A “worringly-high” number of adults across Sussex are overweight or obese, a report says.
Figures published by Public Health England show 65% in East Sussex are above a healthy weight compared to 64.4% in West Sussex.
This is higher than the national average of 63.8%, sparking concerns about the potential impact on health services across the county.
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People in Brighton and Hove were found to be healthier, with 49.2% classed as overweight or obese, the lowest rate in the south east and among the to lowest in the country.
Obesity is expected to cost the NHS in Sussex around £460m by next year in terms of dealing with diabetes, heart disease and other conditions linked to the problem.
However the actual cost to the economy could be even higher as obesity can affect a person’s ability to work and their underlying mental health.
Public Health England said that even levels in their new report are still ‘worrying high’.
Obesity is influenced by a variety of factors, including social and economic deprivation and age.
A spokeswoman for East Sussex County Council’s public health team said moves were in place to co-ordinate plans to address obesity across the county.
She said: “The public health team commissions a range of services, and works with partners to support people to maintain a healthy weight.
“This includes health trainers – a one to one service to support people to set and achieve healthy lifestyle goals including weight reduction, increasing physical activity and healthier eating.”
New dedicated weight management services for adults and children are also due to launch in April.
David Brindley, Brighton and Hove City Council’s public health commissioner for healthy weight, said: “Key factors in helping to stay within healthy weights include healthy eating and regular exercise so we proactively work as a city on both important areas.
“This work includes practical demonstrations at supermarkets as part of the national Smart Swaps initiative, which shows residents how to swap sugar and fatty ingredients out of foods and make tasty meals.
“Obesity is one of the biggest crises that we face as a nation and thanks to city-wide hard work, Brighton and Hove residents are some of the healthiest on average in England.
“But the country still has the worst rates of obesity in Europe and it’s still a major problem in our city.”
For more details call the Brighton and Hove healthy weight team on 01273 431703.