In the news: Police custody deaths, obese children and why more sex is good…

Date: 24/07/2018 Written by: Rosie 3 minutes to read.
Research Review

Police custody deaths has hit a 10-year high, the prevalence of childhood obesity is at a record high amount and having sex increases sense of meaning in life. We want to get you thinking and talking, which is why we've pulled together and provided a brief overview of some of the research topics which have caught our eye over the past couple of weeks.

Police custody deaths hit 10-year high, with experts citing austerity

Recent reports have shown that police custody deaths have “hit their highest level in a decade”. A total of 23 people died in or after detention in 2017-18, up from 14 people the previous year.

“More than half had mental health problems” who stated the conditions included psychosis, depression and self-harm or suicidal tendencies. “Eighteen people had drug and or alcohol issues”. Deborah Coles of Inquest, said “austerity was a contributing factor, with mental health services being overwhelmed”.

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Record number of severely obese children

New figures from Public Health England have revealed that one in 25 10-11 year olds “were severely obese”. This amounts to more than 22,000 children, the highest level since records began.

Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England, Dr Alison Tedstone states that “bold measures are needed to tackle this threat to our children’s health”. This statement comes after the Department of Health announcing recently that the “second phase of its childhood obesity plan” to help halve childhood obesity by 2030.

These figures have been “decades in the making” after levels of childhood obesity have seen an “upward trend” over the last 10 years.

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Earth's resources consumed in ever greater destructive volumes

A new study has shown that we collectively have consumed a “years’ worth of carbon, food, water, fibre, land and timer in a record 212 days.” This has resulted in the ‘Earth Overshoot Day’, the day which marks the point at which “consumption exceeds the capacity of nature to regenerate” being brought forward two days to 1st August, “the earliest date ever recorded”.

The study does state that the situation is “reversible” explaining that political action is “far more effective than individual choices”. For example, “efficiency improvements” in industry infrastructures would result in a 50% reduction of the “carbon component of the footprint” which would push back the Overshoot Day by an extra three months.

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Rising global meat consumption 'will devastate environment'

In the past couple of weeks, scientists have warned that the rising meat consumption – on a global scale – will “likely” have a devasting “environmental impact” on our planet.

A mixture of “average individual income” and an increasing world population, analysts suggest that meat consumption is set to “climb steeply” which could play a “significant role in increasing carbon emissions and reducing biodiversity”.

This rise in consumption hasn’t stopped in recent years, as the average amount of meat consumed per person has “nearly doubled in the past 50 years”. Recent evidence has suggested that some countries around the world – including the UK – may have reached “peak meat”.

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Having SEX increases your sense of meaning in life, study reveals

Researchers have revealed that sex is a “key factor” to affecting your “mood and sense of meaning in life”. 152 students were asked to keep a diary for three weeks documenting “their mood, how meaningful their life felt, and any sex they had”.

Analysis of the diaries took place and revealed that having sex on one day “was associated with a more positive mood the following day.” It also resulted in a “greater feeling” that life is ‘meaningful’. The results showed no difference based on the participants gender but doesn’t take analysis regarding sexual orientation.

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