Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Drinking plenty of red wine won’t help you lose weight

Monday Jun 22 2015

Sorry to be party poopers but The Daily Telegraph’s headline "How to lose weight - drink plenty of red wine," is simply nonsense. The study it reports on did not involve red wine and was carried out on mice, not humans…

Weighing yourself every day may help with weight loss

Friday Jun 19 2015

"Stepping on the scales every day could be the key to weight loss, a study has found," the Mail Online reports. This report was based on a US study which suggested daily weighing can lead to a small, though sustainable, loss in weight...

Traffic and aircraft noise linked to bigger bellies

Tuesday May 26 2015

"Living near a main road causes people to gain weight with the risk of obesity," is the slightly dubious claim in The Daily Telegraph. While a Swedish study did find an association between noise pollution and obesity, cause and effect has not been proved…

Obesity in teen boys may increase bowel cancer risk in later life

Tuesday May 26 2015

"Teenage boys who become very obese may double their risk of getting bowel cancer by the time they are in their 50s," The Guardian reports. A Swedish study found a strong association between teenage obesity and bowel cancer risk in later adulthood…

Children of the 90s more likely to be overweight or obese

Wednesday May 20 2015

"Children of the 90s are three times as likely to be obese as their parents and grandparents," the Mail Online reports. A UK survey looking at data from 1946 to 2001…

Overweight diabetics 'live longer' than slimmer diabetics

Monday May 11 2015

"Overweight diabetics are 13 per cent less likely to die prematurely than those of a normal weight or those who are obese," the Mail Online reports. Research suggests that the obesity paradox may be involved in diabetes…

Eating little and often 'no better for dieters than fewer feasts'

Friday May 8 2015

"Eating little and often – like Jennifer Aniston – could help dieters achieve a healthy weight loss," reports the Mirror. Meanwhile, the Mail Online urges us to "Forget three square meals a day – eating six smaller portions...

Brain’s 'hunger hub' could be switched off

Tuesday Apr 28 2015

“Have scientists found a way to banish hunger pangs?,” the Mail Online asks. The question is prompted by research in mice looking at the “biological pathways” that regulate appetite and hunger…

There are six different types of obesity, study argues

Monday Apr 20 2015

"Researchers have identified six 'types' of obese person," The Independent reports. It's argued that each type would benefit from a targeted treatment programme for obesity, rather than a "one-size-fits-all" approach…

Middle age 'starts at 60' claims media

Thursday Apr 16 2015

"Middle age begins at 60, say researchers," The Times reports. A new population modelling study estimates that due to increased lifespan, what was once regarded as elderly should be seen as middle-aged, and this trend will continue into the future…

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