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Soap opera drinking 'irresponsible', warns health chief

Hard-drinking soap characters offer an "irresponsible" portrayal of excessive alcohol consumption, according to the Chief Medical Officer for England

Analysis of six weeks of soap operas and found characters drinking too much on 162 occasions, with negative consequences often left out.

The Rovers Return pub is frequented by characters in Coronation Street. Credit: Eamon and James Clarke/Eamonn and James Clarke/EMPICS Entertainment

However, Dame Sally Davies' report on the state of the nation's health points out that this kind of portrayal of drinking is not a modern phenomenon - every single one of Shakespeare's plays mentions alcohol at least once.

She also says that the way drinking is presented in popular culture is out of kilter with ordinary people's behaviour.

"Drinking to excess is not ‘normal behaviour’, and portraying it as such is irresponsible. Some 75% of the population does not consume excessive quantities of alcohol, and the proportion of the population which abstains from alcohol (15% in 2009) is increasing," she writes.

Obesity 'becoming seen as normal', warns medical chief

Being overweight is now seen as normal, according to the Chief Medical Officer Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Being overweight or obese is in danger of becoming seen as normal, the Chief Medical Officer for England has warned.

Dame Sally Davies said she was "increasingly concerned that society may be normalising being overweight".

The Chief Medical Officer said consumption of sugary drinks was contributing to obesity. Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Her annual report on the state of the nation's health said excessive consumption of sugar, particularly in soft drinks, was one of the factors behind rising obesity.

Dame Sally is calling on food and drink manufacturers to tweak their products so they have less added sugar.

She also said a 'sugar tax' may need to be considered if the industry's efforts to make products healthier are not successful.

'Fertility does not just disappear overnight' in 30s

The Family Planning Association has said women should not "panic" over their ability to conceive as they reach their thirties.

Spokeperson Natika Halil, told the Daily Telegraph:

Fertility doesn’t just disappear overnight. While women should be mindful, let’s not panic – you don’t wake up at 34 and suddenly discover you can’t have kids. There are a myriad of reasons why women can’t conceive, it’s not always linked to age.

The comments came as England's Chief Medical Officer expressed concern about the number of women choosing to postpone motherhood until their late 30s and early 40s.

Medical chief: Women delaying motherhood 'worrying'

Dame Sally Davies said there are issues with the "steady shift" to have children later. Credit: Press Association

England's Chief Medical Officer has voiced concern about the number of women choosing to delay motherhood until their late 30s and early 40s, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Professor Dame Sally Davies reportedly told a group of health professionals on Thursday:

“The steady shift to have children later, there are issues with that. We all assume we can have children later but actually we may not be able to.

Prof Dame Sally added that she was “lucky” to have had two children in her 40s.

However, she also emphasised that she was not suggesting women should have children earlier, saying “It’s not for me to tell women what to do".

The chief medical officer's comments come as figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 1 in 5 women now reach the age of 45 without having children.