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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Copeland ‘the fattest area in England’

COPELAND has been named the fattest area in England, with more than three-quarters of residents classed as overweight or obese, new figures reveal.

by Julie Morgan

It tops a new list which reveals England’s fattest and thinnest parts – and the scale of the obesity crisis.

The figures, from Public Health England, show Copeland is the fattest local authority area, with 75.9 per cent of people having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 and over. This raises their susceptibility to a host of illnesses, including heart disease and cancer.

Dr Jane Rossini, Cumbria and Lancashire centre director at Public Health England, said there was “no silver bullet” to reduce obesity but they were committed to tackling it.

“With our local authorities and NHS partners we are looking at ways to reduce levels of excess weight in all our communities,” she said.

“It is an issue that requires action at national, local, family and individual levels. Local authorities are ideally placed to develop coordinated action across their departments, services and partner organisations to tackle overweight and obesity in the local population.”

Dr Rossini said the data would allow councils to monitor progress and help get a downward trend by 2020.

Last year, The Whitehaven News revealed the number of obese primary school pupils in Copeland had doubled.

Statistics on local youngsters in Year 6 (ages 10-11) who are too heavy for their age, has moved from “no significance’’ to being significantly worse than the UK average.

These figures were also released by Public Health England.

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum and chairman of the Child Growth Foundation, said: “There is a real concern the 64 per cent may be an under estimation because of the inaccuracy of self reporting. People often don’t know their exact height, and misrepresent their weight.

“Clothing sizes are going up and up and up. That is a wonderful yardstick and more reliable than Government surveys using self reporting data. Should we be patting ourselves on the back about 64 per cent? That figures is almost criminal. Even 50 per cent or 55 per cent would be terrible.

“The rate of obesity is doubling between the ages of four and 10, which is a better indicator of what is really going on.”

Overall health problems associated with being overweight or obese cost the NHS over £5 billion each year.

Excess weight can also affect self-esteem and mental health.

A Cumbria County Council public health spokesman said: “Cumbria has a programme called COOL4Life which is designed to help children who may need support with their families to become more active and eat healthier.

“There is also a dietetics service which GPs can refer adults to if they feel this will benefit their weight loss.

“For those people who are very overweight, the NHS provides bariatric surgery. This includes support to lose weight through natural means before an assessment is made as to whether surgery is appropriate.

“These measures can only ever tackle the symptoms of obesity. Getting to grips with the underlying causes requires action across society. As a general rule, we need to eat less and move more. Walking more, smaller food portion sizes and cutting back on alcohol are just some of the things most of us can do to improve our health.”

The new figures also revealed Cumbria is the fattest county with 68.3 per cent of people overweight or obese. In Carlisle, 68.4 per cent were overweight, 68.8 per cent in Eden and 66.5 per cent in Allerdale.

Have your say

When I lived in Whitehaven I had no problems staying thin, but then I walked up and down hensingham hill every day, something that got unpleasant as the years went by due to all the people stuck in their cars in slow moving traffic, polluting the air, the car is to blame for the fat people

Posted by Bev Wallace on 15 February 2014 at 12:15

"nothing to do" I am truly amazed at this statement that seems to be repeated over and over again. I left copeland to join the Army 20 years ago and after leaving the forces I have lived in a number of places, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam however I returned to Cumbria because I wanted to do something. When I am not working I can enjoy the beach, the lakes, the fells, play/watch rugby, play/watch football. There are many other activities that could be done in copeland and surrounding area. When I hear people saying there is nothing to do I dont hear that, what I hear from them is that they dont want to do anything!

Posted by 77 on 13 February 2014 at 12:54

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