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In brief

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 01 October 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5180

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Free school meals should stay, say doctors: More than 40 leading doctors and campaigners have signed a letter to the Sunday Times calling on the government to rethink its plan to scrap free school lunches for infants in England, which they described as “a bedrock of a transformative childhood obesity strategy.”1 A third of children leave primary school overweight or obese, they wrote, and they claimed that only 1% of packed lunches met nutritional standards for school food. The free lunch policy, in place since last September at a cost of £600m (€810m; $900m) a year, could pay for itself “many times over” by reducing the cost of treating obesity and related diseases, said the letter.

Cases of female genital mutilation in England rose by more than 1000 in three months: A total of 1036 new cases of female genital mutilation and 1159 related hospital attendances were recorded in England between April and June 2015, show figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.2 Since September last year 4989 cases have been recorded in England. Cases are likely to rise …

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