Published: 00:00, 14 February 2014 |
Updated: 08:52, 14 February 2014
More than two-thirds of adults living in Dartford are overweight or obese, new data has revealed.
Figures released by Public Health England show how local authorities across England weighed in.
In Dartford, 68.1% of people over 18 were classed as overweight or obese, the third highest percentage in Kent and also above the national average of 64.6%.
Gravesham fared only slightly better, with 65.9% of adults deemed overweight or obese.
The borough came eighth in a table of 13 local authorities across the county.
The statistics, based on Body Mass Index (BMI), come just a month after it was revealed more obese children live in Dartford and Gravesham than anywhere else in Kent.
More than one in five Year 6 children, aged 10 and 11, and one in 10 Reception year youngsters, aged four and five, in the two boroughs were obese.
This is both higher than the county and national average.
He said: “I find the suggestion that more than two-thirds of adults in Dartford are overweight or obese surprising.
“I often find that people who look perfectly normal to me are categorised as overweight.
“While a healthy lifestyle is of course preferable, we must make sure that we don’t fall into the trap of demonising people who don’t shape up to the so-called skinny celebrity profile.”
The impact of expanding waistlines is said to be putting a strain on the NHS, with those who are overweight more likely to have long-term health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Health bosses locally are now looking at how to best tackle the problem.
Dr Bhaskar Bora, chairman of the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “There are a number of clinical and social reasons which can lead to people becoming overweight or obese.
“They may have poor diets, eating too many ready-made convenience foods instead of meals with fresh fruit and vegetables. Cutting down on sugar, salt and alcohol will make a huge improvement to anyone’s health. Little changes can make a big difference.”
Dr Bora added that people also needed to be encouraged to be more physically active.
Dartford was marginally beaten into third place by Swale, where 68.8% of adults are deemed to be fat, and Thanet with 68.4%
The area with the lowest percentage in Kent was Canterbury, at 54.2%.
The town with the highest number of overweight or obese adults nationwide was Copeland in west Cumbria, with 75.9%.
Scoring the lowest nationwide out of 326 local authorities was the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where 45.9% are overweight or obese.
Dr Graham Bickler, Public Health England centre director for Kent, Surrey and Sussex, said the data will enable local authorities to understand the extent of the problem in their area and how to improve it.
“There is no silver bullet to reducing obesity,” he said. “It is an issue that requires action at national, local, family and individual level.”
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Find out what's going on in the garden, with Kent expert Lucy Hewett's weekly update.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.