Feb 13 2014 by Rebecca Koncienzcy, Skelmersdale Advertiser
NEW figures have revealed that more than half of West Lancashire people are overweight.
According to figures released by Public Health England, 63.1% of West Lancs residents are carrying excess weight.
The shock figure is only just lower than the national average of 63.8% and the regional average for Lancashire of 64.7%.
Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health from Lancashire County Council, said: “The causes of overweight and obesity are very complex. In addition to commissioning healthy weight and lifestyle services, we are also working closely with other health organisations to address these issues across the county.
“Research shows that just focusing on diets and 'calorie counting' is less effective, so we're encouraging people to make changes to their lifestyles and food choices and to be more active.
“Our priorities include encouraging children to get the best start in life by promoting breastfeeding, providing healthy activities in schools and encouraging parents to sign up to school meals. We also provide advice for parents in children's centres across the county.
“We're working with our communities to make the healthier option the easier option by helping them to improve their food growing, cooking skills and promoting physical activities. As a society, we need to change the culture and environment that has developed which encourages, rather than discourages, unhealthy behaviour.”
The figures have sparked warnings of the health dangers being overweight can bring, such as increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
Dr Jane Rossini, Cumbria and Lancashire centre director at Public Health England, said: “Public Health England is committed to helping tackle the levels of people who are overweight and obese in Cumbria and Lancashire. With our local authorities and NHS partners we are looking at ways to reduce levels of excess weight in all our communities.”
She conceded it was a difficult issue to tackle, saying: “There is no silver bullet to reducing obesity. It is an issue that requires action at national, local, family and individual level.
“Local authorities are ideally placed to develop coordinated action across their departments, services and partner organisations to tackle overweight and obesity in the local population.”
Wyre is the fattest region in Lancashire with 70.9% of the population carrying excess weight and the thinnest is Preston, with 56.2% being overweight.
West Lancashire people faired better than those in neighbouring borough Sefton, who, at 68.7%, are the fattest in Merseyside.