OBESITY in the Borders is worse than the national average, the latest figures have revealed.

The statistics show that more than 71 per cent of people in the region are overweight or obese, exceeding the national average of 64.8 per cent.

The report, produced by Cancer Research UK, also states that if the rates continue to rise as predicted, three in four adults would be overweight or obese in the UK by 2035.

It also found that one in 10 children have started primary school either overweight or obese across Scotland.

But child obesity in the region is lower than the national average (21.8 per cent) with 20.7 per cent of pupils aged four and five overweight or obese.
South Scotland MSP Rachel Hamilton said: “Clearly these results show a worrying decline in the health of those who live in the Borders.

“Although we perform better than the rest of the nation with childhood obesity – adulthood obesity is considerably higher than the national average.

“We need to go to efforts to identify why in the Borders we see this trend and help to combat obesity in both children and adults.

“In the Borders we are gifted with fantastic fresh air, healthy home-grown produce, countryside for miles on end and a rich sporting culture.

“We need to capitalise on all these assets to make the Borders the healthiest part of the nation to live in and combat obesity.”

NHS Borders bosses say they are trying to encourage more people to get active and have a number of schemes on offer.

Dr Allyson McCollam, associate director of public health, told us: “Good health starts early in life. Children in the Borders are encouraged to stay active in school. 

“Fit4fun has been running in the Borders for five years as a rolling programme with primary schools to teach children along with their teachers and parents about healthy lifestyle and its benefits.

“The Health Improvement team is also working with a range of partners to help improve the health of adults in the Scottish Borders by encouraging them to lead healthy lives. This involves raising awareness about healthy eating.

“There are various sources of support through the NHS and other providers to help people manage their weight. If you want to find out more, please contact: Health.improvement@borders .scot.nhs.uk.”