Milton Keynes is earning a reputation as the city of bulges after new figures show almost three quarters of adults living here are too FAT.
Data released today by Public Health England reveals a whopping 72.5 per cent of over-18s are overweight or obese in MK compared to the national average of exactly 64 per cent.
This places the city joint eighth in the top ten list of overweight areas, sharing our position with County Durham and Derbyshire’s Bolsover. Top of the list is Copeland in West Cumbria with 75.9 per cent.
The statistics hoist us firmly at the top of the ‘fat league’ tables throughout neighbouring counties of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire.
They also pose a weighty problem for the council, which is now charged with helping people shed those excess pounds.
Experts blame a variety of factors, including social and economic deprivation and age for the city heading the league.
But even they cannot wholly explain the significant differences between Bedford, where 60.9 per cent of residents are too heavy, Hertfordshire (61.8), Northamptonshire (67.5) and Milton Keynes.
Already public health bosses are encouraging local authorities to “develop a broad programme of action to reduce levels of excess weight”. And they have warned they wish to see a downward trend by 2020.
Dr Mike Lilley from Public Health England, South Midlands and Hertfordshire said: “There is no silver bullet 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 issues and obesity.
“Today’s information will help local authorities to understand the extend of the problem in their area and support their on-going efforts to improve the health of their local population.”
People who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers as well as problems with self-esteem and mental health.
Nationally, health problems associated with being overweight or obese costs the NHS more than £5 billion each year.
The new figures class anybody with a body mass index score of more than 25 as overweight. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres.
The data is based on the self reported height and weight information collected via the Active People Survey (Sport England) since January 2012.
Until now only estimates of adult obesity figures were available at local authority level and these dated from 2006 to 2008.