Six in 10 people in Northern Ireland are overweight and a quarter of them are obese, experts have revealed.
According to the Public Health Agency (PHA), levels of obesity have barely fallen over the past decade prompting fresh warnings about the risks to lives.
Dr Tracy Owen, consultant in Public Health Medicine at the PHA, said: “Having a waistline of 37 inches or more for a man and 32 inches or more for a woman can put you at a greater risk of developing heart disease, some cancers and type two diabetes.
“Your health could be at greater risk if you’re storing a lot of fat around your waist.”
According to the statistics just 38 per cent of adults were classed as being of normal weight last year.
Some 35 per cent were deemed by medics to be overweight while a further 25 per cent were reported as obese.
A new campaign, coinciding with National Obesity Awareness Week (January 11-17), has been launched to encourage members of the public to measure their waistline.
Dr Owen added: “Many people don’t measure their waistline correctly as they’re unsure of where their waistline actually is.
“It’s not about the size of your trousers, it’s the distance around your abdomen at roughly the halfway point between the bottom of your ribs and top of your hips – the bellybutton can be used as a good point to do it from.”
The PHA has urged members of the public to follow these steps to help you measure your waist correctly:
• Get hold of a standard tape measure
• Stand up straight and breathe out naturally
• Find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips
• Your waist is halfway between the two
• Keep the tape measure snug around your waist and write down the result