HYNDBURN folk are 12 per cent more likely to be fat than their southern counterparts.
A nationwide study ranked our population as being in the top third of an obesity league.
The survey of 353 local authorities showed former mining and steel towns as having the highest risk of obesity compared with the likes of Kensington and Chelsea, the authorities with the lowest.
Mrs Elaine Michel, acting director of public health for Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Primary Care Trust, said: "We use many studies to estimate the health of the borough and our obesity figures are the same as those nationally
"But I would estimate about one-quarter of people as being obese.
"People living in less affluent areas lack choices and being on a low wage may mean they are eating poorer quality, high-fat foods.
"The fact they may not be able to afford to attend a gym or choose healthier products mean they are more likely to be overweight which may explain why there is a difference between the authorities in this study."
The figure released by credit research company Experian and Dr Foster Intelligence, an independent organisation studying health and social care, used data on Body Mass Index and a health study of households across the country to show which types of people have high and low body weight and where they live.
Halting the yearly rise in obesity is a Government target as risks associated with it include developing cancer, coronary disease, diabetes and blindness.
Mrs Michel added: "We have already taken steps to lower obesity in the borough. These include encouraging mothers to wean their babies healthily, increasing physical activity at schools, providing healthy school lunches and referring overweight people to one of our exercise schemes.
"Rising levels of obesity reflect a change in lifestyle, with more people driving instead of walking or using public transport and more people working in less active jobs.
"Change won't happen overnight but we hope that by taking action now we will reduce the burden on the health service over time."