Who is meeting fruit and vegetable intake targets?

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What you need to know: “2 fruits & 5 veg” dietary target for fruit and vegetables may be a dietary strategy to overcome overweight among men, but that overweight and obese women are already adhering to these targets.

What this research is about: This study is about the association between body mass index (BMI) and habitual fruit and vegetable consumption in a large sample of 246,995 Australian adults aged 45 + year.

What did the researchers do: We calculated fruit and vegetable intake from validated short questions in survey, and calculated Body Max Index (BMI) by self-reported weight and height by participants. The association between fruit and vegetable intake and BMI Data was analysed using multinomial logistic regression separately for men and women.

What did the research find: Compared to people with healthy BMI, underweight men and women were less likely to meet 2 fruit and 5 veg target, or at least 5 serves of fruit or veg a day target. Overweight or obese women were more likely to meet these targets while overweight or obese men were less likely to meet these targets.

How can you use this research: This research provides insight into potential relationship between fruit, vegetable intake and weight for people aged 45 or older.

Keywords: fruit; vegetables; BMI; dietary guidelines; obesity

Contact person: Karen Charlton

Citation: Charlton, K.; Kowal, P.; Soriano, M.M.; Williams, S.; Banks, E.; Vo, K.; Byles, J. Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Body Mass Index in a Large Sample of Middle-Aged Australian Men and Women. Nutrients 2014, 6, 2305-2319.  

How does retirement affect mental health?

What you need to know: Retirement was associated with high level of psychological distress in men aged from 45 to 74 and in women aged from 45 to 64. Retiring to care for other people, or due to being ill, or being made redundant was also associated with high level of psychological distress.

What this research is about: This research aims at investigate the relationship between retirement and psychological distress for men and women aged from 45 to 79 years.

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What did the researchers do: We looked at data from over 200,000 men and women living in New South Wales aged from 45 to 79 years, and analysed if there is an association between retirement and psychological distress. We looked at men and women separately depending on their ages. Reasons why participants retired were also investigated to see if this also affects their mental health.

What did the research find: Retirement was associated with high level of psychological distress in men and women aged from 45 to 64 years. This finding was also supported in men aged from 65 to 74 years, but not in women in this age group. Being sick or unemployed was also associated with high level of psychological distress, compared to being in paid work. Among retirees, those who retired because of ill health, being made redundant or to care for other people had high level of psychological distress.

How can you use this research: This research supports a relationship between retirement and psychological distress. This will help to shape policies for retirement transition and help to improve metal health for retirees, especially those who are at younger ages (45 to 64) and those who retire because of ill health or being made redundant.

Keywords: retirement, mental health, reasons for retirement

Contact person: Kha Vo (Kha.Vo@newcastle.edu.au)

Citation: Vo K, Forder PM, Tavener M, Rodgers B, Banks E, Bauman A, Byles JE. (2014) Retirement, age, and mental health: A cross-sectional analysis of 202,584 Australians aged 45 years and older. Aging and Mental Health. 2014.  

Use and efficacy of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for victims of intimate partner abuse

What you need to know:

No studies measuring the level of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use amongst victims of intimate partner abuse (IPA) victims were identified. Three studies were found that assessed the effect of CAM on the mental health of this population, with two looking at yogic breathing, and one assessing music therapy. All studies showed some beneficial effects; however, each had a small sample, brief intervention period, and no follow-up measurement and were considered to be at high risk of bias.

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What this research is about:

IPA is a widespread and serious public health problem. Despite its substantial mental health burden, findings indicate that consultation with mental health services amongst victims is sub-optimal, and suggest a potentially important role for CAM as an alternate source of healing. However, no systematic review has examined the use, or effectiveness, of CAM amongst this population. The aim of this review was to determine the extent to which victims of IPA use CAM, and to examine the effects of CAM on their mental health.

What did the researchers do:

A systematic review was conducted, with Medline, Scopus, and Web of Science searched for (i) studies measuring the extent to which victims of IPA use CAM and (ii) the effects of CAM on their mental health. No language, publication date, or publication status restrictions were imposed. One author extracted data based on predefined selection criteria. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration tool.

What did the research find:

The literature search provided a total of 160 citations, 47 of which were duplicates. Of these, two studies met the selection criteria concerning CAM effectiveness, while another effectiveness study was identified by checking the reference lists of these papers. No studies measuring the level of CAM use amongst IPA victims were identified. Of the three studies assessing CAM effectiveness, two looked at yogic breathing, while one assessed the effect of music therapy. All three studies showed some beneficial effects; however, each had a small sample, brief intervention period, and no follow-up measurement and were considered to be at high risk of bias.

How can you use this research:

The review highlights the lack of research examining the use and efficacy of CAM for victims of IPA. Findings from the studies suggest that CAM, specifically music therapy and yogic breathing, may be beneficial to people who have experienced IPA, however methodological limitations mean that these results should be interpreted with caution. It is important that future research measures the uptake of CAM amongst this population, and that more rigorous and methodologically-sound investigations of the effects of CAM are conducted. This work should include larger sample sizes, longer interventions and extended follow-up periods.

Keywords: Complementary and alternative medicine; systematic review; intimate partner abuse; violence; women’s health

Contact person: Luke Duffy – Luke.Duffy@newcastle.edu.au

Citation: Duffy L, Adams J, Sibbritt D, Loxton D. Complementary and alternative medicine for victims of intimate partner abuse: A systematic review of use and efficacy. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2014, 963967.

Dietary intervention reduces maternal blood pressure and the incidence of preterm delivery

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What you need to know:

Dietary interventions showed some small but significant differences in pregnancy outcomes including a reduction in maternal blood pressure and the incidence of preterm birth. Further high quality randomised controlled trials, investigating micronutrient provision from food, combination dietary intervention, and spanning the duration of pregnancy (inclusive of preconception) are required to identify maternal diet intakes that optimise pregnancy outcomes.

What this research is about:

The association between early life nutrition and long-term health has been of interest for decades. There is an abundance of evidence to suggest that when a woman has a good state of health and nutrition prior to and during pregnancy, there is a greater chance of a successful pregnancy and birth outcome. Inadequate nutrition during this time, particularly the first trimester, impairs fetal growth and has long-term negative consequences for the mother and developing fetus. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of dietary intervention before or during pregnancy on pregnancy outcomes.

What did the researchers do:

A systematic review was conducted without date restrictions. Randomised controlled trials evaluating whole diet or dietary components and pregnancy outcomes were included. Two authors independently identified articles for inclusion and assessed methodological quality. Meta-analysis was conducted separately for each outcome using random effects models. Results were reported by type of dietary intervention: (i) counselling, (ii) food and fortified food products, or (iii) combination (counselling + food); and collectively for all dietary interventions. Results were further grouped by trimester when the intervention commenced, nutrient of interest, country income and body mass index.

What did the research find:

Of 2326 screened abstracts, a total of 28 randomised controlled trials were included in this review, which included 8,322 participants. All studies were of positive or neutral quality according to the American Dietetic Association Quality Criteria Checklist, with 24 studies conducted in high income organisation for economic co-operation and development countries. Results indicate that dietary interventions during pregnancy, particularly dietary counselling, slightly reduce blood pressure (0.66 mmHg systolic and 2.76 mmHg diastolic) but not hypertensive disorders. Dietary interventions focusing on macronutrient intake reduce the incidence of preterm delivery (21% decrease in the odds). No other significant effects were observed for the other pregnancy outcomes.

 How can you use this research:

This review advances our understanding of the role of nutrition for a healthy pregnancy by observing small reductions in BP and slight increases in the length of gestation. Further large high-quality RCTs investigating combination dietary intervention and micronutrient provision from food are needed. Future trials beginning in preconception and spanning for the duration of pregnancy, as well as between pregnancies are needed to advance our understanding of optimal nutrition for maternal-child health.

 Keywords: diet, pregnancy, randomised controlled trial, systematic review, meta-analysis

Contact person: Ellie Gresham: ellie.gresham@uon.edu.au

Citation: Gresham, E., Bisquera, A., Byles, J.E., & Hure, A.J. The effects of dietary interventions on pregnancy outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Maternal and Child Nutrition. 2014.