Obesity report: Sheffield aims to become fittest city

Sheffield Hallam Park Run: first lap
Sheffield Hallam Park Run: first lap
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More than half of all adults in Sheffield are obese or overweight, new figures have revealed.

The statistics, issued by Public Health England, show just under 60 per cent of people aged over 16 in the city are currently carrying too much weight.

Health chiefs say obese residents are putting themselves at risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer – increasing pressure on the NHS.

GP Dr Ollie Hart – who is leading a campaign which aims to make Sheffield the nation’s fittest city – said the figures are a result of people ‘eating more and moving less’, while the council has begun a month-long consultation to overhaul its weight management services.

The new figures were based on height and weight measurements collected over the past two years through a survey run by Sport England called Active People.

The measurements were used to calculate people’s Body Mass Index, calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared.

Anyone with a BMI of more than 25 is classed as overweight.

In Sheffield, 59.9 per cent of adults had ‘excess weight’, while in Rotherham and Barnsley the figure was higher, at 65.3 per cent and 70.5 per cent.

Doncaster had the highest rate of obese or overweight adults in South Yorkshire, at 74.4 per cent - the second highest percentage of overweight adults in the country.

The average figure for England was 63.8 per cent.

Dr Hart, from the Sloan Medical Centre in Heeley, also chairs the city’s Move More board, and said obesity was a ‘major issue’ in society.

“It is a very visual consequence of our changing environment,” he said.

“It has never been cheaper and easier to consume high calorie foods and drinks. Our modern environment makes it ever harder to stay active and on the move, with sitting jobs and automated travel.

“The result of eating more and moving less is we are all getting fatter.”

Dr Hart said Move More ‘seeks over the long term to change policy and planning in the city’.

“As a GP, I know that helping people to find easy steps to fitness is more important than most other healthcare we promote,” he said.

Sheffield Council cabinet member Coun Jack Scott said: “This is a priority issue for us. We don’t want our residents to risk their quality of life and health by becoming obese.

“Prevention is the key and we have a range of services in place to encourage people to eat more healthily and become more physically active.

“We have developed Move More to encourage people to build physical activity and good habits in their day-to-day life and make healthier choices about food.

“We are also in the process of reviewing our weight management services, and have begun a month long consultation.”

Dr Stephen Morton, Public Health England centre director, said: “There is no silver bullet to reducing obesity. It is an issue that requires action at national, local, family and individual level.”

In December, Sheffield jumped up another Sport England league table for keeping fit and active.

It leapt from 206th to 16th out of 326 local authorities over five years, in a check on adults taking exercise at least once a week.

The biggest improvements were among females and people aged over 35.