SWINDON is the most obese town in Wiltshire, Avon and Gloucestershire according to new data from Public Health England.

Statistics published for the area by Public Health England yesterday revealed that 70 per cent of adults are overweight or obese, almost ten per cent more than people in the wider Wilt-shire area.

In England as a whole, 64 per cent of adults are overweight or obese.

Although the figures seem high, they have not come as a shock to Swindon Council.

Fiona Dickens, the public health programme manager at the council, said: “The figures seem big but they don’t come as a great surprise when you take into account the figures are self-reported.

“We are doing a lot to tackle obesity, especially in the young, and we have a Healthy Weight Strategy and an Action Plan.”

There is plenty of help out there for people who do want to lose the weight, with local groups like Slimming World on hand to help.

Slimming World Consultant and team developer in Swindon, Heather Zych, said: “It is shocking that three quarters of your friends and family are overweight or obese.

“But we’re out there to help people lose weight and tackle this problem.

“We had over 1,000 new members sign up in January and we are launching a campaign in February to try and help more people to lose weight healthily.

“It’s also not just about our members but also the influence beyond that. “Our members take what they learn and cook the meals at home, meaning more people are eating more healthily.”

People who are overweight or obese have a body mass index – a measure of an individual’s weight which accounts for their height – greater than 25.

Those with a BMI of 25 or greater have an increased risk of developing type two diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers and costing the NHS more than £5bn each year.

Being obese can also affect self-esteem and mental health.

Dr Shona Arora, Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire PHE Centre Director, said: “Public Health England is committed to helping tackle the levels of people who are overweight and obese in Avon, Gloucester-shire and Wiltshire by supporting our local authorities to develop a broad programme of action to reduce levels of excess weight.

“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 co-ordinated action across their departments, services and partner organisations to tackle issues of overweight and obesity in the local population.

“This data will enable local councils to monitor progress towards the national ambition of achieving a downward trend in excess weight by 2020.”

To find out more about Slimming World or to find a slimming group near you, visit the www.slimmingworld.com.