OBESITY levels across East Lancashire are above the national average, it has been revealed.

Close to 70 per cent of adults over the age of 18 were found to be either overweight or obese in Lancashire, according to data sourced from Public Health England between January 2013 and January 2016.

Across Lancashire 66.7 per cent were found to be overweight or obese in the period between 2013 and 2016.

Figures for the county are above the national average for adults, which is 64.8 per cent.

A spokesman for Public Health England have said: “The causes of obesity are complex and we all – government, industry, local authorities and the public – have a role to play in this.

“That’s why we’ve developed our reduction programmes to encourage the food industry to make healthier products, provide advice to parents through our Change4Life campaign, and work with local councils to develop a whole systems approach to tackling obesity.”

County Cllr Shaun Turner, Lancashire County Council lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “Obesity is a serious health issue in Lancashire and we’re working in a number of ways to encourage people to eat healthily and lead a more active lifestyle.

“Without realising it, many of us are having too much sugar, saturated fat and salt.

“We are addressing this in a range of ways, which include working with schools to monitor children’s weight and encourage them to stay fit and healthy.”

In Blackburn with Darwen 68.6 per cent of people were found to be overweight or obese.

In comparison to 22 other regions surveyed in the North West, Blackburn with Darwen was found to have the eighth highest number of adults who were overweight or obese, ahead of Liverpool and Manchester.

Kenneth Barnsley, public health specialist for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “We are thoroughly aware of the trends in adult obesity and have recognised two years ago that we have more adults that are obese than would be expected were the national rate to apply.

“Blackburn with Darwen is one of the most deprived boroughs in the country and with that comes huge challenges in health and wellbeing.

“Around 75,000 adults in the borough are overweight or obese and the rate of obesity more than doubles from 9.4 per cent at 4-5 year old to 22.1 per cent at 10-11 years old.

“Over 50,000 adults in Blackburn with Darwen are not active enough to benefit their health with the cost of physical inactivity to the Borough being over £3 million.

“Through the strategy action plan, we will support some of the most vulnerable groups in our communities, even in these times of financial pressure, we will be taking a whole systems approach to tackling obesity and physical inactivity."

“We are currently working with partners across Pennine Lancashire to develop a primary prevention strategy to address physical inactivity and to improve nutrition.”

Cllr Mustafa Desai, who is the executive member for the health & adult social care portfolio, said: “We have put a number of strategies in place over the last two years, including Recipe for Health and Eat Well, Shape Up, Move More strategy, to try and promote a healthier lifestyle.

“We are moving in the right direction and it will be a gradual process.”