Wednesday, February 12, 2014
More than two thirds of Huntingdonshire residents are overweight, according to public health figures.
While the district doesn’t top the scales in Cambridgeshire – it was second behind Fenland – the figures released by Public Health England claim 69.1 per cent of adults in were overweight or obese. The country average is 65 per cent.
In Fenland, which has only slightly fewer fast food outlets per person than Cambridge city, nearly three- quarters of people were overweight. Cambridge was declared the healthiest as 45.5 per cent of adults were at a healthy weight.
Despite the majority of adults in Huntingdonshire being overweight, children are healthier than others in the county. The figures claim that 79.9 per cent of reception class children are at a healthy weight, compared to 75.2 per cent in Cambridgeshire, and in Year 6, 69.2 per cent of Huntingdonshire children were healthy compared to 64.5 in the county.
Helen Gibbs, principal obesity dietitian for Cambridgeshire Community Services, which has clinics in Huntingdon, St Ives and St Neots, told The Hunts Post: “The figures are really alarming. If you had to rank the districts I would have said east Cambridgeshire would have been higher than Huntingdonshire, so that was a little bit of a surprise.”
She added: “We are getting to the point where I’m thinking ‘How are we going to fit more people into my Huntingdon clinic?’ The clinics are that full.
“Our patients are referred to us by GPs as we run the Community Health Improvement Programme for people who want to lose weight and have tried diets, weight-loss groups and online slimming.
“These are complicated cases and not just eating too much. It could be weight gain through medication, psychological reasons or health issues and it’s about finding the right support for each person.
“People should try to lose five per cent of their weight in three months, then keep it at that level or lose a bit more. It may not seem much, for some that’s less than a stone, but it’s enough to improve their health.
“The most important thing is to have smaller portions and be active for 150 minutes a week.”
Ms Gibbs said it was encouraging that children were healthier: “With children, school meals are getting healthier, they are a lot more active, they walk to school and there is the Olympic legacy effect as well,”
The weight issue is everywhere. When The Hunts Post team plotted themselves on the BMI chart, it showed that just two of the editorial staff were considered to be a healthy weight and the remaining four – all men – were overweight.