Public Health England has issued a report stating that 64% of adults in the country are overweight, with the north-east region faring the worst.

PHE notes that for the first time, local data on excess weight is available, and it confirms "the estimated position". Copeland in west Cumbria has the most overweight people in England as 75.9% of the population are overweight - a body mass index of 25 or over - or obese (BMI of 30 and over), while Doncaster is second.

The fattest region is the north-east, where 68% of adults are overweight, while the London region comes in at 57.3%.

PHE said that on the positive side, the rate of increase in overweight and obese adults has slowed in recent years and in children, levels are stabilising. "However, welcome though this is, given the health problems associated with being overweight or obese there are no grounds for complacency."

Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at PHE said local authorities are "ideally placed to develop co-ordinated action across their departments, services and partner organisations to tackle overweight and obesity". Many "are already working hard to reduce obesity levels and these new data will help all local areas monitor their progress in tackling these longstanding problems", he added.

Prof Fenton pointed out the increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, noting that 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, he said, adding that "there is no silver bullet to reducing obesity; it is a complex issue that requires action at individual, family, local and national levels".

See the April issue of PharmaTimes magazine for our feature on obesity. You can subscribe to the print issue here or the digital issue here.

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