By David Clement
Cumbria is officially the fattest county in England, according to data collated for the first time.
The scale of the country's obesity crisis was laid bare by the official figures published by Public Health England.
They revealed more than three-quarters of people in some English towns and cities are overweight or obese.
Some 63.8 per cent of adults in England have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or over and are therefore categorised as overweight or obese.
Cumbria tops league of shame
The fattest county is Cumbria, with 68.3 per cent of people in these categories.
Joint second in the "league of shame" are North Yorkshire and Staffordshire, both on 67.9 per cent.
Copeland in west Cumbria - at 75.9 per cent - is the fattest local authority area, while the North East overall was the worst performing region, where 68 per cent of people are overweight or obese.
Second is the West Midlands (65.7 per cent).
The data identified several other regions where many people's health is at risk.
These include Blackpool (72.1 per cent), Milton Keynes (72.5 per cent), County Durham (72.5 per cent), Fenland in Cambridgeshire (72.4 per cent), Bolsover in Derbyshire (72.5 per cent), East Lindsey in Lincolnshire (73.8 per cent), Doncaster in South Yorkshire (74.4 per cent) and Sedgemoor in Somerset (73.4 per cent).
Tackling obesity levels
Many councils are already working hard to reduce obesity levels, according to Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England.
He said the information would help local health authorities monitor progress in tackling these long-standing problems.
People who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
Prof Fenton said excess weight can also affect self-esteem and mental health. "There is no silver bullet to reducing obesity;" he said.
"It is a complex issue that requires action at individual, family, local and national levels. We can all play our part in this by eating a healthy, balanced diet and being more active."
Overall health problems associated with being overweight or obese are believed to cost the NHS more than £5 billion each year.