One in four Essex adults are overweight

A QUARTER of adults in Essex are overweight and nearly a third of children leaving primary school are obese.

The shocking figures have been revealed in a report which aims to tackle the issue of obesity across the county.

In Essex more than 90% of the county’s schools are registered with the “Healthy Schools” programme but that has not stopped the increasing number of youngsters who are judged to be overweight.

The report by Dr Mike Gogarty - Essex County Council’s health supremo - calls for more action and warns that unless something is done now, 90% of adults and two thirds of children will, along with the rest of the UK, be either obese or overweight by 2050.

Colchester residents fare particularly badly, with the highest levels of estimated obesity in the north of the county and more than a third thought to be overweight.

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The annual report reveals not enough people are taking enough exercise, however it is also claimed that it is more than people simply eating too much which is causing a problem.

The expense involved with exercise and sports facilities is thought to put people off physical activity whilst some families are not aware of what makes a healthy diet.

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Dr Gogarty, the director of public health for the council, warned that people would die younger if the trends are not reversed.

He said: “Obesity is a ticking time bomb for health and local authority services; it increases the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis, all of which will require intervention and cost money to local authorities already under pressure to deliver on reduced budgets.

“By helping the people of Essex to chose to live more healthy lives we can reduce avoidable illness and disability which will both benefit the individuals and reduce the burden on health and social care services.”

Various suggestions are made in the report for the council to tackle the issue. Those include:

• Looking at diet and physical activity in pre-school and at school

• Looking at transport, the physical environment and access to opportunities for physical activity in parks and around our coastline

• Focussing on initiatives to reduce stroke, heart attacks and falls in older people through targeted physical activity.

Ann Naylor, in charge of adults, health and community wellbeing said: “Many of the recommendations in the public health report are easily implemented and require just simple changes to work already underway.

“By working with partner agencies to ensure healthy living messages are at the forefront of their communications we can begin to educate our public and improve lives across the county.”

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