Health chiefs have pledged to make tackling obesity one of their top priorities after it emerged that almost two-thirds of adults in East Anglia have a weight problem.

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A new league table reveals that 65pc of people in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire are classed as obese or overweight.

Public health officials say there is “no silver bullet” to reducing obesity levels after the figures highlighted the scale of the challenge facing local authorities.

Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire are above the national average for the percentage of people with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 and above. However, there are big district variations with King’s Lynn and West Norfolk (70.3pc) and Fenland (72.4pc) the fattest areas of the region and Cambridge (54.3pc) and Norwich (57.8pc) the thinnest.

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Obesity costs the NHS £5bn with the problem causing an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers and can affect self-esteem and mental health.

Health chiefs said that areas at the bottom of the league table had high levels of obesity, which are influenced by social and economic deprivation and age.

65.7pc of adults in Norfolk are overweight or obese. In Suffolk, that figure is 65.3pc and 65pc in Cambridgeshire.

Norfolk county councillor Dan Roper, who is chairman of the Norfolk Health and Wellbeing Board, said tackling obesity was becoming a top priority for county and district councils, Clinical Commissioning Groups, and voluntary organisations.
“It is a big issue, but it is one we are putting at the top of the agenda. Obesity is one of our three top priorities along with dementia and early years. Life expectancy is tumbling, particularly with people with obesity issues and it is right up there with dementia with the cost on the NHS, but it is something that can be tackled.”

“We need better integration in the system to make sure GPs are aware of what services are available and ask GPs to look at health problems more holistically.”

“We know from demographics and social economic make-up of the county that we are a little above the average, but it is not a result as far as we are concerned and we want to reduce levels so we are closer to the bottom of the league table,” he said.

Overall, 63.8pc of adults in England are overweight or obese, with a (BMI) of 25 or over.

The fattest local authority area is Copeland in west Cumbria, where 75.9pc of people are overweight or obese. The thinnest local authorities include several in London, such as Kensington and Chelsea (45.9pc) and Richmond upon Thames (47.6pc).

However, officials said published data from the Health Survey for England revealed that the rate of increase in overweight and obese adults had slowed in recent years and in children, levels are stabilising.

Gina Radford, Anglia and Essex Public Health England centre director, said: “Public Health England is committed to helping tackle the levels of people who are overweight and obese by supporting our local authorities to develop a broad programme of action to reduce levels of excess weight.”

“There is no silver bullet to reducing obesity. It is an issue that requires action at national, local, family and individual level. Local authorities are ideally placed to develop co-ordinated action across their departments, services and partner organisations to tackle overweight and obesity in the local population.”

“This new data will enable local councils to monitor progress towards the national ambition of achieving a downward trend in excess weight by 2020.”

The fattest region is the North East, where 68pc of people are overweight or obese, followed by the West Midlands at 65.7pc. The fattest county overall is Cumbria, with 68.3pc of people overweight or obese, followed by North Yorkshire and Staffordshire, both on 67.9pc.

Are you running a project to reduce obesity levels? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

11 comments

  • seems like most of the stupid comments are from skinny people that have no problems.......yes some people are obese due to overeating but there are a lot with medical problems......i am one of those people with medical problems so it seems that many of the skinny runts need educating because they seem a bit thick to me !!! :D

    Report this comment

    flax

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Obesity is nothing more than a reflection of our society that has been created by our capitalist system. Just remember for every single bloated person you seem someone has made a lot of money.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • ingo wagenknecht. The choice is simple. Stop eating so much processed food. It is much cheaper in many cases to cook from scratch. Stop blaming everyone else. You are the one putting this rubbish in your mouth. No one is forcing you to eat it.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Waste of time spending more money on educating these people. we have spent millions telling people that eating too much and not exercising will make you fat and they still do it. 90% of mobility scooters are just used to ferry fat people round, these people are not disabled, they are fat. Sooner we stop pussy footing round with terms like obese and over weight the better. These people go to the doctor and the doctor should be able to say to them "You are fat, do something about it or it will kill you"

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • Where do they get these figures from? My son for example has never needed to see a doctor since he was 8 and he's now over 30. . There are a lot of,people like him. Some of the most obese people I have ever seen are nurses at the N & N hospital. They are truly enormous.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Sorry a reading glasses moment and a superfluous who are between sick and weighed in that last post. My point is when did any of you last get weighed by someone collecting statistics?

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • As bad statistics as saying cannabis causes mental illness because some mentally unwell patients say they have smoked weed. No one knows how many people are cannabis users and are perfectly well because they dont appear on the statistics if they have never been asked.In the same way those who are sick who are get weighed and if more sick people are also overweight ( perhaps because of their infirmities) they skew the statistics-especially if those who are well and never get weighed have an OK BMI. What if a higher % of the sample in Cambs were strapping great blokes whose BMI is high because of muscle and Norwich low because the sample included a high % of skinny UEA students?

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • Health Chiefs, even if they smoke cannabis, Daisy...;), will not be able to deal with obesity as their hands are tight. Processed foods are bad for us and shelf life is determining what goes into our ready meals, not nutritional values or our health concerns. These manufacturers are paying the piper, our politicians, they pay lobby groups and agents to ensure that commerce will always win over health considerations, so forget this re occuring story, its fluff meaningless filling of space. If I had to choose the lay out of this newspaper for a day, this story would be binned.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • When I was a nipper they used to be worried about you being under weight. This blame everything on sugar makes me laugh. We regularly used to have sugar and butter sandwiches. Always sugar in our tea and other horrendous things like dripping on toast. But then, we used to burn it all off because we weren`t as idle as people are nowadays.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • A lot of this is down to progress and the convenience of things these days. Working the fields or chasing your next meal in the forrest would make most of us lose a few pounds quite quickly.

    Report this comment

    Ar ya reet boi?

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • How many more times are we going to hear health professional and politicians pledge to tackle obesity? Well what ever they have been doing in the past it ain't working. You only have to look around you to see that, there are just so many people both young and old who are struggling to walk, due to their immense bulk. I think that addictive slow poison, refined sugar is largely to blame for many of our health woes including obesity. But of course manufacturers know full well of it's addictive qualities and don't give a toss about anyone health as they pump more and more into all kinds of food products.

    Report this comment

    Vic Sponge

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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