But it’s apparently so severe that older people, together with youngsters and the vulnerable, have been urged to stay indoors as unusually high levels of air pollution have smothered London and other cities. The pollution is reportedly the result of inland pollution and powerful dust storms, which have swept in from the Sahara.  

One expert, referenced in the Guardian this week, said the threat to health was so great that even usually healthy people who exercise outdoors, such as cyclists, might end up with a sore throat or cough until the pollution ends.

Sounds like a good excuse to stay at home and crack on with a TV box set. And for those over 65, if Australian researchers are to be believed, it may be possible to indulge in more ways than one this weekend. They found that over-65s with a body mass index (BMI) of about 27.5, which is considered overweight, are much more likely to live longer than their more svelte counterparts.  

Lead author of the research, Professor Caryl Nowson said, “It is time to reassess the healthy weight guidelines for older people... Our results showed that those over the age of 65 with a BMI of between 23 and 33 lived longer, indicating that the ideal body weight for older people is significantly higher than the recommended 18.5 to 25 ‘normal’ healthy weight range”

For those looking to put on a pound or two though, don’t, whatever you do, reach for the (dark) chocolate. Further research released this week has suggested that an antioxidant in cocoa can prevent weight gain and help lower blood sugar levels, which could help prevent Type 2 diabetes.