• Being at the Bottom Rung of the Ladder in an Unequal Society: A Qualitative Analysis of Stories of People without a Home

      Mabhala, Mzwandile A.; Yohannes, Asmait; Asmait Skin Care (MDPI, 2019-11-21)
      Background: Homelessness is rising in the United Kingdom, despite investment in measures to eradicate it made by the government and charity organisations. Aim: The aim is to examine the stories of homeless people in order to document their perceptions of their social status, the reasons that led to their homelessness, and propose a conceptual explanation. Method: We conducted 26 semi-structured interviews in three centres for homeless people in Cheshire, North West of England. Results: Three categories—education, employment, and health—emerged from the data and provided a theoretical explanation for the reasons that led to their homelessness. These are vital not only for the successful negotiation of one’s way out of homelessness, but also for achieving other social goods, including social connections, social mobility, and engaging in positive social relationships. Conclusion: Participants catalogued the adverse childhood experiences, which they believe limited their capacity to meaningfully engage with the social institution for social goods, such as education, social services, and institutions of employment. Since not all people who have misfortunes of poor education, poor health, and loss of job end up being homeless, we contend that a combination of these with multiple adverse childhood experiences may have weakened their resilience to traumatic life changes, such as loss of job and poor health.
    • Does the Association between Depressive Symptomatology and Physical Activity Depend on Body Image Perception? A Survey of Students from Seven Universities in the UK

      El Ansari, Walid; Stockton, Christine; Phillips, Ceri; Mabhala, Mzwandile A.; Stoate, Mary; Adetunji, Hamed; Deeny, Pat; John, Jill; Davies, Shân; Parke, Sian; et al. (MDPI, 2011-01-25)
      This cross-sectional study assessed the association between depression and PA in university students of both genders and the role of body image perception as a potential effect modifier. Undergraduate students (N = 3706) from seven universities in the UK completed a self-administered questionnaire that assessed sociodemographic information; a range of health, health behaviour and health awareness related factors; the modified version of Beck’s Depression Inventory (M-BDI); educational achievement, and different levels of physical activity (PA), such as moderate PA (at least 5 days per week moderate exercise of at least 30 minutes), and vigorous PA (at least 3 days per week vigorous exercise of at least 20 minutes). Only 12.4% of the sample achieved the international recommended level for moderate PA, and 33.1% achieved the recommendations for vigorous PA. Both moderate and vigorous PA were inversely related to the M-BDI score. Physically active students, regardless of the type of PA, were significantly more likely to perceive their health as good, to have higher health awareness, to perform strengthening exercises, and to be males. The stratified analyses indicated that the association between depression and PA differed by body image. In students perceiving their body image as ‘just right’, moderate (>4th percentile) and high (>5th percentile) M-BDI scores were inversely related to vigorous PA. However, in students who perceived their body image as ‘overweight’, the inverse association was only significant in those with high M-BDI scores. We conclude that the positive effect of PA on depression could be down modulated by the negative impact of a ‘distorted’ body image on depression. The practical implications of these findings are that PA programmes targeting persons with depressive symptoms should include effective components to enhance body image perception.
    • Feeling Healthy? A Survey of Physical and Psychological Wellbeing of Students from Seven Universities in the UK

      El Ansari, Walid; Stock, Christiane; Snelgrove, Sherrill; Hu, Xiaoling; Parke, Sian; Davies, Shân; John, Jill; Adetunji, Hamed; Stoate, Mary; Deeny, Pat; et al. (MDPI, 2011-04-27)
      Abstract: University students’ physical and psychological health and wellbeing are important and comprise many variables. This study assessed perceived health status in addition to a range of physical and psychological wellbeing indicators of 3,706 undergraduate students from seven universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We compared differences in these variables between males and females, and across the participating universities. The data was collected in 2007–2008. A self-administered questionnaire assessed socio-demographic information (e.g., gender, age), self-reported physical and psychological health data, as well as questions on health awareness, health service use, social support, burdens and stressors and university study related questions. While females generally reported more health problems and psychological burdens, male students felt that they received/had fewer persons to depend on for social support. The comparisons of health and wellbeing variables across the different universities suggested some evidence of ‘clustering’ of the variables under study, whereby favourable situations would be exhibited by a cluster of the variables that is encountered at some universities; and conversely, the clustering of less favourable variables as exhibited at other universities. We conclude that the level of health complaints and psychological problems/burdens is relatively high and calls for increased awareness of university administrators, leaders and policy makers to the health and well-being needs of their students. The observed clustering effects also indicate the need for local (university-specific) health and wellbeing profiles as basis and guidance for relevant health promotion programmes at universities.
    • How Do I Look? Body Image Perceptions among University Students from England and Denmark

      El Ansari, Walid; Vodder Clausen, Susanne; Mabhala, Mzwandile A.; Stockton, Christine; University of Gloucestershire; University of Chester; Benfield University (MDPI, 2010-02-21)
      This study examined differences in body image perception between university students in two European countries, United Kingdom and Denmark. A total of 816 British and 548 Danish university students participated in a cross-sectional survey. A self-administered questionnaire assessed socio-demographic information, body image perception (as “too thin”, “just right” or “too fat”), and the association of related factors with body image perception (nutrition behaviour, social support, perceived stressors and quality of life). The proportions of students who perceived themselves as “too thin”, “just right”, or “too fat” were 8.6%, 37.7%, and 53.7% respectively. Multi-factorial logistic regression analysis showed that students who perceived themselves as “too fat” were more likely to be from the British university, to be females, to be older than 30 years, to report stress due to their financial situation and were less likely to have a high quality of life. The findings highlight the need for interventions with focus on healthy food choices whilst acknowledging financial stressors and quality of life.
    • Interaction between Metabolic Genetic Risk Score and Dietary Fatty Acid Intake on Central Obesity in a Ghanaian Population

      Alsulami, Sooad; Nyakotey, David; Dudek, Kamila; Bawah, Abdul-Malik; Lovegrove, Julie; Annan, Reggie; Ellahi, Basma; Karani, Santhanakrishnan Vimaleswaran; University of Reading, University of Chester and Kumasi University (MDPI, 2020-07-27)
      Obesity is a multifactorial condition arising from the interaction between genetic and lifestyle factors. We aimed to assess the impact of lifestyle and genetic factors on obesity-related traits in 302 healthy Ghanaian adults. Dietary intake and physical activity were assessed using a 3 day repeated 24 h dietary recall and global physical activity questionnaire, respectively. Twelve single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were used to construct 4-SNP, 8-SNP and 12-SNP genetic risk scores (GRSs). The 4-SNP GRS showed significant interactions with dietary fat intakes on waist circumference (WC) (Total fat, Pinteraction = 0.01; saturated fatty acids (SFA), Pinteraction = 0.02; polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), Pinteraction = 0.01 and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), Pinteraction = 0.01). Among individuals with higher intakes of total fat (>47 g/d), SFA (>14 g/d), PUFA (>16 g/d) and MUFA (>16 g/d), individuals with ≥3 risk alleles had a significantly higher WC compared to those with <3 risk alleles. This is the first study of its kind in this population, suggesting that a higher consumption of dietary fatty acid may have the potential to increase the genetic susceptibility of becoming centrally obese. These results support the general dietary recommendations to decrease the intakes of total fat and SFA, to reduce the risk of obesity, particularly in individuals with a higher genetic predisposition to central obesity.
    • Population Health Screening after Environmental Pollution

      Stewart, Alex G.; orcid: 0000-0002-4931-5340; email: dragonsteeth@doctors.org.uk; Wilkinson, Ewan; orcid: 0000-0002-2167-8756; email: ewilkinson@chester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2020-11-24)
      Following environmental pollution exposure, calls to screen the population for disease or disease markers are often made. Population screening is a cross-sectional review of a population to find latent cases or biomarkers of disease that indicate the possibility of disease development; it differs from environmental screening or an epidemiological survey. Recognized standard approaches have been developed over 60 years to ensure quality and effectiveness in complex programs. We surveyed the literature for papers on health screening following environmental exposures and checked them for reference to accepted criteria such as those of Wilson and Jungner. We applied these criteria to three situations covering source/hazard (arsenic contaminated land), pathway/exposure (radiation release), and receptor/disease (lead poisoning). We identified 36 relevant papers. Although across the papers the whole range of criteria were addressed, no paper or program utilized recognized criteria. Issues and gaps identified included limited strategic approaches, lack of treatment, environmental prevention being seen as the screening outcome instead of treatment of identified individuals, and programs which did not fit the World Health Organization screening description. Robust discussion in the literature is needed to consider the organization and role of health screening following environmental exposures.
    • Promoting a healthy diet in young adults: The role of nutrition labelling

      Buyuktuncer, Zehra; Ayaz, Aylin; Dedebayrakta, Damla; Inan-Eroglu, Elif; Ellahi, Basma; Besler, Halit T.; Hacettepe University; University of Chester; Eastern Mediterranean University (MDPI, 2018-09-20)
      The use of the nutrition facts label has been associated with healthy eating behaviours for adults. However, the relationship between nutrition facts label use and overall diet quality is not well known in young adults, a vulnerable group that acquire lifelong eating behaviours during this period of life. This study aimed to assess if the use of information on the nutrition facts label is associated with a higher diet quality in young adults. In this cross-sectional study, 958 university students, aged 18-34 years were recruited. Nutrition facts label use was recorded. Dietary intake was assessed using 24-hour dietary recall. Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI-2005) scores were calculated. HEI-2005 score was significantly associated with using nutrition facts label (P < 0.001). The mean total HEI-2005 score was 60.7±10.11, 62.4±11.43 and 67.1±12.23 respectively for Never, Sometimes and Every time users of nutrition facts label (P < 0.001). Subgroup scores of HEI-2005 for total fruits, whole fruits, total vegetables, whole grains, milk, oils, saturated fat, and calories from solid fat, alcohol and added sugar (SoFAAS) were significantly higher in regular nutrition facts label users (P < 0.05, for each). This study showed that young adults who regularly use nutrition facts label have a higher diet quality.