a town 
in crisis

64.4 per cent of people in Eastbourne are overweight or obese
64.4 per cent of people in Eastbourne are overweight or obese

Eastbourne’s fat stats have a serious implication on the town’s health.

People who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of developing type two diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, while experts warns excess weight can also affect self-esteem and mental health.

In fact, health problems associated with being overweight are said to cost the NHS more than £5 billion a year. With East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust already having to cut costs and implement widespread money-saving measures, the prospect of two-thirds of the town’s adults potentially falling foul of weight-related issues is not a welcome one.

Eastbourne’s adult obesity level is roughly on a par with the East Sussex-wide average of 65 per cent. Nearby Hastings recorded 65.3 per cent and neighbouring Rother 63.9 per cent – both of which fall under the same NHS trust. Brighton and Hove however was significantly lower, with less than half of adults (49 per cent) labelled overweight.

The team behind the in-depth study (Public Health England) pointed to a host of factors linked to high obesity rates - including social and economic deprivation and age.

Dr Martin Writer, chair of Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group and a GP at Park Practice, said, “It is important to note that these figures look at both people who are overweight as well as those that are obese. There are significant long and short term health risks linked to obesity. The CGC is working with the county council to look at the reason behind people becoming significantly obese and what we can do to help people who become overweight and obese.”

He said lifestyle changes were needed, adding, “It’s not easy [to lose weight] if you are overweight or obese it can be extremely hard, and it is not something that you can expect to happen overnight. People can get despondent often they will lose a lot of weight to start with, however the rate of weight loss will often decrease over time and this can be very frustrating, but you have to stick at it.”