UK's obesity shame: Britain has highest numbers of overweight people in the EU (and we're also lazy and drink too much)

  • In Britain, nearly 30% of women and just under 27% men are now overweight
  • Other health figures are also worrying, including low exercise rates and drinking?
  • And Britons are also near the top of an international table for high cholesterol

Britain has been shamed as the obesity capital of the EU.

This country has the highest rates in the bloc with nearly 30 per cent of women and just under 27 per cent of men overweight.

Other health figures are also worrying, showing we are second worst at exercising and have one of the highest rates of heavy drinkers.

Britons are also near the top of an international table for having dangerously high cholesterol levels.

The statistics follow a warning that it has become normal to be vastly overweight, with this country following the lead of the US, the world’s most obese nation.?

Britain has the highest rates of obesity in the EU with nearly 30 per cent of women and just under 27 per cent of men overweight (file photo)

Britain has the highest rates of obesity in the EU with nearly 30 per cent of women and just under 27 per cent of men overweight (file photo)

The latest analysis comes from the European Society of Cardiology, which ranks British men as the most obese in 47 countries including the 28 in the EU.

British women have the second worst rate of obesity across the 47, behind only Turkey.

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said: ‘To have higher obesity levels than any other European country is truly appalling, and the researchers are correct in fearing worse statistics in years to come.

‘Our increased levels of cholesterol, drinking and sedentary lifestyle will see to that.’

The Society has warned that the obesity crisis could cause a spike in deaths from heart disease, which are in decline. Researchers from Oxford University and Queen Mary University of London were involved in its study of risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The report shows 26.9 per cent of British men are obese, putting themselves in danger of a heart attack or stroke, compared to an average EU rate of 22.9 per cent.

Even more British women are severely overweight, making up 29.2 per cent of the population, compared with an EU average of 23.1 per cent.

Other health figures are also worrying, showing we are second worst at exercising and have one of the highest rates of heavy drinkers (file photo)

Other health figures are also worrying, showing we are second worst at exercising and have one of the highest rates of heavy drinkers (file photo)

Obesity is the second biggest cause of early death worldwide after smoking. The findings suggest the national failure to exercise and drinking culture may be to blame for rising numbers here.

Just under 45 per cent of British women fail to get their recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week.

Men do slightly better but more than a third are still not active enough. Only Malta is worse when it comes to physical inactivity.

On binge drinking, the UK is 10th worst among the 47 countries, which include Europe and former Soviet states like Georgia. More than a quarter of Britons admitted heavy drinking in the previous 30 days, compared to the average of 19.1 per cent.

Damning figures have revealed the UK has become the obesity capital of the European Union

Damning figures have revealed the UK has become the obesity capital of the European Union

The silver lining of the report in the European Heart Journal is that Britain has the lowest proportion of people with high blood pressure and one of the lowest smoking rates.

But the authors, also including academics at the universities of Leeds and East Anglia, warned that the current fall in deaths from heart disease could be reversed by our unhealthy lifestyles.

Lead author Dr Adam Timmis from Barts Heart Centre, at Queen Mary’s, said: ‘This downward trend for high-income countries is being threatened by the emerging obesity epidemic.

‘Interestingly, the figures show that heart disease is as much of a problem for women as for men.’

This month, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warned it has become normal for Britons to be ‘enormously overweight’.

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