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The hidden perils of acupuncture, abortion linked to subsequent premature birth, and can you be obese yet healthy?

A round-up of the health news headlines on Wednesday 5 September

People can be obese yet physically healthy and fit and at no greater risk of heart disease or cancer than normal weight people, writes the BBC this morning. The key is being ‘metabolically fit', meaning no high blood pressure, cholesterol or raised blood sugar, and exercising, according to the researchers who looked at data from over 43,000 US people. In the study published in the European Heart Journal, more than a third of the participants were obese, but half of them were assessed as metabolically healthy after a physical examination and lab tests. The researchers said that it shows that getting more exercise can keep you healthier, even if you still carry a bit of extra weight.

Meanwhile another study has revealed that acupuncture could be doing more harm than good. The Daily Mail writes that hundreds of NHS patients undergoing acupuncture have suffered complications including dizziness, collapsed lungs and even needles being left in their bodies. The study published in the International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine, looked at reports of harm following acupuncture on a national database which records all incidents in the NHS. There were 325 reports of patients coming to harm after having acupuncture over two years with 100 cases of needles being left inside the body, 63 where patients lost consciousness and a further 99 which saw people feeling dizzy or faint. Another five patients suffered collapsed lungs. 

The Telegraph and the BBC have both reported on the latest research showing women who have ‘surgical' abortions are more likely in the future to give birth to babies prematurely than women who have medically-induced terminations.The study published in the BMJ adds evidence to previous work showing that women who have induced abortions increase their risk of having a premature baby, according to the BBC. The researchers at Aberdeen University who studied the health data of more than 600,000 Scottish women found that those who aborted their first pregnancy were 37% more likely to have a subsequent premature birth than those in their first pregnancy. However, they were 15% less likely to have a subsequent pre–term birth than women who had previously suffered a miscarriage. 

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