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Nicholson faces more flak from MPs, skimmed milk makes children fat and why bikini waxes may be a bad idea

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Tuesday 19 March

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson been criticised by MPs on the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee over big pay rises for consultants and a range of other issues, including his penchant for first class rail travel, writes The Guardian in its top health news story this morning.

The chief executive, who has faced a campaign from some newspapers to step down following the publication of the report into serious failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS foundation trust, endured a ‘long, tetchy grilling’ two weeks ago from MPs, according to the newspaper.

The questioning was again hostile on Monday, particularly from the chair, Margaret Hodge, over a National Audit Office report last month that questioned how much value was achieved by a 2003 deal for consultants that gave them pay rises of up to 28% in exchange for productivity increases.

The Telegraph on the other hand opts to headline on a rise in genital warts caused by bikini waxes. Shaving and waxing of bikini lines could be behind an explosion in the number of cases of a type of sexually transmitted infection that causes unsightly warts, doctors are warning.

Shaving the pubic region causes ‘micro-trauma’ of the skin, boosting the chance of a pox virus called Molluscum contagiosum, say the French experts.

French doctors wanted to know if this rise was linked to the growing fashion for ‘Brazilians’ and other forms of pubic hair removal. They looked through records of visits to a private skin clinic in Nice from January 2011 to March 2012, and identified 30 cases of water warts infection. All but two of the 30 patients had undergone pubic hair removal. Twenty of the 28 had been shaved, five clipped and three waxed.

Writing in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, they warned: ‘Hair removal (especially shaving) could favour its acquisition, propagation and transmission by micro-traumatisms.’

The Telegraph further goes on to report on two other new health studies, including one that showed that a lack of physical activity is causing up to 37,000 premature deaths a year in England - more than a third of the total. The figure was calculated by the South West Public Health Observatory and the campaigning group Sustrans.

It further reports that giving toddlers skimmed or 1% fat milk could cause them to become overweight or obese, according to the counterintuitive results of another study. US researchers found healthy-weight two-year-olds who regularly drank these types of milk were 57% more likely to be overweight or obese at four, as those who drank full-fat milk.

Full-fat milk may satisfy children’s appetites better, thereby making them less likely to raid the cupboard for truly unhealthy snacks like biscuits and cakes, they argued.

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