A weighty issue

Hong Kong women are popping thousands of slimming pills a day, despite the danger to their health.

In 2004 the Hong Kong Association of Obesity made an interesting discovery: it found that the men in Hong Kong had been getting fatter since the early 1990s, while the women had been getting slimmer. Three years later it finally discovered why. It seems that Hong Kong women are addicted to popping pills to lose weight and some have carried it to a dangerous extent.

Travel footnotes

Fell sick on your last trip? Your hotel room may be to blame.

I once had a boyfriend whose family members communicated with each other via scribbled notes, left where the intended recipient could not fail to see them. The house was a treasure trove of missives, but the one that really gave me pause was left by his mother on his father’s reading chair: “I see you are no longer using your cream. Congratulations on beating your fungus.” Yikes.

Vegan? Here, have some leaves

Does eating a special diet mean that you have to take your kitchen with you in a cabin bag? It is time for people with specific food requirements to stand up and be counted.

Recently, I took a luxury cruise where I spent almost every day going hungry, and later, a cooking class where I ate like a prince and learnt something about being on a special diet while travelling.

A malaria-free future?

It prevails in 105 countries and kills more people than AIDS and tuberculosis combined. Its victims include both old and young, and nearly half of those infected are in Asia. As another year dawns, are we any closer to eliminating malaria at last?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), malaria is responsible for nearly 3 million deaths worldwide each year. It remains the most important and widespread tropical disease, and its treatment and control have become more difficult with the spread of drug-resistant strains of parasites and insecticide-resistant strains of mosquito vectors.