RYEDALE has one of the fattest populations in the country, according to the latest Government figures.

The area was fourth in a list of local authorities, which was topped by Copeland, in West Cumbria, where 79.9 per cent of its population is classed as overweight or obese.

This was followed by Doncaster (74.4 per cent), East Lindsey in Lincolnshire (73.8 per cent) and Ryedale (73.7 per cent).

The thinnest local authority areas include several in London, such as Kensington and Chelsea (45.9 per cent) and Richmond-upon-Thames (47.6 per cent).

Overall, 63.8 per cent of adults in England are obese or overweight, with a body mass index of 25 or over, but in Yorkshire and the Humber the figure is higher at 65.9 per cent.

Published by Public Health England (PHE), the data also shows for the first time the considerable variation in the numbers of people who are overweight or obese in different parts of England, as well as the extent of the challenge many local authorities and the local NHS face.

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at PHE, said: “Many local authorities are already working hard to reduce obesity levels and this new data will help all local areas monitor their progress in tackling these longstanding problems. Public Health England is committed to supporting local government and the local NHS.”

The figures are based on adjusted, self-reported height and weight measurements collected via questions in the Active People Survey by Sport England since January 2012.

David Hannah, of Community Leisure, which runs both Norton and Pickering swimming pools, as well as Ryedale Indoor Leisure Centre, said the difficulty was that they were measuring people by a scale set decades ago.

“I was an elite runner for more than 15 years weighing about 65kg but played rugby at 88kg. Now I range from 70kg to 75kg depending on whether I am cycling or rowing,” he said. “Both of those current weights are borderline or into the overweight range depending on which chart you look at.

“At 88 kilos I was in the obese range for someone who is 172cm tall. At that time I had about 12 per cent body fat. Confused – so is everybody else.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council, which deals with the area’s public health, said: “This is the first time we have received data at a district level and this will help us to monitor trends in adult overweight and obesity levels.

“Overall, about two out of every three adults across North Yorkshire are overweight and the levels for the districts are broadly similar. The high levels of adult overweight and obesity are in keeping with the pattern across England and in many countries of Europe.”