Tameside one of UK's fat capitals

Tameside is one of the UK's fat capitals, new figures have revealed.

More than two thirds of Tamesiders are overweight or obese, according to figures from Public Health England.

They show that 69.2 per cent of people in Tameside have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more – one of the worst rates in Greater Manchester.

The borough shared the 33rd place with two other areas out of a list of 326 local authorities, which ranks areas from the highest to the lowest percentage.

It comes just a year after the British Heart Foundation said people who live in the borough are more likely to die from coronary disease than anywhere else in the UK.

Health chiefs are calling for action - saying obesity is now the biggest threat to health locally.

Dr Kailash Chand, chairman of Healthwatch Tameside and deputy chairman of the British Medical Association said: “The statistic is alarming and worrying.”

“Unless we get a grip of this public health emergency I believe it will cripple the NHS and the health of our borough to the point of no return.”

And while national statistics show that Copeland in west Cumbria was named the most obese town in the country with 75.9 per cent of residents having an unhealthy BMI.

In Greater Manchester, only Oldham was only marginally worse, with 69.6 per cent.

Tameside was followed by Rochdale (68.6 per cent) while Trafford ranked the healthiest with just over half (59.7 per cent) of people classed as overweight.

Nationally, Kensington and Chelsea in London was the slimmest local authority, with just 45.89 per cent of people ranked as too heavy.

Dr Chand blamed the health crisis on poor diet adding: “One of the real culprits is the amount of sugar we consume in fizzy drinks and processed food.

“About 40 to 50 per cent of all consultations in GP practices are as a direct consequence of diet-related illness like a new diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes or its complications - heart disease, stroke, certain type of cancers and kidney failure.

“All GPs and primary healthcare professionals need to proactively discuss weight management with patients, routinely measure children’s height and weight, and check adult waist circumferences as an indicator of abdominal obesity.”

Andrew Gwynne, Labour MP for Audenshaw, Denton and Dukinfield , and a shadow health minister, said: “These findings should shock us out of our complacency.

“It is clear that the current voluntary approach is not working and we need to open our minds to new approaches in tackling obesity.

“Helping parents in places like Tameside to protect and promote the future health of our children is exactly what we need to be doing.”

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