Obesity is set to overtake smoking as the biggest killer in West Sussex, new figures from the Department of Health show.
According to the latest figures, some 17 per cent of adults in the county are now classed as obese, with problems such as diabetes, heart disease and related cancers costing health chiefs in Brighton alone around £2.5 million a year.
Furthermore, around one in six 11 and 12-year olds in the south coast city are also classed as obese, indicating that the problem is getting worse.
"The problem has arisen because of environmental and behavioural changes that are a result of modern lifestyles," explained Farhang Tahzib, director of public health in West Sussex.
"Our social, economic and cultural development has contributed to us leading less active lives and consuming more high-energy foods than in the past.
"The implications for public health are considerable as it is predicted that obesity may soon surpass smoking as the nation's greatest cause of premature loss of life."
The news comes soon after the government announced the launch of its £372 million Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives scheme, which will focus on the promotion of healthy eating and more exercise.
For more obesity related facts and figures, please visit our statistics page