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Health checks and Zumba for NHS staff, suicidal medical students and how being overweight ‘speeds up’ Alzheimer’s

NHS staff will be offered Zumba and yoga classes as well as health checks at work, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens is set to announce today.

The major drive to improve staff health and reduce a £2.4bn bill for sick leave absences comes as Mr Stevens himself lost 20kg through a work-based fitness incentive programme, the Guardian reports.

The scheme, which will also ban junk food from hospitals, also marks a triumph for Pulse’s Battling Burnout campaign, as Mr Stevens will promise to roll out a new GP occupational health support scheme, including specialist mental health support services to help with stress and burnout, from next April.

One in three medical students has experienced a mental health problems and one in seven has contemplated suicide, the Independent reports.

The survey of 1,000 medics, published in Student BMJ, poses worrying questions about the extent of mental illness and the pressures of medical training, and also highlighted a number of risky behaviours among students.

One respondent said: ‘The stigma with mental health issues especially comes into focus when exposed to consultants and tutors who refer to it as a weakness.’

Finally, the Telegraph reports that being overweight rapidly speeds up the onset of Alzheimer’s disease – and each BMI point counts.

Researchers said being just one BMI point above the healthy range could bring Alzheimer’s onset seven months closer for people aged over 50. People who are seriously obese could develop neurodegenerative disease years before they would have if they were a healthy weight.