Fat-busting seaweed could be the future of slimming, new research suggests.
Scientists have identified a natural seaweed fibre that prevents the body absorbing fat.
Tests show that alginate can suppress the digestion of fat in the gut.
The researchers found that alginates containing more of a sugar molecule called guluronate were best at blocking fat digestion.
They compiled a list of the most promising seaweeds, including a brown sea kelp known as "tangle" or "cuvie", bladderwrack, and bull kelp.
The findings, published in the journal Food Chemistry, showed that a four-fold increase in one type of tangle alginate boosted anti-fat absorption activity by 75%.
Dietary fibre avoided the side effects of conventional anti-obesity drugs that inhibit enzyme activity, said the researchers.
Education will be the key to reversing the obesity problem in the North East, according to a fitness instructor.
Jonathan Heir said bad eating habits are being passed down from parents to their children.
The North East is the region with the highest proportion of obese and overweight people in the country.
County Durham has the highest percentage at 72.5%, Newcastle has the lowest at 60.3%.
The regional average is 68% compared to a national average is 63.8%
- County Durham 72.5%
- Northumberland 71.9%
- Redcar and Cleveland 70.9%
- North Tyneside 70.1%
- Sunderland 68.9%
- Hartlepool 68.5%
- Middlesbrough 68.4%
- South Tyneside 68.2%
- Stockton-on-Tees 63.6%
- Darlington 62.9%
- Gateshead 61.9%
- Newcastle upon Tyne 60.3%
PHE North East Centre Director Dr Roberta Marshall said: "Public Health England is committed to helping tackle the levels of people who are overweight and obese in the North East by supporting our local authorities to develop a broad programme of action to reduce levels of excess weight."
Obesity data from Public Health England is "scaremongering" and is complicit with a wider attempt to belittle fat people, a body image campaigner told Daybreak.
Fatima Parker from the International Size Acceptance Society said the weight loss industry had a lot to gain from data that painted obesity as a national problem.
"By belittling fat people....by stigmatising us, they will scare you, who are thin. Be careful! You will be treated that way."
Over two thirds of adults in the North East are obese or overweight, the highest proportion in the country.
That is according to figures released this morning by Public Health England.
It shows that the plumpest part of the region in County Durham, where 72.5% of adults fall into this category.
It is estimated that health problems associated with being overweight or obese cost the NHS over £5 billion each year.
We asked you to get in contact with ITV News with your views on a story we featured about proposed plans for children to walk further to school.
The idea is in relation to the growing number of obese children and would stop parents from parking or dropping children off close to the school gates.
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Childhood obesity remains a major problem in parts of our region. Latest figures from the NHS Child Measurement programme show that on Teesside 1 in 10 children in Reception Year and 1 in 5 in Year Six are classed as obese. Experts say small changes to diet and lifestyle can make a huge difference
Children who grow up to be obese have different DNA to those who do not.
Researchers at Newcastle and Bristol Universities followed 178 babies from birth to the age of nine.
They found of the 24 genes known to affect body weight, nine of them could be directly linked to the a child's weight at the age of nine.
The findings have been published today in the journal PLoS ONE.