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How fat is your town?

Although we struggle to overcome the collective might of Macedonia and Slovakia at football (Scotland and Northern Ireland fans: gloat here), Britain is still number one at something. We are - wait for it - the fattest nation in Europe. And that's not just my opinion, it's according to an official report.

Don't panic, however. You may be a member of a podgy nation, but you may not live in the most blubbery town. And we're still nowhere near as hefty as the Yanks.

A detailed picture of the health of the nation, from our rapidly expanding waist-lines to our heroic cigarette consumption - is being made available online by the Department of Health. It's an online fat-map, if you like.

And what do you know? It highlights a significant north/south divide in England, with much higher rates of obesity and smoking in the north - coupled with a significantly lower life expectancy.

Beyond providing an opportunity for headline writers, food fascists and hand-wringers to peddle their wares, I'm not convinced that this is a useful online exercise. And I'd be interested to see a 'wealth map' - perhaps there would be some correlation between the two.

But if you sell comfortable trousers, pies or stair lifts, the map should at least point out the best areas for you to, ahem, expand your business.

More here.

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