Newspaper headlines: Health warnings and snow fears

Family doctors will be told to identify patients who are putting on weight as part of a new national programme to help fight obesity, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, is quoted as saying it's time for the country to "get back in shape" in order to protect millions of people from a host of obesity-related diseases.

According to several papers, the UK is the second-fattest nation in Europe.

The UK must create a new health security agency to guard against future pandemics, the Belgian scientist who discovered the Ebola virus in 1976 tells the Independent.

'Textbook example'

Prof Peter Piot says Britain and Europe lack an "epidemic intelligence service" with global reach, leaving them "vulnerable" and less able to intervene in overseas health crises.

He envisages a well-trained corps of people who are specialists in outbreak control, underpinned by strong research and science.

Professor Piot, who has just returned from his first visit to Sierra Leone, has been speaking to the Guardian too, where he offers very warm words of praise for Britain's response to the Ebola outbreak, which he calls a "textbook example of how to do things".

There's a distinct chill on several front pages as readers are warned of the wintry weather said to be heading our way.

"Snow is predicted to bombard Britain", says the Times, as a "dangerous cold snap grips the country".

It will "spark travel chaos and health fears", warns the Daily Mirror.

Britain is on a "big freeze alert" according to the Daily Express. Fierce and chilly winds, it says, could see temperatures plunge as low as -14C (7F) in places by New Year's Day.

The Daily Mail talks of the "Boxing Day weather bomb".


Many of the papers report figures suggesting Britain has overtaken France as the fifth-biggest economy in the world.

The Sun sees it as a "triumph" and "one in the Eiffel for the French".

The Mail calls it a significant boost for George Osborne, but points out it was aided by the Office of National Statistics including earnings from drugs and the sex trade for the first time.

The French figures do not include these industries, the paper adds.

Finally, if you left your Christmas shopping to the 11th hour, it seems you were pretty well organised compared to some people.

Under the headline: "Last-minute shopping was so 2013", the Guardian says it has been told by Amazon that there was a spike in online gift card sales at 10:00 GMT on Christmas Day itself.

And, just after lunch, there was another surge as shoppers headed to the website to download books, movies and TV shows - and redeem their gift cards.

There are similar tales from other retailers in the Mail; millions of us were online for much of Christmas Day it would seem - spending £441,000 a minute.