Obesity capital of England uncovered where 40% are critically overweight

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According to the latest Health Survey for England, 64 percent of the adults in the country are either overweight or obese. 

Obesity is one of the leading causes of severe health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. In this way, it is estimated to cost the NHS £6.5billion each year.

In the past three decades, the proportion of people who are obese – defined as having a body mass index of 30 or above – has almost doubled from 14.9 to 28 percent, equivalent to some 12 million people.

On Wednesday, the Government announced a £40million two-year pilot programme to give people living with the condition access to the newest breakthrough weight-loss drugs, in a drive hailed as a “game-changer” by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Behind the national crisis, new data analysis by Express.co.uk has found obesity affects the lives of people in some areas of England far more than others.

READ MORE: ‘Healthy people living longer to blame for rising healthcare costs not obesity’

Fenland in Cambridgeshire reported the highest percentage of obese adults in the country last year, at 40.1 percent. This means, in the largely rural area surrounding the market town of Wisbech, two in every five people are critically overweight.

The district struggles with persistently poor health indicators. Back in 2018, the council published a four-year Health and Wellbeing Strategy to tackle this. Its report found that Cambridgeshire had 16 neighbourhoods among the 20 percent most deprived nationally.

Of these, 12 were in Fenland. Four of these were among the ten percent most deprived in the country, all of which were in Wisbech. Research has consistently shown that poverty is a primary driver of poor health.

Previous analysis by Express.co.uk found Fenland was also home to the highest ratio of smokers per capita in England (27.8 percent), and is one of only two remaining areas where over a quarter of the population smoke, alongside Hastings.

No other local authority in England breaks the 40 percent obesity threshold, but a handful come close. In Kingston upon Hull, 39.4 percent of residents are obese, followed by Great Yarmouth (39.1 percent) and Barnsely (38.3 percent).

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The Government has now thrown its full support behind Semaglutide – a new drug that targets an area of the brain and regulates a person’s appetite, with the potential to reduce bodyweight by 15 percent in a year.

Earlier this year, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended its use for adults with a BMI of at least 35 and one comorbidity such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said on Wednesday: “This next generation of obesity drugs have the potential to help people lose significant amounts of weight, when prescribed with exercise, diet and behavioural support.

“Tackling obesity will help to reduce pressure on the NHS and cut waiting times, one of the government’s five priorities, and this pilot will help people live longer, healthier lives.”

The drug, however, manufactured by Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, is not yet available in the UK due to supply constraints.

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