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Paper Monitor

11:46 UK time, Tuesday, 23 October 2007

A service highlighting the combined food groups of the daily press.

It's all very well the papers going on about the war on obesity (Independent, p2) but shouldn't they take a long hard look at themselves before taunting their readers about weight gains. Stand up the Guardian, with its five sections today. It's just about excusable at the weekend, when we can all justify a little indulgence, but heavens, it's only Tuesday.

On the subject of diet and healthy eating – not long ago such subjects were the features carbohydrate, helping bulk out the otherwise often uninspiring diet of news roughage. But then, all of a sudden, weight became a life or death issue and got promoted up the order to the newsy pages, leaving the health sections looking a little malnourished.

Tuesday is the day to mention this because somehow – maybe it’s the dark forces of a secretive editorial cartel at work – the press deemed Tuesdays to be health day.

So, what's on offer?

- "Half-awake? Join the club" says the Daily Mail, in its GoodHealth centre spread. The piece raises the spectre of a syndrome Paper Monitor had been ignorant of until now – semi-somnia… or is that just what doctors call day-dreaming?
- A day after the papers told us that positive thinking makes zero difference to fighting disease, the Guardian's Wellbeing section tells us to "Think yourself fit", with tips on the "psychological tricks that make all the difference". Plus there's a piece about lack of sleep.
- The Daily Telegraph's Lifeclass gives the obesity story a new twist, with its agony aunt style approach – a woman writing to ask how she can tell her sister to lay off the chow.
- Fair play to the Indy – it at least calls a spade a spade, or, in this case, its health section "Health". But what's this – Paper Monitor kicked off this entry by highlighting its front of house story, headlined "British people are the fattest in Europe, says Government report". But then, tucked away near the middle of the paper, is this piece: "Who are you calling fat? We're told there's an obesity 'epidemic'. Yet there's not a shred of evidence."

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