THE West Midlands area of the NHS, which includes Here-fordshire, is said to have the most fat women and children in England.

And men are not far behind, with 22.2% in the region carrying too much weight.

The problem has been 30 years in the making and the trend is not expected to be halted overnight.

According to Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Health, people simply eat too much and do too little exercise - but solving the problem is more complex.

To try, £372 million has been set aside in a cross-government strategy to help everyone to lead a healthier life.

It will include ways of creating a healthier society from schools and food, from sport and physical planning, transport and the health service.

Employers, individuals and whole communities will be brought together to widely promote better health.

Dr Rashmi Shukla, regional director of public health, said the highest rates of obesity for women and children in England should be a fact of great concern for everyone living and working in the area.

A report from the Department of Health says the region has: The most obese women of all the English regions, with 28.7%.

The highest proportion of obese children aged between two and 15 years, 19.9%.

The second highest proportion of children aged between two and 10 years, 17.4%.

l A 22.2% prevalence of obesity among men in the region.

Out of 34 local authorities in the West Midlands, 10 are in the bottom 25% for participation in sport and active recreation.