Many factors have been identified as contributing to the potential risk of obesity in the individual.
Diet and lifestyle of course, as well as genetic and hereditary traits; the prevalence of high sugar and trans fat content in modern processed food.
There have even been suggestions that cultural influences such as popular dishes and food types within a particular community or, at the very least, what the accepted 'norm' might be for body size and weight.
They're called "obesogenic environments"; that is geographical areas and communities that appear to promote or at least facilitate a lifestyle that encourages obesity, and experts like the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the government body responsible for public health policy, are taking the idea very seriously.
They are considering factors like town planning which may encourage driving more than walking, the lack of municipal sports and recreation facilities - particularly for children and teenagers, the prevalence of fast food and takeaway outlets, lack of access to 'healthier' food outlets like farmers' markets or organic produce.
There is ample evidence that local authorities are beginning to take notice of these ideas, Birmingham City Council has already declared a policy of restricting fast food and takeaway businesses to no more than 10% of the outlets in any given retail area; more councils are expected to follow suit.
Of course none of these factors detracts from the need for self-discipline and healthy choices on the part of the individual, but they are elements that become inextricably interwoven in the effort to explain the global rise of obesity and the national problem we face.
So is it possible that you live in an area which may be putting you or your family at greater risk of become obese?
The interactive map below shows the obesity levels as a percentage of population across the UK.
The 10 most obese areas in the UK:
Western Isles (highest obesity rate)
Telford and Wrekin
Barking and Dagenham
The 10 least obese areas in the UK:
Richmond upon Thames (lowest obesity rate)
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kensington and Chelsea
Windsor and Maidenhead
Kingston upon Thames
Use your mouse to pass over a region to get a meaure of the current obesity rate in that area, or use the search facility to zone in on a particular town or district. You may be surprised.
A hat-tip and thanks to our friends at allcures.com who did the study and created the map
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