Three babies ill after virus outbreak at ERI neonatal unit

THREE babies have fallen ill following an infection outbreak at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary neonatal unit.

It is understood that all the children are now doing well and there have been no new cases since Saturday.

NHS Lothian sent letters to parents keeping them informed of the outbreak at the unit and their efforts to control it.

The unit has 24 cots but it is not known how many babies were in over the weekend.

Investigations have been on-going to find the source of the virus, although this morning it was still unknown.

Health chiefs have also carried out a thorough clean of the unit, on top of their usual efforts, to prevent it from spreading.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Sick Kids Hospital have helped devise a new way of tackling childhood obesity based using a traffic light system where red is used to warn youngsters about potentially unhealthy food and drinks.

Experts from the children's hospital have been working alongside their counterparts at the Sick Kids in Glasgow and researchers from Glasgow University.

They believe evidence shows that their method is more effective at tackling the growing weight problem among children than current practices.

Almost one in five Scottish children are obese by the time they leave primary school.

Professor John Reilly, who led the research team, said: "Children were encouraged to alter their diet, to increase their physical activity and to restrict their sedentary behaviour, like TV viewing and playing computer games, to no more than two hours per day.

"Several behavioural techniques were used to motivate families and help them make lifestyle changes

"As the intervention focused on behaviour change rather than weight change, children were only weighed three times during the six month programme.

"We compared the standard treatment programme used in the Scottish NHS with this new, practical, treatment programme."

The aim of the project was not to measure the weight loss of the children, although there was a modest reduction in BMI of participants, but to slow down their weight gain so as they grew older they would "grow into their weight".

The results showed major changes in behaviour in many cases, with the new treatment group doing up to 30 minutes more exercise each day than before.

There was also a dramatic improvement in health-related quality of life of those taking part, particularly in relation to social and emotional wellbeing.

The professor added: "The new treatment had greater benefits for weight and lifestyle, with increased physical activity and reduced sedentary behaviour, which we measured using activity monitors.

"But most importantly, it was well received by the children and their parents."

Prof Reilly said: "Our study shows that treatment of childhood obesity can be both practical and beneficial.

"Children and their families can make and sustain modest changes in lifestyle if offered an appropriate treatment programme.

"There are no magic bullets available for treatment of childhood obesity but the results of this study provide hope that treatment programmes can work, and suggest that treatment should continue for periods of up to a year."

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