Life and Style Obalon - a new weight loss balloon that can be swallowed in a pill and has been launched across the UK

The apple-sized balloon is encased in a pill which patients swallow

Slimming fads have been around for more than 2,000 years

Dieting: Battle of the bulge

Fad diets are nothing new – people have been following them for two millennia. A look back on 20 centuries of bingeing, purging, snake oil and strange ideas

MBEs for ordinary people who did extraordinary work

New Year Honours: Unsung Heroes

McCoy faces two weeks out after fall

The early indications are that Tony McCoy should be sidelined for around a fortnight after being sent to hospital yesterday with suspected rib fractures, sustained in a fall at Taunton.

Lisa Markwell: The real taste test is getting our teenagers to eat at all

Ever since we witnessed the dispiriting sight of mothers feeding their children takeaway burgers through the fence on a Jamie Oliver show, school dinners have become political.

Joanna Blythman: Don't fall for the low-cal trick

Don't rush to applaud fast food restaurants for displaying calorie counts on their Big Macmenus. This move, which comes as part of a deal between the Government and the food industry, might look enlightened, but it is no more than a marketing ploy that will yield no rewards for the nation's health.

Scientists debunk decades-old theories on losing weight

Dieting is harder than you think. If you cut out a chocolate bar each day you will lose only one-third of the weight that experts had thought. For decades, doctors have based their advice to those who want to lose weight on the assumption that cutting 500 calories a day will see the weight fall off at the rate of 1lb a week.

'Fat and fit live as long as slim'

People who are fat and fit live just as long as their slim counterparts and are less likely to die from heart disease, according to a new study.

Toddler drowns in health club pool

A toddler has drowned in the swimming pool of a health club, police confirmed today.

Drug trials yield higher weight loss

The search for a drug-based solution to the problem of obesity faces a common difficulty – if the treatment is safe it is not effective, and if it is effective it is not safe.

The Cost of Obesity

£4.2 billion is spent on obesity every year by the NHS.

'Humiliation' of being overweight

The archetypal overweight woman is between 45 and 54, has been married for 20 years, weighs 13st 3lbs, wears size 18, and experiences humiliation every day.

'Greatest loser' award for man who shed 17 stone

A former taxi driver who shed 17 stone won a slimming award today.

TB may have killed Jane Austen

Novelist Jane Austen may have died from tuberculosis rather than Addison's disease as is widely believed, an expert said yesterday.

Album: Mad Men Season 2, Retail & rental, (Lionsgate)

Mad Men will never win any awards for promoting a healthy lifestyle. If you can see through the cigarette fug, yes, that is yet another drink the team at ad agency Sterling Cooper is downing.

David Randall: I'm David and I'm a teetotaller. What has Alan Johnson begun?

Our writer owns up to a profligate life as a pineapple juice pariah
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas