I’ve just got back from speaking at the second Public Health Collaboration Conference. This one was held at the Manchester Metropolitan Business School in a typical university lecture room. The room was full to capacity, with approximately 250 people in attendance. The days were long and packed with speakers – 8am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday. The weekend happened to be the hottest in the UK so far this year – 28’c or so – and the lecture room wasn’t much cooler! The welcome was equally warm and the energy throughout was palpable. The delegates were a mix of healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, dieticians, consultants) and members of the public. It was an audience of the converted and the attendees are then able to convert others. It was particularly encouraging to see so many medical practitioners at this conference, as this is a level where a difference can, and is likely to, be made. There are three levels at which change needs to occur: 1) Public Health bodies need to change public health dietary advice. 2) Healthcare professionals need to change advice given to patients. 3) Individuals can change. Those individuals then become visible examples of what can be achieved and they inspire family and friends. 1) would be the most powerful, but sadly is the least likely because of arrogance, ignorance and conflict of interests. 3) is the most prevalent, but sadly reaches the fewest people. 2) is the most promising way forward, as single individuals (like Dr David Unwin) can make a difference to hundreds of people. This is why healthcare professionals are the focus of the Public Health Collaboration – founded and run by the smart, capable and endlessly positive, Sam Feltham. If you ever wonder about coming to one of these conferences and you haven’t attended yet – I cannot encourage you strongly enough to try one. A number of people who came alone made friends in the registration queue. People were swapping their own experiences, with lifestyle change, as readily as email addresses. Round tables for the delicious lunch (thank you Hannah Sutter and the Natural Low Carb store) ensured that everyone could socialise and a number of people paid a premium to dine with the speakers on Saturday evening. As with my newsletter following the Breckenridge conference, it is impossible to cover all presentations (and they all end up on line), so I have picked out an area that I think will be of particular interest to you. This newsletter, therefore, focuses on Dr Jason Fung’s presentation, with some added insights from (dietician) Dr Trudi Deakin’s talk. The theme is weight loss and fasting and I’ll cover: a summary of why eat less and/or do more doesn’t work; Jason’s view on the factors necessary for long term weight loss; the role that fasting could play with weight loss; and my views about fasting as a tool in the diet battle.
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