Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Healthy London Defies the National Trend for Obesity

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Healthy London Defies the National Trend for Obesity

Article excerpt

Byline: REBECCA SMITH

LONDON is healthier than the rest of the country.

Figures reveal today that the number of people classed as obese in the capital is expected to fall in the next four years - bucking the national trend, which will see a rise.

Only boys are predicted to get fatter in London between now and 2010.

Experts said the reason may be that Londoners are generally richer and so are more likely to go to the gym, take part in sport and eat healthily.

Weight problems and related diseases affect poorer households more and people who are obese are more likely to die early from heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

The figures from the Department of Health show: . Nationally the proportion of obese men will rise from one in five in 2003 to one in three in 2010; in London it will fall from 18 to 17 per cent.

. The proportion of UK women who are obese will rise from 23 per cent to 28 per cent; in London it will drop from 20 to 19 per cent.

. Nationally the number of obese boys will rise from 17 per cent to 19 per cent; in London it will rocket from 22 to 28 per cent.

. The proportion of obese girls will rise nationwide by 22 per cent; in London it is expected to fall to 15 per cent by 2010.

Public health minister Caroline Flint said: "Obesity is still a major problem but it is obvious in London and the South-East that it is less of a problem than elsewhere.

"This shows that work to tackle the issue is going in the right direction but there is more still to be done."

Felicity Porritt, chief executive of Move for Health, said: "London could be bucking the trend because it has a greater number of affluent people and that has tipped the balance.

"Affluent people maybe have fitness equipment at home and are more likely to go to the gym. Children from those backgrounds are more likely to go to private school, where there is more access to sport, and probably belong to sports clubs."

She said as most children have access to games consoles, DVDs and computers, they have stopped taking part in physical activity.

Ms Porritt added: "There is also the perceived fear that the streets are dangerous for children. …

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