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Many adults and young people indulge in excessive unhealthy behaviour which leads to obesity and related conditions
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Smoking is the leading cause of preventable ill health and death
Ken Judge
Ken Judge: "Unless people can be persuaded to adopt healthier lifestyles then recent gains in life expectancy will be reversed."

Press Release - 18 September 2008

University of Bath conference tackles the health of the nation

Teenage mental health, childhood obesity and the dangers of an over-indulgent lifestyle are amongst the topics to be discussed at the annual School for Health Research Matters conference on Friday 19 September.

This event will showcase some of the diverse research activity taking place throughout the School for Health that is influencing policy at a regional, national and international level.

It will also feature a keynote address by Professor Julian Le Grand from the London School of Economics, who will talk about the major challenges facing the nation’s health today.

The Research Matters conference will be attended by around 150 delegates including key national stakeholders from the health sector. It will be preceded in the morning by the twice yearly conference for students from across the world who are studying the School’s Professional Doctorate in Health.

The conference will feature the following topics:

Mental health of young people
Around one in ten children have symptoms that place them at risk of serious depression. Professor Paul Stallard, Professor of Child and Family Mental Health, will explain how a technique called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can prevent young people from developing mental health problems by giving them skills which help promote positive thinking, coping and problem solving. (See Related Links)

Childhood epilepsy and learning difficulties
Epilepsy is more common in children than adults and is more likely to occur in those with severe learning difficulties. Professor John Osbourne, Honorary Professor at the University’s School for Health, will present results that suggest that controlling epileptic fits reduces the severity of the learning difficulty.

Reducing the tobacco epidemic
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable ill health and death in the world, accounting for more than 5 million deaths per year globally, and 114,000 in the UK. Dr Anna Gilmore, Clinical Reader at the School for Health, will outline the growing tobacco control research agenda within the School and explain how understanding the tobacco industry can play a key role in informing tobacco control policy.

Childhood obesity
Childhood obesity rates are rising across Europe and the US with an alarming rate with lack of exercise thought to be a major cause. Professor Chris Riddoch, Professor of Sport and Exercise Science at the University, will be describing new research measuring the level of exercise in children and how this is linked to the risk of obesity.

The giants of excess: a challenge to the nation’s health
Whilst a little bit of what you like can be said to be good for you, many adults indulge in excessive unhealthy behaviour which can contribute significantly to the major sources of morbidity and mortality in our society, including cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Professor Julian Le Grand, of the London School of Economics and Chair of Health England: the National Reference Group for Health and Wellbeing, will discuss how Government policies can discourage unhealthy activities without impinging too much on personal freedom.

Professor Ken Judge, Head of School for Health said: “We stand close to the edge of a public health cliff. There is a growing risk that children and grandchildren will have shorter lives than the baby-boomer generation.

“Unless people - especially the poorest, children and young adults - can be persuaded to adopt healthier lifestyles then recent gains in life expectancy will be reversed.

“This represents a challenge for education and research as much as it does for health policy and practice. The School for Health at Bath aims to be in the vanguard of responding to this challenge”.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: