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PFI’s, fat firefighters and why you should walk to work

Did you take the stairs rather than the lift today? If not then guilt may set in after reading the Daily Mail's story warning that lack of activity causes more deaths than smoking, obesity or diabetes.

To combat the nation's exercise apathy, it suggests GPs should ask patients how far they walk rather than what they weigh and get them to keep exercise diaries, a study published in the Lancet found.

Professor Karim Khan, from the University of British Columbia, said: 'Physical activity affects every system. Not getting enough can lead to a range of illnesses including cancers and diabetes.'

'You don't have to be an Olympian. If people take more than 150 minutes exercise a week, including walking, they probably don't need to worry about it.

'If they take less their doctor needs to be encouraging them to take more.'

You wouldn't think that lack of activity would be a problem for firefighters. But think again- as researchers at Loughborough University found that half of the UK's firefighters are classed as overweight and 13% are clinically obese.

That makes most firefighters fatter than the general British public.

The study's authors said rising obesity could ‘present a hindrance to operational effectiveness' as carrying heavy equipment and unconscious victims, climbing stairs in high-rise buildings - and not forgetting sliding down poles - was a requirement of the role.

From overweight people to bloated public spending - The Guardian revealed that controversial ‘private finance initiatives' will end up costing the taxpayer more than £300 billion by the time they are paid off future decades.

Currently 717 PFI contracts under way across the UK are funding new schools, hospitals and other public services.

Deemed ‘a bit of dodgy accounting – a way in which the government can pretend they're not borrowing when they are' by Nick Clegg in 2010, much of this expense is to do with running costs. However some critics say that the schemes provide poor value for money, and the interest rates paid on borrowing the same amount of money would have been less than the total cost of the PFI projects.

The Telegraph reported on NICE's decision not to provide Avastin on the NHS as a treatment for women with advanced breast cancer. The manufacturer Roche says it provided data showing the drug - which starves the tumour of blood - can stall the disease for fourth months, extending life by wight months to more than two years.

However NICE, which has already turned down Avastin in bowel, kidney and lung cancer, said there was no evidence to show the drug led to an improvement in overall survival or could improve a patient's quality of life and as a result was not a cost effective use of NHS resources.