China was the Global Nutrition Report’s star performer. It was one of only two countries (the other being South Korea) that posted levels of stunting, women’s anaemia and overweight adults that were all below indications of a very serious public health risk.
China’s numbers are staggering. In the past 10 years GDP per capita has tripled, mortality rates for the under-fives have declined from 37 per 1,000 to 14, and the percentage of the under-fives who are short for their age has declined from 22% to 9%.
But how long will China remain the star performer?
Of great concern in the future are the rapid increases in overweight and obesity in China. While the rates of overweight adults in China are less than half the rates of the UK (and the rates of obesity are about a fifth of the UK’s), the rates for children less than 20 years of age are much closer.
It is this body-mass time bomb that is the most worrying aspect of China’s nutrition status. High body-mass is a risk factor for a range of diseases such as diabetes and some forms of heart disease.
Will we see UK–level rates of obesity in these adults in China in 15 years’ time?
But it is not too late. China has the opportunity and the means to show the rest of the world how to slow and reverse the apparent tsunami of obesity. It has the opportunity because the problem is not yet unmanageable and its economy is strong. This generates policy possibilities. It has the means, because of the strong ability of the state to shape the environment to make healthy choices easier and more likely.
And make no mistake about it – the world needs China to succeed. Obese people tend to consume more of the types of foods that have a higher carbon footprint such as meat, sugar and dairy. There are diets – vegetarian, Mediterranean and pescetarian for example – that are healthier for the planet and for humans. China needs to draw on traditional eating habits and move towards its own 21st century version of a healthier diet – we all have a stake in that.
If you haven’t already seen them, have a look at these animations. Talented students from the London College of Communication interpreted children’s experiences of poverty and made some very powerful short films. They show clearly why we’re needed, and why your support is so important.
Child Poverty Action Group
New research of UK teenagers has revealed that an overwhelming majority (83%) would like work experience to be made a compulsory part of the school curriculum.
The research by the Career Colleges Trust also found that more than two thirds (67%) of today’s teenagers believe work experience is beneficial for finding employment, seeing what working in a certain sector is like (63%) and more than half (56%) believe it allows you to learn valuable skills that are not taught in the classroom.
Today in Scotland, the work experience concept remains in place and there is an expectation that all pupils will have the opportunity to participate. For most mainstream secondary schools this takes the form of a one week work placement organised during a pupil’s 4th year.
So why is work experience such a good thing?
In at number one: young people are more likely to be successful in their job hunt if they have done some good work experience. Fact.
Want some evidence? Well, over half of the graduate recruiters that took part in a recent research study by Highfliers said that, “graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes.”
If you haven’t got a clue what career you want to do, work experience is a perfect way to sample all the career options out there. It’s a way of exploring different jobs without actually committing to anything. You can dip your toe in the water without taking the full plunge.
It’s the best way to get a real sense of your chosen industry. You’ll get to speak to employees and ask them questions. You won’t know what it’s like until you get closer to the action.
Doing work experience shows passion and interest. Evidence that you have done work experience shows the employer that you are motivated to get into a chosen career and that you’ve done your homework.
If you’re floundering about and frankly aren’t that bothered about your career, work experience might just be the kick up the backside you need. If you do a variety of different work placements, you might find something you are passionate about and get motivated.
Work experience gently introduces you to the world of work. You get to learn the dos and don’ts, get work place savvy and learn to navigate your way through the jungle of office politics. Vitally, it’ll give you an idea of the skills you might need to thrive in the workplace.
It’ll help you identify your own skills and perhaps even highlight the areas that you might want to work on.
You might wow them so much that you’ll manage to wrangle yourself a job!
It’s all about networking. It’ll help you build up contacts and, you never know, they might even give you a heads up about a future job or recommend you to another company.
And yes, work experience does give you something to put on your CV!
A new grassroots movement to challenge sexism, reduce mental health stigma, and save the lives of young women across the world has kicked off in Scotland.
Young women are the highest-risk group for mental illness in the UK. Research estimates 46% of young women between 11 and 21 years old have sought out treatment for mental health conditions including anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
Research has shown that psychological distress amongst young women is linked to the growing pressures that this group faces: pressures to look beautiful and thin in an age of ‘airbrushing’; social media pressures; stress at school and university; and an increase in sexual harassment. Very often, these pressures lead to low self-esteem and body image problems, with evidence suggesting that young girls start to worry about their body image from the age of 11.
Existing magazines targeting young women can compound these problems with picture perfect models gracing every page. Fearless Femme sets about challenging these cultural norms by empowering young women to overcome stress and other mental health challenges through its new online magazine and growing community of ‘rebelles’, as well as its research and campaigns for policy change.
Want to know more? Fearless Femme can be found at https://www.fearlessfemme.co.uk/our-story/
Year of Young People 2018 is an opportunity for generations to come together and celebrate our nation’s young people.
It is a platform for our young people (8 to 26). It will give them a stronger voice on issues which affect their lives, showcase their ideas and talents, and ultimately, aim to challenge status quo and create a more positive perception of them in society.
Young people’s voices have been at the heart of the Year, since planning started in 2015. After leading an in-depth consultation with hundreds of their peers, they made recommendations on what the top priorities and goals should be.
To take forward these ideas, a group of 35 young people, Communic18, was created. Their role is to influence how the Year will be run, while ensuring young people’s voices are heard and acted upon. In addition, there are more than 500 Ambassadors, who are promoting local activities and creating opportunities in their communities to challenge negative stereotypes of young people.
Activity for the Year is based around six key themes, which were developed by young people and will guide everything done:
Share and celebrate young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
Allow young people to have more say in their education and learning.
Enterprise and regeneration
Celebrate young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live.
Equality and discrimination
Recognise the positive impact of young people in Scotland and encourage them to take the lead in challenging all forms of prejudice and discrimination.
Health and wellbeing
Make sure young people have the chance to lead healthy, active lives and understand the importance of mental health and resilience.
Give young people the chance to influence decisions that affect their lives
Over the next few weeks K & M Communities will look at issues affecting young people today, we hope you enjoy.
Want to get involved or know more, visit http://yoyp2018.scot/
The town of Chapelton recently welcomed its first community library just in time for National Storytelling Week 2018.
The books, which will be located in a quiet corner of the popular Teacake Café, will act as a community library corner, or a book swap, where it is hoped residents of all ages will be able to swap, read and discuss some of their favourite books and stories. So why libraries are so important in today’s digital world?
Many people believe libraries to be a thing of the past due to the digital revolution and the rise of a gadget enamoured society. However,
“The National Literacy Trust says that children who go to a library are twice as likely as those who don’t to read well. It is not just picking up a book. It is the social experience of reading, talking about the books, browsing, comparing what you have read with family and friends. Librarians are gate keepers in that process. They open doors to new worlds, new possibilities. They ask library visitors to evaluate the information on offer. Most importantly, they give access to narratives. Children and adults do not just need information to thrive as thinking beings, but stories. Libraries are the temple of story. They are not in decline because of some natural, historic progression, but because of the monstrous cultural vandalism of savage cost-cutting. We will pay a terrible price for the behaviour of our masters.” (Alan Gibbons)
Libraries are seen by many as a lifeline and a crucial public service, especially if you are elderly, socially isolated, poor, vulnerable, or all of the above.
So why are libraries so important and why must we protect and improve them?
- They’re accessible
The obvious advantage of having a local library is that it is local. Accessibility is crucial if you have mobility problems and/or haven’t got the money for bus fare.
- They help to bridge the digital divide
People in rural areas face significant challenges when it comes to IT access, including infrastructure problems and set-up costs. The vast majority of public libraries offer free IT access and basic IT training to the public.
- They help to combat social isolation
Libraries are social places where people can chat, read and keep in touch with the outside world. For elderly people who can’t access a static library, mobile and housebound services can fill the gap. Sometimes a friendly smile from a library worker can make all the difference to an isolated and vulnerable persons day or week.
According to C.S. Lewis “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”. So next time you’re in Chapelton pay a visit to the Teacake Café and sample what both have to offer.