More than half of Oxfordshire’s adults are overweight or obese, new figures show.
Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) stats say that 56 per cent of people are given that classification because of their body mass index (BMI).
But the use of BMI as a measure has been criticised as misleading as it doesn’t take into account body fat percentage, muscle mass and bone density.
Other figures published this month show one in three children are overweight or obese when they leave primary school. One in five of them start primary school overweight.
Authorities said they are working to get people back into exercise and to lose weight if possible – and say healthy new towns projects are helping to get people active.
The figures have been published in the county council’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA), which it releases annually.
The overweight and obese figure is lower than the national and south east averages, which are 61.3 per cent and 59.7 per cent respectively.
Statistics show people over 16 are more active if they are wealthier.
Proportionately, most people who are active live in the southern parts of south Oxfordshire, in affluent parts of Oxford, in villages in the Vale of White Horse and in West Oxfordshire.
The report said healthy eating is more difficult for people with low incomes and there has been a ‘rise’ in the use of ‘emergency food provision’, such as food banks.
But councils said they were pleased information from healthy new towns, in Barton and Bicester, shows they are producing results.
They have previously received government money and infrastructure to help or encourage exercise, like bike lanes, has been built into the developments. Residents can also be ‘socially prescribed’ exercise classes by GPs if they have long-term health conditions.
People are defined as overweight if their BMI is greater than or equal to 25kg/metre squared. They are defined obese if their BMI is greater than or equal to 30kg/m2.
Other findings showed that children’s participation in sport and physical activity is declining nationally and most children in Oxfordshire are not meeting the daily physical activity guidelines.