• Can Weight Watchers (WW) Help Address Maternal Obesity? An Audit of Weight Change in Women of Childbearing Age and Mothers-To-Be, Referred into a Commercial Slimming Programme.

      Tocque, Karen; Kennedy, Lynne; orcid: 0000-0002-4699-2602; email: l.kennedy@chester.ac.uk (2021-11-05)
      The scale of overweight and obesity amongst women of childbearing age or mothers to be, living in Wales, places a considerable burden on the NHS and public health. High BMI (over 30) during pregnancy increases the health risks for mother and baby. Policy advice recommends weight management services are available to help women lose weight before and whilst planning pregnancy. In parts of Wales, NHS partnerships with commercial companies provide weight management services for women considering or planning pregnancy. This study evaluates whether an established referral Weight Watchers (WW) programme, known to be effective in adults in England, can help mothers-to-be living in North Wales lose weight. Analysis used routine data from 82 referrals to WW between June 2013 and January 2015. Participants received a referral letter inviting them to attend face-to-face group workshops combined with a digital experience. The programme encompassed healthy eating, physical activity and positive mind-set. Trained WW staff measured bodyweight before, during and at 12 weeks. On entry to the course, participants had a median age of 31.4 years (interquartile range (IQR) 28-34) with a median BMI of 36.8 kg/m (IQR 33.3-43.7). Women completing the course (n = 34) had a median weight loss of 5.65 kg (IQR 0.45-10.85), equating to 5.7% (SD 3.46) of initial body weight. Intention-to-treat analysis (last observation carried forward), which included lapsed courses n = 66, showed a median weight loss of 3.6 kg (IQR - 2.53 to 9.73), equating to 3.7% (SD 3.62) of initial body weight. Overall, there was significant weight loss during the WW programme (Wilcoxon signed rank test Z = - 6.16; p < 0.001). Weight loss was significantly correlated with the number of workshops attended (Spearman correlation coefficient 0.61 p < 0.001). The proportion of all 82 participants (intention to treat, baseline observation carried forward) that achieved a weight loss of ≥ 5% initial weight was 30.5%. Referral of obese mothers-to-be into WW can successfully achieve short-term weight loss, at or above 5%, in approximately one third of participants. The dose-response effect supports a causal inference. Successful weight loss at this critical life stage may provide women with the necessary motivation to initiate weight loss for healthy pregnancy, however further research is required. [Abstract copyright: © 2021. The Author(s).]
    • Eating for 1, Healthy and Active for 2; feasibility of delivering novel, compact training for midwives to build knowledge and confidence in giving nutrition, physical activity and weight management advice during pregnancy

      Basu, Andrea J.; Kennedy, Lynne; Tocque, Karen; Jones, Sharn; University of Chester; Wrexham Maelor Hospital (BioMed Central, 2014-07-04)
      Background: Women in Wales are more likely to be obese in pregnancy than in any other United Kingdom (UK) country. Midwives are ideally placed to explore nutrition, physical activity and weight management concerns however qualitative studies indicate they lack confidence in raising the sensitive issue of weight. Acknowledging this and the reality of finite time and resources, this study aimed to deliver compact training on nutrition, physical activity and weight management during pregnancy to increase the knowledge and confidence of midwives in this subject. Methods A compact training package for midwives was developed comprising of evidence based nutrition, physical activity and weight management guidance for pregnancy. Training was promoted via midwifery leads and delivered within the Health Board. Questionnaires based on statements from national public health guidance were used to assess changes in self-reported knowledge and confidence pre and post training. Descriptive statistics were applied and 95% confidence intervals were calculated. Results 43 midwives registered for training, 32 (74%) attended and completed the questionnaires. Although, pre training knowledge and confidence varied between participants, statistically significant improvements in self-reported knowledge and confidence were observed post training. 97% indicated knowledge of pregnancy specific food and nutrition messages as ‘better’ (95% CI 85 to 100), as opposed to 3% stating ‘stayed the same’ – 60% stated ‘much better’. 83% indicated confidence to explain the risks of raised BMI in pregnancy was either ‘much’ or ‘somewhat better’ (95% CI 66 to 93), as opposed to 17% stating ‘stayed the same’. 89% indicated confidence to discuss eating habits and physical activity was ‘much’ or ‘somewhat better’ (95% CI 73 to 97) as opposed to 11% stating ‘stayed the same’. Emergent themes highlighted that training was positively received and relevant to midwifery practice. Conclusions This study provides early indications that a compact nutrition, physical activity and weight management training package improves midwives self-reported knowledge and confidence. Cascading training across the midwifery service in the Health Board and conducting further studies to elicit longer term impact on midwifery practice and patient outcomes are recommended.
    • Haemoglobin and Hematinic Status Before and After Bariatric Surgery over 4 years of Follow-Up

      Shipton, Michael J.; Johal, Nicholas J.; Dutta, Neel; Slater, Christopher; Iqbal, Zohaib; Ahmed, Babur; Ammori, Basil J.; Senapati, Siba; Akhtar, Khurshid; Summers, Lucinda K. M.; et al. (Springer US, 2020-09-01)
      Abstract: Purpose: Bariatric surgery is associated with deficiencies of vitamins and minerals, and patients are routinely advised supplements postoperatively. We studied prevalence of vitamin B12, folate and iron deficiencies and anaemia before and after bariatric surgery over 4 years of follow-up. Materials and Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort analysis of 353 people with obesity, including 257 (72.8%) women, who underwent gastric bypass (252, 71.4%) or sleeve gastrectomy (101, 28.6%) at our National Health Service bariatric centre in Northwest England. Results: At baseline, mean (standard error) age was 46.0 (0.6) years, body mass index 53.1 (0.4) kg/m2, serum vitamin B12 400.2 (16.4) pg/L, folate 7.7 (0.2) μg/L, iron 12.0 (0.3) μmol/L, ferritin 118.3 (8.4) μg/L and haemoglobin 137.9 (0.8) g/L. Frequency of low vitamin B12 levels reduced from 7.5% preoperatively to 2.3% at 48 months (P < 0.038). Mean folate levels increased from baseline to 48 months by 5.3 μg/L (P < 0.001) but frequency of low folate levels increased from 4.7% preoperatively to 10.3% (P < 0.048). Ferritin levels increased from baseline to 48 months by 51.3 μg/L (P < 0.009). Frequency of low ferritin levels was greater in women (39.1%) than in men (8.9%) at baseline (P < 0.001) and throughout the study period. Haemoglobin was low in 4.6% of all patients at baseline with no significant change over the study period. Conclusion: There were notable rates of haematinic insufficiencies in bariatric surgical candidates preoperatively. Our study lends further support to regular supplementation with vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron in people undergoing bariatric surgery.
    • Haemoglobin and Hematinic Status Before and After Bariatric Surgery over 4 years of Follow-Up

      Shipton, Michael J.; Johal, Nicholas J.; Dutta, Neel; Slater, Christopher; Iqbal, Zohaib; Ahmed, Babur; Ammori, Basil J.; Senapati, Siba; Akhtar, Khurshid; Summers, Lucinda K. M.; et al. (Springer US, 2020-09-01)
      Abstract: Purpose: Bariatric surgery is associated with deficiencies of vitamins and minerals, and patients are routinely advised supplements postoperatively. We studied prevalence of vitamin B12, folate and iron deficiencies and anaemia before and after bariatric surgery over 4 years of follow-up. Materials and Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort analysis of 353 people with obesity, including 257 (72.8%) women, who underwent gastric bypass (252, 71.4%) or sleeve gastrectomy (101, 28.6%) at our National Health Service bariatric centre in Northwest England. Results: At baseline, mean (standard error) age was 46.0 (0.6) years, body mass index 53.1 (0.4) kg/m2, serum vitamin B12 400.2 (16.4) pg/L, folate 7.7 (0.2) μg/L, iron 12.0 (0.3) μmol/L, ferritin 118.3 (8.4) μg/L and haemoglobin 137.9 (0.8) g/L. Frequency of low vitamin B12 levels reduced from 7.5% preoperatively to 2.3% at 48 months (P < 0.038). Mean folate levels increased from baseline to 48 months by 5.3 μg/L (P < 0.001) but frequency of low folate levels increased from 4.7% preoperatively to 10.3% (P < 0.048). Ferritin levels increased from baseline to 48 months by 51.3 μg/L (P < 0.009). Frequency of low ferritin levels was greater in women (39.1%) than in men (8.9%) at baseline (P < 0.001) and throughout the study period. Haemoglobin was low in 4.6% of all patients at baseline with no significant change over the study period. Conclusion: There were notable rates of haematinic insufficiencies in bariatric surgical candidates preoperatively. Our study lends further support to regular supplementation with vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron in people undergoing bariatric surgery.
    • Restoring Perivascular Adipose Tissue Function in Obesity Using Exercise

      Saxton, Sophie N; Toms, Lauren K; Aldous, Robert G; Withers, Sarah B; Ohanian, Jacqueline; Heagerty, Anthony M; email: tony.heagerty@manchester.ac.uk (Springer US, 2021-03-09)
      Abstract: Purpose: Perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) exerts an anti-contractile effect which is vital in regulating vascular tone. This effect is mediated via sympathetic nervous stimulation of PVAT by a mechanism which involves noradrenaline uptake through organic cation transporter 3 (OCT3) and β3-adrenoceptor-mediated adiponectin release. In obesity, autonomic dysfunction occurs, which may result in a loss of PVAT function and subsequent vascular disease. Accordingly, we have investigated abnormalities in obese PVAT, and the potential for exercise in restoring function. Methods: Vascular contractility to electrical field stimulation (EFS) was assessed ex vivo in the presence of pharmacological tools in ±PVAT vessels from obese and exercised obese mice. Immunohistochemistry was used to detect changes in expression of β3-adrenoceptors, OCT3 and tumour necrosis factor-α (TNFα) in PVAT. Results: High fat feeding induced hypertension, hyperglycaemia, and hyperinsulinaemia, which was reversed using exercise, independent of weight loss. Obesity induced a loss of the PVAT anti-contractile effect, which could not be restored via β3-adrenoceptor activation. Moreover, adiponectin no longer exerts vasodilation. Additionally, exercise reversed PVAT dysfunction in obesity by reducing inflammation of PVAT and increasing β3-adrenoceptor and OCT3 expression, which were downregulated in obesity. Furthermore, the vasodilator effects of adiponectin were restored. Conclusion: Loss of neutrally mediated PVAT anti-contractile function in obesity will contribute to the development of hypertension and type II diabetes. Exercise training will restore function and treat the vascular complications of obesity.
    • Sarcopenia during COVID-19 lockdown restrictions: long-term health effects of short-term muscle loss

      Kirwan, Richard; orcid: 0000-0003-4645-0077; email: r.p.kirwan@2018.ljmu.ac.uk; McCullough, Deaglan; orcid: 0000-0002-9882-9639; Butler, Tom; orcid: 0000-0003-0818-1566; email: t.butler@chester.ac.uk; Perez de Heredia, Fatima; orcid: 0000-0002-2537-3327; Davies, Ian G.; orcid: 0000-0003-3722-8466; Stewart, Claire; orcid: 0000-0002-8104-4819 (Springer International Publishing, 2020-10-01)
      Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is an extraordinary global emergency that has led to the implementation of unprecedented measures in order to stem the spread of the infection. Internationally, governments are enforcing measures such as travel bans, quarantine, isolation, and social distancing leading to an extended period of time at home. This has resulted in reductions in physical activity and changes in dietary intakes that have the potential to accelerate sarcopenia, a deterioration of muscle mass and function (more likely in older populations), as well as increases in body fat. These changes in body composition are associated with a number of chronic, lifestyle diseases including cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, osteoporosis, frailty, cognitive decline, and depression. Furthermore, CVD, diabetes, and elevated body fat are associated with greater risk of COVID-19 infection and more severe symptomology, underscoring the importance of avoiding the development of such morbidities. Here we review mechanisms of sarcopenia and their relation to the current data on the effects of COVID-19 confinement on physical activity, dietary habits, sleep, and stress as well as extended bed rest due to COVID-19 hospitalization. The potential of these factors to lead to an increased likelihood of muscle loss and chronic disease will be discussed. By offering a number of home-based strategies including resistance exercise, higher protein intakes and supplementation, we can potentially guide public health authorities to avoid a lifestyle disease and rehabilitation crisis post-COVID-19. Such strategies may also serve as useful preventative measures for reducing the likelihood of sarcopenia in general and in the event of future periods of isolation.