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TAP Bulletin October 2008

Posted date:
24th Oct '08
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Younger people putting their health at risk through poor diet and low fluid intake, study shows.

Many young and middle-aged adults are putting their long-term health at risk by not living a balanced lifestyle, according to a study.

More than half of the study respondents (55 per cent) were not physically active because they did not have the time and only 10 per cent managed to eat the recommended ‘five a day’ intake of fruit and vegetables.

Only 11 per cent ate the recommended amount of wholegrains, which is needed for a healthy diet and only 12 ate the ideal amount of dairy foods. Almost one-third never or seldom ate any oily fish, which is recommended for its omega 3 content, which helps in healthy brain functioning.

Men and women aged 25-54 in 13 areas of England, Scotland and Wales were asked about their diet and lifestyles in the survey, carried out during July 2008.

The report, ‘21st Century Ills: Are People’s Lifestyles Putting Them at Risk?”, was commissioned by the Tea Advisory Panel, a group of nutritionists, dieticians and doctors who are striving to provide impartial information regarding the health benefits of tea.

“21st Century Ills: Are People’s Lifestyles Putting Them at Risk?” found there were links between general well-being and health behaviours such as eating and physical activity. Poor diet was also linked with ‘distress’, when people were asked how they felt, and all those who did not have a healthy diet said they experienced ‘distress’.

“21st Century Ills: Are People’s Lifestyles Putting Them at Risk?” report also found that many people were often dehydrated, which can lead to fatigue, anxiety and depression. And while water is assumed to be the only re-hydrating option, Tea and fruit juices too can also replenish the body with fluid intakes. In fact, most of the study’s subjects were unaware that tea is in fact 99 per cent water.  In addition the survey’s respondents were also unaware of the many proven health benefits associated with black tea.

When it came to healthy eating, nearly a quarter of those surveyed (23 per cent) admitted to less than healthy eating habits, while 57 per cent viewed their diet as ‘quite healthy’. The survey questioned people on their intake of the four key dietary requirements: wholegrain foods, fruit and vegetables, dairy foods and oily fish/omega-3 fatty acids.

Only 11 per cent of those surveyed ate the recommended amount of at least three portions a day of wholegrain foods. Even fewer (10 per cent) ate five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Although three portions of dairy foods a day is recommended to gain the calcium and other essential nutrients for bone and general health, nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) were eating less than two portions a day and only 12 per cent were eating at least three portions.

In terms of oily fish, almost a third said they rarely or never ate oily fish, while 26 per cent said they ate three portions a week or more.

Dr Ann Walker, a member of the Tea Advisory Panel and senior lecturer in human nutrition at the University of Reading, said: “This research shows a number of associations between diet and wellbeing which would be worth following up with clinical studies.  Most people know the healthy eating messages by now, but are not implementing them.   The good news for Brits is that their favourite drink, tea, is also associated with health benefits.  Daily consumption helps you to keep hydrated, enhances your intake of antioxidants and makes you feel better.” 

Dr Walker adds: “Drinking black tea, preferably four cups a day, has important health benefits that can help combat the stresses and strains of 21st century living. The calcium in the milk can help contribute to your daily dairy requirement, and black tea itself has a whole host of health-giving properties.”

FACT FILE…… ‘21st Century Ills: Are People’s Lifestyles Putting Them at Risk’ report found that……

1. Tea was the most popular hot drink to be consumed at home, either every day or most days, by both men (69 per cent) and women (71 per cent). It was more popular among older people, aged 40-54, than among those aged 25-39 (67 per cent). Overall, men estimated that they drank 22 cups of tea each week and women 20.8 cups a week.

2. According to the study’s respondents, almost a third (30 per cent) said they would have a cup of regular tea as a ‘pick-me-up’, and the same number said they would have chocolate bar, while 12 per cent said they would have a cigarette.

3. Eating junk food was seen as a way of dealing with feeling down or depressed, with nearly half of women and one in three men admitting they indulged in it when they felt angry or depressed.

4. 40 per cent of men and 36 per cent of women in TAP’s study said they exercised three times a week for at least 20 minutes. But 25 per cent of men and 29 per cent of women said they did not exercise much at all, with a further 12 per cent of both genders saying they had spells of regular exercise, but then lapsed.

-ends-

Notes to editors:

*The Tea Advisory Panel is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the UK Tea Council, the trade association for the UK tea industry. The panel has been created to provide media with impartial information regarding the health benefits of tea. Panel members include nutritionists, dieticians and doctors.

**100 men and women 25-54 were interviewed face to face in England, Scotland and Wales in March 2008.

*** T ea is hydrating and the caffeine in a typical cup does not act as diuretic. A recent study found that you would have to consume six to seven cups of ordinary tea in one sitting (more than 300mg of caffeine) to be at risk of dehydration, and then the risk was minimal. 

****Pregnant women are advised to limit caffeine consumption to 300mg per day (equivalent to six cups of tea).  There are no official limits on caffeine consumption in non-pregnant consumers.

References:

1) Debette S, Courbon D, Leon n. Tea consumption is inversely associated with carotid plaques in women. Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc Biol 2008; 28;353-359.

2) Tan LC, Koh WP, Yuan JM et al Differential effects of black versus green tea on risk of Parkinson’s disease in the Singapore Chinese health Study Am J Epidemiol 2008; 167: 553-60.

3) Kwon YI, Apostolidid E, Shetty K. Inhibitory potential of wine and tea against a-amylase and a-glucosidase for management of hyperglycaemia linked to type 2 diabetes. J Food Biochemistry 2008; 32:15-31.

For more information please contact:

Julia Riddle at Julia.riddle@nexuspr.com  or 020 7052 8855 / 07985472535

Nicky Smith at nicky.smith@nexuspr.com or 0207 808 9750 / 07867513361

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