Two thirds of town ‘now overweight’

By Ian Dipple Friday 07 March 2014 Updated: 07/03 09:53

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A STAGGERING two thirds of adults across Redditch are now overweight or obese new figures have revealed.

Some 65.9 per cent of over 16-year-olds across the borough are carrying excess weight according to statistics released by Public Health England - equivalent to some 42,000 adults.

Of those 43 per cent are overweight and another 22.9 per cent are obese. Wychavon is the only place in Worcestershire where the problem is greater with 70.8 per cent of adults overweight or obese.

The data has been published for the first time to demonstrate the varying challenges councils face in dealing with what is a growing epidemic that already costs Worcestershire’s NHS £80million a year and the local economy another £60million.

Obesity is linked to a number of conditions in particularly Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers while it can also increase mental health issues.

But it is a complex problem to solve as it is influenced by a variety of factors including social and economic deprivation and age.

Redditch has some of the largest areas of deprivation across Worcestershire with close to 21,000 people classed as deprived and some 3,235 children living in poverty. Just a quarter of adults eat healthily.

Dr Lola Abudu, public health consultant for Public Health England West Midlands Health and Wellbeing team, said the figures would help councils monitor their progress towards reducing excess weight by 2020.

“There is no single solution 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.”

The news comes just weeks after figures from the Childhood Measurement Programme revealed the number of children across Worcestershire classed as overweight or obese was starting to fall.

The Worcestershire Health and Well-being Board has made tackling obesity one of its priorities and its strategy includes working with businesses, promoting cycling and walking as well as supporting people to take responsibility for own weight and make healthy choices.

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