The geography of obesity in England has been revealed in a map compiled by the National Obesity Observatory. The chart, produced by the Department of Health funded organisation, shows darker areas where the prevalence of obesity is highest by council boundary.
Health minister Dr Dan Poulter has insisted that increasing the price of fizzy drinks is not the "silver bullet" to tackling obesity.
He told ITV News: "We already have VAT on fizzy drinks and that applies to fizzy drinks and doesn't apply to other foods, so I don't think that's the silver bullet that's going to make the difference."
Doctors have called on the price of fizzy drinks to be increased by 20% to help tackle rising obesity rates.
ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener reports:
Tamworth in Staffordshire has the highest proportion of overweight people in Britain.
According to the National Obesity Observatory, just over 30% of its population are obese.
This comes at the same time as Doctors are demanding a tax on soft drinks to help tackle obesity across the country.
Birmingham University also say that over 25% of Birmingham's population are obese, which is the third highest rate in the UK.
You’ve been telling us what you think about doctors calling for an increase in the price of fizzy drinks to tackle rising obesity.
Lucy Furr No I don’t think it’s a good idea. Perhaps they should make the good stuff cheaper so we can afford to be healthier. Junk is cheaper and they know that.
Dean Brunt A better option would be to educate people on healthy lifestyles and make them understand that treats are ok every once in a while but should be consumed as part of a healthy balanced diet that contains everything from your 5 a day, 3 a day etc.
Lorraine Rothwell People should be allowed to eat and drink and do as they please. BUT they should not be allowed NHS resources in trying to put right what they did wrong, i.e. gastric band ops etc. Everyone has to take responsibility for their own actions....
You can join the debate on Facebook.
Doctor Christian Jessen, who presents several health television programmes, has urged doctors to target suppliers rather than consumers amid calls to increase the price of fizzy drinks.
Doctors call 4 tax on fizzy drinks. Better late than never but I think its manufacturers/suppliers that need targeting 1st, before consumers
The director general of the British Soft Drinks Association has rejected a proposal by doctors to increase the price of fizzy drinks in order to tackle obesity.
We share the recognition that obesity is a major public health priority but reject the idea that a tax on soft drinks, which contribute just 2% of the total calories in the average diet, is going to address a problem which is about overall diet and levels of activity.
– Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association
Over the last 10 years, the consumption of soft drinks containing added sugar has fallen by 9% while the incidence of obesity has been increasing, and 61% of soft drinks now contain no added sugar.
The report by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges called for a price hike of around 20%.
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has rejected a call by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges for a heavy tax on fizzy drinks.
Terry Jones, from the FDF, told the BBC that the report was “a collection of unbalanced ideas”.
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has presented as its recommendations, a collection of unbalanced ideas apparently heavily influenced by single issue pressure groups.
FDF had hoped that today's report would have looked seriously at how the food industry and the medical profession would have worked together to tackle obesity, and genuinely brought new insights to bear on how to empower healthier choices and change behaviour to deliver better long-term public health outcomes.
– FDF's Terry Jones
This report fails to do that.
The Department of Health (DoH) has issued a lukewarm response to a report by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges which calls for an increase in the price of fizzy drinks to help tackle obesity.
The DoH hinted that taxation alone could not solve rising obesity rates.
There is no single answer to the obesity problem.
It is up to everyone - government, industry, health professionals and voluntary groups, as well as individuals themselves - to work jointly to promote healthy eating and healthy lifestyles.
– DoH spokesman
There are already a large number of initiatives under way to help do this, including the Government's Responsibility Deal with industry; the Change4Life programme; NHS health checks; and the Child Measurement Programme in schools.