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Don’t eat for two, drink for one and be merry with as many as possible: Today’s round up of health stories

By Lilian Anekwe

Our round up of health news headlines on Wednesday 28 July.

It's interesting that today, when I'm feeling tired and crabby and far short of the full tin of beans one needs to get through a day at Pulse, that Government statistics reported in The Independent suggest that more than three out of four applicants taking the new ‘work capability assessments', needed to claim incapacity benefit, also fail since the tests were brought in in October 2008.

I'm also interested to learn, as a habitual knuckle cracker who grew up with my mum's dire warnings that it will lead to arthritic hands in later life, that the fact that I'm classed by the Department of Health's NHS alcohol calculator as a binge drinker could mean that I have a lower risk of arthritis and less severe symptoms if I do have arthritis. Nice one.

Overweight mothers who do not shed their baby weight before becoming pregnant again are putting themselves and their babies at risk of complications, the Daily Telegraph says, reporting on health experts who are apparently determined to shatter the myth that pregnant women need to eat for two.

Postmen doing their rounds on a bicycle are risking their health because of the increasingly heavy loads they are carrying. The Daily Telegraph reports on figures from the Royal Mail that show that, contrary to the belief that everyone is now emailing or texting or twittering, the art of the old-fashioned letter has not been lost: in 2008-9 more than 1,000 dedicated posties on bicycles were injured carrying post, a 14% jump on the year before.

A circle of close friends and strong family ties can boost a person's health more than exercise, The Guardian says. You can live up to 50% longer if you have a wide social group, according to researchers, who are ‘calling on GPs and health officials to take loneliness as seriously as other health risks, suck as alcoholism and smoking.'

But don't use your mobile to keep in touch with your vast, supportive and healthy social network, as research in the Daily Mail suggests your mobile carries more than 18 times more bacteria than a men's toilet.

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

Daily Digest - 28 July 2010