ROMSEY MP Sandra Gidley has appeared as you've never seen her before.

Mrs Gidley piled on four stone in a bid to find out first-hand the issues facing obese people in her constituency.

The Liberal Democrat shadow health minister was provided with the fat suit' by national organisation LighterLife, which helps clinically obese people to resume a healthy lifestyle to help them shed the pounds.

To create the portly appearance, Mrs Gidley had to first add a lead weight-covered waistcoat before strapping in to the legs, also containing more weights to give a very real impression of the practical strains of being obese.

Obesity is a problem that is now being labelled as a global epidemic, with approximately 25 per cent of the adult population of England said to be obese.

One million prescriptions Figures out this month show that more than one million prescriptions a year are now made for obesity drugs.

After just minutes of taking the strain, the normally trim Mrs Gidley was struggling for breath and receiving some strange looks from passers-by as she glanced over a jewellery stall in Romsey Market.

She said: "I struggled to get dressed, I struggled to bend down to tie my shoelaces with all this extra weight I am carrying. I am exhausted."

Mrs Gidley was quick to acknowledge the serious side of her experience. She said: "If we do not tackle the problem of obesity, it will bankrupt the health service. It is costing £7 billion a year, and that figure is rising all the time."

Looking back after the experience, she said: "The hardest part was not something that was planned. I was moving some boxes so I could sit down and a file dropped on the floor and I couldn't bend over far enough to reach it.

"I had to get down on my hands and knees, pick the file up and lumber upwards. It was really tiring."