New data shows that more than three in five adults in Hampshire are overweight, obese or severely obese.

The report also shows that nearly one in five children between the ages of 10 and 11 are also in those categories.

That comes as Hampshire County Council unveils its plan to try and get takeaway restaurants to improve the healthiness of food that they offer with a new award for business.

According to the government’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, 2,815 children between 10 and 11 years old suffer from obesity or severe obesity in Hampshire in 2022/23, a trend that has increased through the years and is “getting worse”.

READ MORE: Southampton bridge has a disabled ramp only on one side

The percentage of adults – those 18 and over – classified as overweight or obese in 2021/22 surpasses 64 per cent.

It said that although there are people in all population groups who are above a healthy weight, obesity is related to social disadvantage, with some population groups being more affected than others.

The prevalence of excess weight is 11 per cent higher in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas of England.

The NHS has said being overweight or obese can lead to chronic and severe medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and atherosclerosis, where fatty deposits narrow the arteries, which can lead to coronary heart disease and stroke asthma.

The pandemic, cost of living and poor healthy food choices due, in some circumstances, to the cost of living have all contributed to more people gaining weight, health chiefs have said.

During Hampshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board (December 7), it was revealed that the levels of obesity are “unequal” across the county.

Dr Matt Nisbet, from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, indicated that food banks normally only offer long-life food to vulnerable people.

“There is a difficulty to provide fresh food to them,” he said, adding: “For those people, the fuel cost is an issue; we need to understand that”.

Hampshire County Council health officer Darren Carmichael said: “We are talking about individuals, but it is often not the individual alone that influences the weight they have, they gain or maintain through life, it is their environment where they live, and how agencies interact with them.

Mr Carmichel indicated that in most deprived areas of Hampshire, people have four times more takeaways than those who live in more affluent areas, in those where there are better fresh food choices.

To progress on healthier food environments, in 2024, a Hampshire-wide healthier food award will be launched for food premises such as caterers and restaurants, and takeaways to apply for it – at no cost to the food business.

“We don’t want to stop takeaways, but we can improve their food offer”, the health officer said.

The Healthy Weight Strategy 2022/26 aims to reduce or level off the prevalence of overweight and obesity by partnering with all areas, from education centres to health care, community places, and GPs, to promote healthier weight across life.

However, Cllr Steve Forster suggested that the definition of healthy weight should take into consideration individuals who suffer from underweight food disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.

Cllr Forster said: “It is very easy to focus on the element to be overweight. We do have a significant number of people who are underweight. For some of those, it is also a form of body shame.”