MORE than two-thirds of people living in the New Forest – 68.6 per cent – are overweight, new figures have revealed.

Data released by Public Health England shows the number of adults who are overweight or obese in the forest is above the national average of 63.8 per cent.

The Active People Survey, conducted by Sport England, placed Hampshire 14th highest of 27 county councils, with 65.1 per cent of people overweight or obese across the county.

The county was found to be the fattest authority in the Wessex region.

Public Health England says the figures, which were collected in 2012, are “worryingly high” and an overweight or obese population can be influenced by a variety of factors including social and economic deprivation and age.

It said people who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

Public Health England used the body mass index (BMI) to work out if a person is overweight or obese.

The health body says obesity among adults increased sharply during the 1990s and 2000s.

By 2050 it is estimated 60 per cent of adult men and 50 per cent of adult women will be obese.