Obesity crisis: Fattest areas named
Three-quarters of people in some parts of England are overweight or obese, according to a new league table of the country's fattest towns and cities.
For the first time, England-wide data reveals the fattest and thinnest parts of England and the scale of the obesity crisis.
Overall, 63.8% of adults in England are overweight or obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or over.
The fattest local authority area is Copeland in west Cumbria, where 75.9% of people are overweight or obese.
This is followed by Doncaster (74.4%), East Lindsey in Lincolnshire (73.8%), Ryedale in North Yorkshire (73.7%), Sedgemoor in Somerset (73.4%) and Gosport in Hampshire (72.9%).
Then follows Castle Point in Essex (72.8%), Bolsover in Derbyshire (72.5%), County Durham (72.5%) and Milton Keynes (72.5%).
The fattest region is the North East, where 68% of people are overweight or obese, followed by the West Midlands at 65.7%.
The fattest county overall is Cumbria, with 68.3% of people overweight or obese, followed by North Yorkshire and Staffordshire, both on 67.9%.
Meanwhile, the thinnest local authorities include several in London, such as Kensington and Chelsea (45.9%) and Richmond upon Thames (47.6%).
Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said: "The publication of these figures has to be welcomed because they will give local authorities a better chance of fighting obesity than did 15 years of tackling the epidemic from Westminster.
"County and town halls were handed the poisoned chalice of doing something about the epidemic only last April but were underfunded for the task.
"The overall figure of 64% for the country is bad enough but when figures rise to around 80% for some local areas, one has to believe that the problem may be insurmountable.
"The projection that 50% of the country could be obese before 2050 could unfortunately come to pass unless really radical steps are taken now by central government to tackle the problem."
Joseph Clift, policy manager at the British Heart Foundation, said: "These new figures hold a mirror in front of the country's waistline and it reflects a very unhealthy picture.
"Put simply, too many people weigh too much.
"This should be a catalyst for action at a local and national level.
"The Westminster government need to introduce consistent regulation for advertising unhealthy products on TV and online to stop food companies exploiting loopholes.
"Local authorities need to be designing towns and cities in ways which encourage people to be more active, whether that's by walking or cycling.
"They also need to ensure everyone has access to high-quality green spaces where people can play sport or be active."
Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, which released the figures, said: "Many local authorities are already working hard to reduce obesity levels and these new data will help all local areas monitor their progress in tackling these long-standing problems.
"People who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
"Excess weight can also affect self-esteem and mental health. Overall health problems associated with being overweight or obese cost the NHS over £5 billion each year.
"There is no silver bullet to reducing obesity; it is a complex issue that requires action at individual, family, local and national levels. We can all play our part in this by eating a healthy, balanced diet and being more active."