SHOCK figures have revealed that almost three-quarters of people living in East Staffordshire are either overweight or obese.
Statistics published by Public Health England show 71.6 per cent of people are carrying excess weight. Over the border in South Derbyshire, the figure sits only slightly lower at 68.4 per cent.
Both areas are well above the national data, which suggests 64 per cent of people in the UK fall into this category.
A spokesman for Waistlines, run by the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership said the figures across the country were ‘much higher than originally thought,’ adding there is help available for people who want to lose weight.
Wendy Anderson, advanced weight management dietitian team leader with the trust, said: “Waistlines offers a very individual approach to weight loss offering year long support tailored to a person’s own circumstances. 86 per cent of clients lose weight by the end of their Waistlines plan with an average waist circumference reduction of almost six centimetres.”
Anybody with a body mass index of more than 28 can access the free service, which provides a range of support in the Burton area, including exercise classes and access to dietetic specialists.
Both Staffordshire and Derbyshire were on the list of the top ten fattest counties, which was topped by Cumbria.
East Staffordshire was one of 19 local authorities where more than 70 per cent of people were overweight.
Mail readers had mixed views as to why this was, when we posed the question on the paper’s Facebook page.
Rachel Earley said: “People are not educated properly on food-related issues. It needs to start the minute children are on solids.”
Kirsty Williams said: “It’s probably because healthy food is dearer to buy. It’s easier and cheaper to buy junk.”
But Johanna Williams laid the blame with East Staffordshire Borough Council, saying the authority should provide somewhere indoors where children could play sports for free.
A spokesman for the council said: “East Staffordshire Borough Council offers a wide range of healthy activities across the borough.
“These activities range from our free school holiday programme Sport in the Hood to low cost activities such as Back to Netball and No Strings Badminton. We have an extensive programme of health promotion campaigns that are both facility and community based. The full calendar is on our health promotion web page and we are currently promoting National Heart month.
“ESBC has made a significant investment in redeveloping the Meadowside Leisure Centre and restoring the athletics track at Shobnall Leisure Complex and we are in the early stages of the multi million redevelopment of Uttoxeter Leisure Centre which will boast a new fitness suite and dance studio.
“In 2013, as part of the commitment to the authority’s Healthy Borough initiative, ESBC signed up to join the Healthy Cities Network, the first borough council to join the network.”
The point was also made by readers that takeaways are so easily accessible for people in Burton – something which is backed up by further figures from Public Health England.
Crude calculations suggest there is one takeaway for every 97 people in East Staffordshire, and per 55 people in South Derbyshire.
“People generally have easy access to cheap, highly palatable and energy-dense food frequently lacking in nutritional value, such as fast food,” the organisation said.