‘Teenagers are going to be the ones to beat childhood obesity’

by Annette Ekin Teenagers rarely have a say in the public health policies that concern them, but we can’t halt the childhood obesity problem without working with them, says Professor Knut-Inge Klepp, executive director of the mental and physical health division at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. He is the project coordinator of CO-CREATE, … Read more

Homemade energy gets boost to go mainstream

Viticulture is a good starting point for community-based energy initiatives, according to researchers, as it is both energy-intensive and vulnerable to climate effects.

By Gareth Willmer New rules and initiatives to support communities wanting to produce their own renewable energy could help ordinary people play a key role in the European Union’s transition to clean energy. These moves, which include new EU legislation and the rollout of so-called living labs around Europe, look set to bolster people’s growing … Read more

‘We still don’t know enough about the dangers of microplastics’

There is 'large uncertainty' surrounding the risk from microplastics, pieces of plastic less than 5mm wide, says Prof. Bart Koelmans.

by Jonathan O’Callaghan An estimated 5.25 trillion particles of plastic float in Earth’s oceans, threatening not only the health of marine ecosystems and animals, but that of humans in the water we drink and the food we eat. However, research into the extent of the dangers posed by microplastics is still just in its infancy. … Read more

Democracy: ‘Inclusion is the future – not exclusion’

Prof. Merkel says that despite the challenges presented by right-wing populists, democracies in Western Europe remain deeply rooted in strong liberal civil societies. Image credit - Prof. Wolfgang Merkel/ David Ausserhofer

by Annette Ekin The rise of right-wing populism is being fuelled by polarisation in society that we must address without resorting to the claim of moral superiority, or protest voters will become the permanent supporters of these new parties, says Wolfgang Merkel, director of the Democracy and Democratisation research department at the WZB Berlin Social … Read more

Can gut microbes and genes do the job of weight loss surgery?

Scientists have linked post-operative changes in gut bacteria to improvements in metabolic diseases. Image Credit - Sue Sapp (CC BY 2.0)

by Emanuela Barbiroglio Mice that have undergone weight loss surgery experience a change in the composition of their gut bacteria and the functioning of their genes, leading scientists to explore the possibility of mimicking these changes to develop a non-surgical treatment for obesity and liver disease in humans.  Obesity and associated metabolic diseases such as lifestyle-related … Read more