Cumbria obesity rate a "looming crisis"

5th February 2014

Shadow Health Minister and Copeland MP, Jamie Reed, has reacted to the news that Cumbria has the highest rate of obesity in the country.
New figures released by Public Health England have shown that Cumbria is the county with the highest level of people who are overweight.  In Copeland, more than three-quarters of people in the borough are classed as overweight or obese.  There are many risks associated with being overweight such as increased risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, cancer and other co-morbidities.
Local MP Jamie Reed has called upon the Government do more to give local authorities the resources they need to tackle this growing problem.
He said:
“This announcement by Public Health England paints an alarming picture of public health in Cumbria and in Copeland. It demands urgent action, but the Government are tying the hands of the council by imposing swingeing cuts to local government budgets whilst forcing them to carry out more and more duties.
“It is now the responsibility of Cumbria County Council to tackle public health issues locally, but the Government have given the council just £31 per head to spend on this which is in sharp contrast to the area with the lowest level of people who are overweight, Kensington and Chelsea, which will receive more than a £100 per head more than Cumbria.”
“I have raised this issue with the Government on a number of occasions, but they don’t want to know.  The Government’s plan to give more money to more affluent areas with less need will severely harm the ability of Cumbria County Council to tackle local health issues such as this one.  This is an extremely important matter; the Government must do more and I will continue to press the Government for action.”
“This is a looming crisis and there is no one single cause. The average family is £1,600 worse off under this government, meaning that cheaper, less healthy foods are necessarily being chosen by families. We know, too that alcohol abuse, unemployment, underemployment and other issues are also factors. Increasingly, obesity is seen by Public Health experts as an indicator of poverty. We need a comprehensive approach towards addressing this problem; we literally cannot afford not to as obesity related conditions cost the NHS £5 billion per year.”
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