WITH more than a quarter of people in three of Gwent’s five local authority areas now classed as obese, it is clear this part of the country has a significant problem.

New figures from the annual Welsh Health Survey show Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Torfaen have obesity rates of close to 30 per cent of the population.

And when you add in those people who are classed as merely overweight, the figure in the three Gwent valleys areas increases to more than 60 per cent.

The statistics are damning and there is little doubt that many people in these areas are in danger of suffering significant health problems in the future.

While it cannot be a coincidence that the highest obesity rates are seen in Gwent’s poorest areas, there is only so much blame that can be attached to social and economic factors.

Ultimately people have to take individual responsibility for their health.

With the exception of certain medical conditions, the reasons for people being obese or overweight are simple – they eat too much and exercise too little.

There are plenty of agencies that can help people to become fit rather than fat, but there is only so much they can do.

If the overall health picture in Gwent is to be improved then it is the unhealthy who have the biggest part to play.