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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2006, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Obesity blackspot gets trainers
Large woman
People in Easington are more likely to be obese, studies say
People in an area dubbed the fattest place in England are being offered "personal trainers" in an effort to stem the growing problem of obesity.

Recent studies identified Easington in County Durham as the most likely place to find overweight people.

Last week animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) targeted the area for its high rate of child obesity.

Experts said a team of health trainers would boost the fitness of residents.

Two recent surveys showed the risk of obesity was 22% higher than average in Easington.

HIGHEST RISK OF OBESITY
Easington
Corby
Knowsley
Sedgefield
Sandwell
South Tyneside
Bolsover
Barnsley
Sunderland
Wansbeck

But health officials in the former mining community said they were acting to tackle the problem.

County Durham Primary Care Trust (PCT) is one of the first areas to offer residents the opportunity to access a new NHS Health Trainer Service.

The pilot project has six trainers who offer a one-to-one consultation with people who need to improve their levels of health and fitness.

So far the team has started work with 30 clients - all of whom are overweight or smoke.

LOWEST RISK OF OBESITY
City of London
Kensington and Chelsea
Westminster
Camden
Hammersmith and Fulham
Wandsworth
Richmond upon Thames
Islington
Barnet
Lambeth

As well as an identified problem with obesity, Easington also has higher than average rates of coronary heart disease and cancer.

Karen Smith, the PCT's healthy communities co-ordinator, said: "Health trainers work on a one-to-one basis with people offering information, practical support and motivation to help them make the behaviour changes they wish.

"They have been recruited and extensively trained by the PCT, meaning that as well as having a full understanding of key health issues and behaviour change, they also understand and appreciate the many local influences which can make it difficult for a person to make such lifestyle changes."

A key area of the team's work is to engage people who do not usually access services because of factors such as transport and availability.




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