The message for women is that being fat isn't just unhealthy – it's shameful. Photo: Mason Masteka
Fat-shaming women doesn’t make us any slimmer
By Glosswitch - 03 June 10:47

Over the past few decades the ideal female body, as depicted in adverts and on film and TV, has got thinner and thinner, yet the average woman has got fatter and fatter.

Brenda was troubled by shadows in broad daylight. Photo: Getty
The tragic tale of a holiday never taken
By Phil Whitaker - 23 May 12:49

A swift death and antimacassars that turned into faceless people meant that Aubrey and Brenda never got to take the holiday they craved.

Best of British: the NHS was celebrated at the Olympics Opening Ceremony. But is there still a white bias for doctors? Photo: Getty
White GPs have a far higher exam pass rate than black or Asian ones
By Phil Whitaker - 08 May 13:22

In his Health Matters column, Dr Phil Whitaker discusses how the Royal College of GPs came under attack for possible discrimination. 

Some of the midwives and patients from the fifth series of One Born Every Minute. Photo: Phil Fisk
One Born Every Minute is the opium of the masses
By Myriam Francois-Cerrah - 22 April 15:25

Like millions of others, I love Channel 4’s maternity documentary. But it is feeding us an overly rosy view of an NHS suffering from staff shortages and cutbacks.

Vintage cereal boxes: breakfast cereals have been especially implicated in childhood obesity. Photo: Getty
How the lessons of the long war on tobacco can help us shape up on our new front line: obesity
By Phil Whitaker - 17 April 17:00

The NHS is gradually waking up to the need to provide structured support to people keen to lose weight, just like smoking cessation services.

Breaking the silence: why we should be talking about male eating disorders
By Ashley Cowburn - 16 April 16:00

An eating disorder doesn’t consider your gender. It is indiscriminate.

Young women in Somalia take part in a discussion on FGM, February 2014. Photo: Getty
Zero-tolerance on FGM doesn’t have to be an attack on multiculturalism
By Reema Patel - 11 April 16:45

The problem is that many feel they have to pick a side. But we know that cultures are not as fixed and unchanging as powerful advocates within them may like to make out.

Passing out ceremony: an Irish guard faints on St Patrick’s Day Parade, Aldershot 2012. Photo: Getty
I thought the man had only passed out until he mentioned the severe stomach pain
By Phil Whitaker - 04 April 12:00

Sometimes things are not as they first seem, recalls Dr Phil Whitaker about the time when a simple faint turned out to be an aneurysm. 

2 in 3 smokers wish they could stop and 9 in 10 wish they had never started. Photo: Getty
Why we should ban the sale of cigarettes to people born after the year 2000
By Tim Crocker-Buqué - 28 March 12:21

Someone who starts smoking at age 15 is three times more likely to die of tobacco related cancer than someone who starts in their mid-20s.

Neurosurgeon Henry Marsh. (Photo: Tom Pilston)
Life and death at his fingertips: watching a brain surgeon at work
By Erica Wagner - 20 March 10:00

Henry Marsh is one of the country's top neurosurgeons and a pioneer of neurosurgical advances in Ukraine. Erica Wagner witnesses life on a knife-edge.

Relatives of passengers aboard Flight MH370 wait in vain for news. (Photo: Getty)
Coping with the trauma of missing flight MH370
By Amanda Harris - 18 March 17:11

While the world searches for the plane or theorises about its disappearance, what about the effects on the desperate families and friends waiting for news – and even us?

John Kelly performing in Graeae’s production of Reasons To Be Cheerful. (Photo: Alison Baskerville)
Back to basics: the government’s grim decision to kill off the Independent Living Fund for disabled people
By Frances Ryan - 14 March 12:00

Two years ago John Kelly, an artist and long-term wheelchair user, was singing at the Paralympics Opening Ceremony. Without the ILF this would never have been possible.

Julie Bailey, of campaign group Cure the NHS. Photo: Getty
If the NHS is to improve, we have to realise sometimes things have to close
By Jonn Elledge - 12 March 10:39

Closing important services for financial reasons is stupid. But closing expensive things we don’t need so that we can spend the money on new things that we do isn’t.

We write them off as vulnerable, non-sexual burdens – but the elderly are not just a problem to be solved
By Brian Kellett - 28 February 16:08

A new regular column, "Nurse in the City", by Brian Kellett.

Caterpillars. Photo: Getty
Got a cold? Eat caterpillars
By Michael Brooks - 28 February 8:34

Why medinical zinc is not all it's cracked up to be.

Prenatal classes in 1968 at the hospital in Margate, Kent. Photo: Getty
Don't call the midwife: why we're obsessed with “natural” childbirth
By Jessica Grose - 21 February 17:49

A new history of the Lamaze technique is balanced and impressive, but, like almost everything connected to childbirth, it is not entirely neutral or impassive.

A London opium den in the 1870s, by Gustav Doré. Image: Hulton Archive/Getty
Queen Victoria on cannabis, and all the other things you never knew about drugs
By Steven Poole - 19 February 14:09

Modern governments have long demonised drugs, but the world now may be inching its way back towards the more rational view held in the 19th century.

Passengers on a crowded tube train, 2014. Photo: Getty.
Behold how the wage-slaving grunts welcome the invasion of the rent-a-squaddies
By Will Self - 13 February 17:21

Britain’s ongoing flirtation with a military way of life.

Antidepressants fluoxetine photographed in the US. Photo: Getty Images.
When are we mature enough to make life-or-death decisions about our body?
By Phil Whitaker - 12 February 10:32

This 16-to-17 age band can pose the most acute ethical dilemmas, as a case in my area illustrated all too starkly.

A second hand bookshop in Glasgow. How many books is too many books?
You wouldn’t believe how much more objectionable I’d be if I wasn’t a socialist
By Nicholas Lezard - 12 February 10:31

That I have lived pretty much entirely self-sufficiently for six and a half years is a matter of some astonishment.

The mystery tan and the snore that threatened a marriage
By Phil Whitaker - 06 February 8:41

Two needles in the haystack of general practice.

Sometimes, a lump is just a lump and it’s best to let sleeping tumours lie
By Phil Whitaker - 23 January 17:55

With the best intentions, modern medicine is leading many people to opt for invasive surgery they do not need.

I didn't fully understand what it means to be pro-choice ... until I decided not to have an abortion
By Sarah Ditum - 21 January 9:06

After getting pregnant at 20, the life I thought I'd have suddenly vanished. Knowing that I still had control over what happened to my body helped me to come to terms with my new future.

Why obesity is no longer a rich world problem
By Sophie McBain - 03 January 11:52

Obesity rates triple in developing countries. A report by the Overseas Development Institute has found that one in three adults globally is obese.

New out-of-hours care reforms were a game of Russian roulette for GPs. We pulled the trigger
By Phil Whitaker - 19 December 16:49

Come April 2014, our out-of-hours service will be run by strangers based many hundreds of miles away.

Christmas in A&E is a time like any other. Just take off the deely-boppers when giving bad news
By Brian Kellett - 15 December 15:30

If you’re the kind of person who thinks, “It’s Christmas – A&E will be empty,” and comes in to have their verruca treated, you are wrong.

Children's Hospital.
Why don't we care about children's pain?
By Patrick McGrath - 13 December 14:34

Until the 1980s children were given no anaesthesia during open heart surgery - and we still don't manage their pain properly now.

Why it's time for plain cigarette packaging
By Michael Brooks - 12 December 14:47

The take-home message on smoking from science? Quit now.

Why it's time to ditch the word "cancer"
By Adrian Marston - 12 December 12:38

A former president of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland argues that the word “cancer” is unhelpful in efforts to lead patients away from quacks.