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Daily Digest 4 November 2009

Today's roundup – including doubts over NHS Choices feedback, a rethink of child obesity predictions and why tomatoes are a 'dieter's dream'.

By Lilian Anekwe

Today's roundup – including doubts over NHS Choices feedback, a rethink of child obesity predictions and why tomatoes are a 'dieter's dream'.

We've waded through the now unavoidable daily update on the exploits of X-Factor contestants John and Edward (fine, if you insist: they upstaged similar tabloid newspaper staple and celebrity ex-husband Peter Andre at a movie premiere in London last night) to bring you the medical news that really matters. Or at least, the best today's papers have to offer.

Right, let's get cracking. It's not just Pulse who dares to suggest that NHS Choices may be little more than a vast waste of money – the Daily Telegraph today also carries a story on page two reporting that patients ignore NHS league tables and follow advice from their GP or their own common sense when choosing a hospital for treatment.

A King's Fund poll found only 4% of people chose their hospital on the basis of the information provided on NHS Choices, compared to 41% who relied on previous experience and 36% who followed the advice of their ever-sage and all-knowing GP.

Another poll, this time by mental health charity Rethink, finds stress is behind two thirds of all visits to GPs. The Daily Mirror also reports the number one cause of stress is money worries (41%), followed by work pressure (29%), while genuine health issues only trails in third, at 24%.

You may be seeing fewer overweight children according to reports in The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, who both say the previous government's forecasts of a relentless rise in childhood obesity rates may have been, er, wrong.

Unlike their colleagues in the Home Office, ministers in the Department of Health have decided to listen to scientific advice and revise their earlier predictions, from 34% of children aged between two and 11 being obese, down to 23%.

And what self-respecting daily news round up would be complete without a random medical story from the Daily Mail? Certainly not this one, which is just as well, as today the Daily Mail proclaims that tomatoes are 'a dieter's dream'. They are ‘rich in compounds that alter levels of appetite hormones' - ghrelins, if you must know – that keep hunger pains at bay.

And it doesn't stop there. Lycopene, the pigment that gives tomatoes their red colour, is mooted as ‘particularly effective at combating prostate cancer [and] may ward off many other cancers including breast, cervical, skin, lung, bladder and pancreatic.' Blimey.

As a nice antidote, the Independent has a feature today called 'The A to Z of conflicting health advice' which you may like to display prominently in your waiting room.

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know and we'll update the digest throughout the day...

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