Life and Style Only 3.4 per cent of the Solihull area is covered by housing

It isn’t hard to find an architect who will tell you that vast swathes of the British urban landscape are ugly, grey and unappealing – nor would you struggle to find people who agreed with them. But could it be that the look and the layout of our cities is actually bad for our health?

Alice Jones: Switch off your brain, your plate is about to speak

IHMO: Talking plates don't fit well with the Government's much-trumpeted "nudge theory"

'Overweight' Tevez gets Argentina coach's support

Carlos Tevez's lack of fitness cost him a place in the Argentina squad for their friendlies in Asia but he is still central to their thinking, new coach Alejandro Sabella said yesterday.

Poor sleep 'poses health risks'

Poor sleep quality greatly increases the risk of high blood pressure in older men, a study has found.

Leading article: The case for a fat tax

Tobacco has wreaked its havoc across the world. Now the food industry is following in its wake. Calorie-dense, tasty fast food has spread round the globe in the last four decades, changing dietary habits and leading to an epidemic of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. What can be done? It is time to take a leaf out of tobacco's book and bring in a fat tax. In the UK the idea of imposing extra VAT on burgers, chips and sweets was floated by Downing Street in 2004. It was vetoed by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, on the grounds that it would disproportionately fall on the poor.

Leading article: Diets: not for children

A diet book for six-year-olds is shortly to be published in the United States and will soon find its way across the Atlantic. Predictably, nutrition experts are throwing up their hands in alarm. Between the ages of six and 12 is a prime time for the emergence of anorexia, which can develop into a lifelong, and sometimes fatal, condition.

Diet book for girls as young as six provokes outrage from doctors

The book is about a fat girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being insecure to being a school football star

Chances of getting bowel cancer double

The risk of getting bowel cancer and the chances of surviving it have both doubled in a generation.

Tom Sutcliffe: Consumer choice is what's making kids fat

Social Studies: The PR company promoting Change4Life also has Kentucky Fried Chicken, PepsiCo, Mars and Pizza Hut on its client list

Deborah Ross: This shampoo scandal just can't go on

If you ask me...

Fast food 'exclusion zone' set up

A council will help protect children from obesity by setting up 400m "exclusion zones" around its schools to block new fast food takeaways from opening.

Diabetes: Cases double in 30 years - and the outlook is bleak

Nearly one in 10 adults now has the disease, according to major study

Amaechi wants his OBE to inspire

Former NBA player John Amaechi hopes his OBE for services to basketball can inspire other British prospects.

Rise in obesity sees resurgence in heart attacks

It sits behind the ribs pumping 100,000 times a day to carry nourishment to the furthest extremities of the body. But the heart is vulnerable to the excesses of a Western lifestyle.

Energy drinks make children fat, not fit, says study

Parents are are making their children fat and ruining their teeth by buying them sports or energy drinks and should give them water instead, doctors have warned.

Drug regulator accused of harming patients with secrecy

Scientists say data must be released to allow the true benefits and harms of drugs to be independently assessed
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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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there