Three-quarters of people in some parts of England are overweight or obese, according to a new league table of the country's fattest towns and cities.
In the Anglia region, the Castle Point area of south Essex around Canvey Island is highest in the list at 7th out of 326 local authorities. In that area more than seven out of ten people are classed as overweight
For the first time, England-wide data reveals the fattest and thinnest parts of England and the scale of the obesity crisis.
Overall, 63.8% of adults in England are overweight or obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or over.
The top 10 places in the Anglia region with the highest proportion of overweight people:
- 72.8% - Castle Point, Essex
- 72.5% - Milton Keynes
- 72.4% - Fenland, Cambridgeshire
- 72.2% - South Holland, Lincolnshire
- 71.7% - Basildon, Essex
- 71.3% - Rochford, Essex
- 70.8% - Thurrock, Essex
- 70.3% - Harborough, Leicestershire
- 70.3% - King's Lynn & West Norfolk
- 70.2% - Corby, Northamptonshire
Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, which released the figures, said: "Many local authorities are already working hard to reduce obesity levels and these new data will help all local areas monitor their progress in tackling these long-standing problems.
"People who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
– Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England
"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.
"There is no silver bullet to reducing obesity; it is a complex issue that requires action at individual, family, local and national levels
Even at the bottom of the list, more than half the population is still classified as overweight.
The top ten places in the Anglia region with the lowest proportion of overweight people:
- 52.7% - Welwyn Hatfield, Hertfordshire
- 54.3% - Cambridge
- 57.8% - Norwich
- 59.0% - Luton, Bedfordshire
- 59.6% - St Albans, Hertfordshire
- 60.0% - North Hertfordshire
- 60.9% - Bedford
- 61.2% - South Norfolk
- 61.6% - Suffolk Coastal
- 62.4% - Chelmsford, Essex
Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said: "The publication of these figures has to be welcomed because they will give local authorities a better chance of fighting obesity than did 15 years of tackling the epidemic from Westminster.
"County and town halls were handed the poisoned chalice of doing something about the epidemic only last April but were underfunded for the task.
"The overall figure of 64% for the country is bad enough but when figures rise to around 80% for some local areas, one has to believe that the problem may be insurmountable.
"The projection that 50% of the country could be obese before 2050 could unfortunately come to pass unless really radical steps are taken now by central government to tackle the problem."