STAGGERING new statistics have revealed three in four people in Castle Point are overweight or obese.

A survey has revealed the number of obese people in the borough now stands at 72.8 per cent – making it the seventh fattest region in the entire country.

The newly-released data offers a stark reality check only 18 months after the Olympic Mountain Biking was held in Hadleigh – with many in south Essex expecting to get fit after the global sporting event came to the UK.

There are about 89,000 people in the borough, meaning more than 63,000 are overweight.

This compares with 71.7 per cent of the Basildon population being overweight, 71.3 per cent of the population in Rochford, 70.8 per cent in Thurrock, and 64.4 per cent in Southend.

Deborah Cassar, 54, joined Slimming World in January 2013 after she saw a picture of herself in a size 20 dress.

Since then, she has lost four stone and launched a Slimming World group at the Thundersley Methodist Church, in Benfleet.

She said: “This is unbelievable news and I can’t believe the numbers are so high.

“I have been running the group since October and have had a lot of enthusiastic people come and lose weight. It’s so easy and is all about healthy eating.

“In January, my 39 members lost 17 stones, 9lbs and I was so proud of them. There is no reason that others can’t achieve what my group has and I would encourage anyone who wants to lose a bit of weight to join.”

The figures were compiled by Public Health England by the percentage of people with a Body Mass Index of more than the healthy 25.

The national average is 64 per cent.

Mrs Cassar added: “I needed to change after I saw a photo of myself in that dress and Slimming World helped me.

“I can’t encourage people enough to get involved and shed that unwanted weight.”