical activity and curb the amount of time they are sedentary. More...
Published: Aug 23, 2013 3:36:42 PM
Published: Apr 26, 2013 2:30:00 PM
UK Collaborative CAH Surveillance Study
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is an inherited condition that affects the production of cortisol in the adrenal glands. It can cause a life-threatening 'salt-wasting' crisis and is also associated with accelerated growth and overproduction of the hormone, androgen, which can result in girls being incorrectly assigned as boys at birth.
If detected early enough, CAH can be successfully treated to prevent many of these problems. This surveillance study will investigate how many children are diagnosed with CAH each year and how it affects them. This information will contribute to a review of newborn screening policy.
Principal investigator: Rachel Knowles
Team: Juliet Oerton
What is congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH)?
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is an inherited lack of the hormone cortisol which affects both boys and girls. It leads to salt imbalance, rapid growth and excess androgen hormone production, which may result in some girls being incorrectly thought to be boys at birth. Just over half of those with CAH have a salt wasting form which can lead to a life threatening illness in newborn babies.
How is CAH treated?
Early detection and treatment with hormone replacement (cortisol and mineralocorticoid hormones) can prevent life-threatening salt wasting episodes, and ensure normal growth and sexual development. Girls may require genital surgery.
Can we pick up CAH by newborn screening?
Newborn screening for CAH and early treatment can prevent life-threatening episodes and allow early treatment. Newborn screening for CAH is offered in several European countries but has not been introduced in the UK, mainly because there are concerns about how well screening tests pick up or rule out CAH. There is also a lack of good information about the number of children affected in the UK and the severity of their condition. Recently, there have been improvements in screening tests for CAH and it is now the right time to find out more about children diagnosed with CAH in the UK before reconsidering whether screening should be introduced.
Where can families of children with CAH find support?
Living with CAH, a support group for families of children with CAH, is a partner in this study.
What is the UK Collaborative CAH Surveillance Study (CAHSS)?
The CAH Surveillance Study will count the number of new diagnoses of CAH which are made each year in children in the UK. We would also like to find out what symptoms children with CAH have when they are diagnosed and what treatments they are given. This new study of CAH will provide important information to help in making future decisions about national newborn screening policy for CAH.
Who is taking part in the study?
Paediatricians all over the UK are involved in this study, which is being undertaken through the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU). UK medical laboratories that test for CAH in children are also taking part through a biochemical surveillance network (BioCAHSS).
Who is leading the study?
The research team is based at the Institute of Child Health, London and involves researchers from Great Ormond Street Hospital and the University of Edinburgh.
Research Team: Dr Rachel Knowles, Ms Mona Khalid, Ms Juliet Oerton, Professor Carol Dezateux, Professor Christopher Kelnar, Professor Peter Hindmarsh.
When will the study start?
The study started in August 2007 and will collect data over the next two years.
Where can I find out more about the study?
BioCAHSS is a laboratory surveillance system that has been set up to complement the BPSU reporting scheme involving paediatricians.
Sixteen laboratories from across the UK have agreed to take part in BioCAHSS.
Laboratory staff will report all new diagnoses of Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia made through laboratory testing for 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP).
Every laboratory will receive the BioCAHSS reporting card each month until the study ends in August 2008.
Whenever laboratory staff report a case, they will be sent a questionnaire asking for further details.
Living with CAH UK Support Group
British Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes (BSPED)
Other useful links:
NHS Health Technology assessment reports:
HTA 1997 vol 1 no.11: Neonatal screening for inborn errors of metabolism: a systematic review
HTA 1997 vol 1 no. 7 : Neonatal screening for inborn errors of metabolism: cost, yield and outcome
Page last modified on 17 sep 11 14:59