Home   Medway   News   Article

Bring on the carrots - we're all getting fatter!

Obesity is on the increase in Kent
Obesity is on the increase in Kent

People in Medway are the fattest in Kent – and among the wobbliest in the country.

According to a 'fat map', almost one in 10 people living there are obese, meaning they have a body mass index of more than 30.

The findings by Dr Foster Research put the South East among the areas of the UK with the highest numbers of overweight patients, and indicate that we’re fatter than we were two years ago, when a similar map was created.

While Medway PCT has the highest proportion of overweight patients in the county at 9.4 per cent, Bexley Care Trust isn’t far behind at 9.1 per cent.

This latest research suggests that the unhealthy eating habits associated with people in the North are spreading South.

Physiologist Jill Maynard from Maidstone said: “Especially among children it’s to do with inactivity – a lot of children are taken up with computer games, Playstations and television.

Listen: Jill Maynard speaking to kmfm's Jo Earle >>>

“I think it’s fantastic the inspiration the Olympians have given us, and I think we’ll see a lot more sport coming into schools and kids being encouraged to do more sport. I think that’s the way to get kids a lot more active and be outdoors more.”

Ms Maynard runs an NHS ‘fat camp’ for kids, and also thinks the situation is getting worse because of more sinister factors, like ‘stranger danger’.

"I suppose we’ve almost become a bit scared of letting our children do things – there’s so much wrapping them up, and so many health and safety regulations. I think in some ways we’ve got to let them out there and get on with it, and let them experience all the activities which are healthy for them."

• Are we becoming a county of couch potatoes? Join our SpeakOut debate here >>>

Some say the increase in our waistlines in the last couple of years could be down to the credit crunch. According to PruHealth, almost a quarter of people in Kent feel they’re not eating as well as they could be, because they think fresh fruit and vegetables are too expensive.

Health expert Katie Roswell said: "The other factor is exercise. Thirty four per cent of people in Kent say it’s too expensive.

"They perceive it's just about going to the gym, which can be expensive, but that doesn’t have to be the case. There’s lots you can do that doesn’t cost anything – just walking somewhere instead of taking the car can have a real benefit for your health."

GP Julian Spinks, who works at Strood, near Rochester, said the findings are worrying but not at all surprising.

"It does reflect the sort of readings I see in my surgery," he said. "In fact, the measurements I’m getting are actually a higher proportion of people getting results on their BMI over 30 - which means they're about 20 per cent above ideal body mass."

Listen: Dr Spinks speaks to KentOnline's Aurelia Allen >>>

Figures for other parts of the county come further down the 'largies' list:

In East Kent PCT area 8.3 per cent are obese, while West Kent PCT is further down the list at 7.2 per cent.

Bromley's families are the trimmest, with "fatties" only making up 6.1 per cent of the population.

But while this might all seem like a disturbing sign of the times, it may be of some comfort to know that people in Shetland are the least likely to fit into a Size 12.

A total of 15.5 per cent of islanders are obese, considerably more than the next hotspot on the list, which is Torfaen in South Wales, which comes in second, at 13.9 per cent.

• In a separate report, it has been revealed the richest in the country are also the healthiest!

There are massive health inequalities between wealthy and poorer areas of the country, according to the World Health Organisation.

This tallies with the Dr Foster research above, which listed Kensington and Chelsea and Richmond and Twickenham among the healthiest.

Dr Spinks agreed it is a problem with its roots in the most deprived areas of the country - and said it won't be quickly resolved.

"The gap between the poorest and the richest in the UK has widened over the last few years. Society needs to look at how we can narrow that gap so people have a more even life expectancy and don't suffer unnecessarily."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More