Nearly 70% of adults in Central Beds are overweight or obese according to figures published this week by Public Health England.
The new data highlights for the first time the variation in the numbers of people across the country in each local authority area who carry excess weight.
Central Beds at 69.1% easily beats the national average of 64%, while Aylesbury Vale marginally does too with 64.5% of 16+ adults overweight (a body mass index of more than 25kg/m²). In neighbouring Luton the figure is much better at 59%.
Overweight and obesity are complex issues and influenced by a variety of factors, including social and economic deprivation and age. The variation in levels of overweight and obesity across the area, and England as a whole, highlights the extent of the challenge faced by many local authorities.
But Public Health England say there is a positive side – the rate of increase in overweight and obese adults has slowed in recent years and in children, levels are stabilising.
People who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
Excess weight can also affect self-esteem and mental health. Health problems associated with being overweight or obese cost the NHS over £5 billion each year.
Dr Mike Lilley, of Public Health England, South Midlands said: “Public Health England is committed to helping tackle the levels of people who are overweight and obese by supporting our local authorities to develop a broad programme of action to reduce levels of excess weight.”
“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 and obesity in the local population.”
“This new data will enable local councils to monitor progress towards the national ambition of achieving a downward trend in excess weight by 2020. Today’s information will help local authorities to understand the extent of the problem in their area and support their on-going efforts to tackle overweight and obesity and improve the health of their local population.”