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UK tops European obesity league

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The UK has performed poorly in an influential health and lifestyle study, recording the highest levels of obesity and teen pregnancy.

Data from the Association of Public Health Observatories revealed that 29% of adults in the West Midlands are classed as obese - double the EU average of 14%, narrowly beating the North East of England (28%) to the dubious accolade of being the fattest region in Europe.

The UK also has one of the highest levels of teenage pregnancy out of the 27 nations studied, with the highest rate in the country found in the North East, where 2.7% of all births last year occurred among girls under 18.

The report revealed that cancer mortality rates for women in the South East are the highest in the UK at 185 per 100,000, followed by Scotland at 179 per 100,000, compared with the European average of 139.5 per 100,000.

The study focused on 37 different factors in each region, such as causes of death, population range, risk factors and health facilities, and did contain some positive findings, with the levels of adult smokers being lower than in many other countries.

Author Professor John Wilkinson said: “The findings demonstrate that even in parts of the UK where we think we are doing quite well, there is a long way to go.”

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