UK 'tops obesity league in Europe'
The UK has the highest level of obesity in Europe, according to an influential health study.
The Association of Public Health Observatories revealed that the West Midlands was the fattest region in the European Union, with 29% of adults classed as obese. The level was double that of the EU average of 14%.
The UK also had one of the highest levels of teenage pregnancies out of the 27 countries studied.
The report focused on 37 different factors in each region such as causes of death, population range, risk factors and health facilities.
The West Midlands and the North East have the top two levels of obesity in adults in the EU respectively. The North East also has the highest level of teenage pregnancy in the UK.
The report also revealed that cancer mortality rates for women were high in comparison to other EU countries.
The rate in the South East region was the highest in the UK at 185 per 100,000, followed by Scotland at 179 per 100,000. The European average was 139.5 per 100,000.
But the report also contained some positive findings, with the levels of adults who smoke being lower than in many other countries studied.
Report author Professor John Wilkinson explained: "For some cases the UK is not doing very well. The obvious one is obesity where we are at the top of the league.
"The fine grading of the report shows that in areas where we think we are doing better in terms of obesity, such as the South East region, we are still actually far behind areas such as Scandinavia. The findings demonstrate that even in parts of the UK where we think we are doing quite well there's a long way to go."