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Obesity hotspots highlighted

28th August 2008

A new map of Britain compiled from GP records has identified the country’s obesity hotspots.

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Shetland is highlighted as the worst place in Britain with 15.5% of patients classed as obese followed by parts of Wales including Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Neath.

However, health authorities in Shetland said the research was too simplistic and gave a misleading picture.

The map has been compiled by analysts Dr Foster with the data broken down to local health level.

Five places in Wales feature in the top six worst areas, with Barnsley in South Yorkshire in seventh place.

Alex Young, senior project manager at Dr Foster, said the survey was showing some unexpected results and added: "We need to wait a few more years before we can say definitely that things are getting worse but there does seem to be a growing problem in some areas.

"We are seeing parts of the outlying regions being affected rather than just urban areas."

Other areas such as Newport, Plymouth and Stockport all had obesity rates above 7%.

The study did also highlight the benefits of losing weight and revealed that people who shed between 5% and 10% of their body weight cut the risk of diabetes and obesity-related cancer deaths by half.

Dr Ian Campbell, medical director of Weight Concern, said it was important that the figures were not regarded as a definitive picture of obesity around Britain. He felt what they really showed was that family doctors were identifying obesity and taking the matter more seriously.

 

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