Postcode lottery can affect your health

CONCERN ... Coun John McCabe.
CONCERN ... Coun John McCabe.

WHERE you live in South Tyneside has a major impact on whether you are obese, according to latest statistics.

The data from the borough’s Health Profile 2011 estimates that 27.4 per cent of the adult population is obese – compared with 24.2 per cent for England.

Twenty-five per cent of children are overweight or obese in reception classes and 38 per cent in Year 6.

But those figures vary dramatically across the borough’s 18 wards.

The biggest dichotomy comes among 10 to 11-year-olds.

In the Primrose ward in Jarrow, just over 50 per cent of youngsters are overweight or obese – compared with 25 per cent in leafy Cleadon and East Boldon.

Amongst adults, the worst wards, where obesity ranges from 20 to 24 per cent of the population, are Boldon Colliery, Simonside and Rekendyke, Hebburn South and Bede in Jarrow.

The best-performing wards, with between 12 and 14.5 per cent obesity levels, are Whitburn and Marsden, Cleadon and East Boldon and Hebburn North.

Among reception age classes, children in two Jarrow wards – Bede and Fellgate – have the highest obesity levels, at 30 per cent or just over.

That compares with 12 per cent in the best-performing ward of Horsley Hill in South Shields.

Coun John McCabe, who represents Hebburn South for Labour, said he was “astounded” that his ward’s adult population had a much greater obesity problem than Hebburn North, according to the statistics.

He said: “I could understand if it was Cleadon Village compared with Hebburn South, but the difference in the figures between Hebburn South and North astounds me.

“As a ward, we do an awful lot of encourage sporting activity.

“As for obesity generally, I was on the children and young people committee five years ago, and I’m aware of the problem.

“A lot of it is to do with the food chain and the additives that are being put in our food today. As with many things, education is the key.”