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Councils paying less than recommended minimum for personal health care, WHO tackling preventable cancer and why sex is good for you

Our round-up of the health news headlines on Tuesday 4 February

Local authorities are paying less than the industry recommended minimum for personal health care, the BBC reports.

The investigation of 101 councils revealed that only four of them paid the minimum wage recommended by the industry body.

The UK Homecare Association (UKHCA), which represents providers, says that £15.19 an hour, to cover wages, training and travel, should be the minimum.

One provider told the BBC that quality care was not possible at the levels being paid.

The top story in the Guardian today is the World Health Organisation’s call for a global drive to tackle the causes of cancer caused by lifestyle choices.

The WHO predicted that the number of new cases of cancer could soar by 70% to almost 25 million a year in the next 20 years.

It says that half of these cases are preventable, because they are linked to lifestyle, such as alcohol abuse, sugar consumption and obesity, its World Cancer Report found. The focus should be on preventing these cases and not treating our way out of it, they argue.

The report said that the incidence of cancer globally has increased from 12.7 million new cases in 2008 to 14.1 million in 2012, when there were 8.2 million deaths. By 2032, it is expected to hit almost 25 million a year – a 70% increase.

It said that the days of handing out of leaflets to prevent smoking were gone, and governments should look to making legislation – such as banning smoking in public places – to tackle these lifestyle problems.

And finally, some good news for young couples – but not such good news for married ones: the Daily Mail reports that having more sex could provide health benefits.

A Canadian study last month found that half-an-hour of sexual activity could burn more calories than walking on a treadmill - the researchers claimed sexual activity could be considered significant exercise. In a typical session lasting 25 minutes, men burned an average of 100 calories, women 69, the Mail reported.

However, in a finding that chimes well with Digest, unfortunately we may not be seeing the benefits – as we are having sex one and a half times less a month than 20 years ago.

Oh well, we’ll just have to go back to eating extra fruit to boost our health, in that case.

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