04/02/2011 05:36 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

British Women Top Fat League

overweight-woman-obesity Are British women really the fattest in Western Europe? Photo: Corbis

Oh dear, dust off your diet books. British women are the fattest of any major mainland Western European country, says a report in the medical journal The Lancet. According to the report, the only places you'll see fatter females in this part of the world are Malta and Israel.

Apparently we are, on average, a stone heavier than we used to be. In the early 1980s a 5ft 3in British woman weighed 10st. But now she's 11st 2lb. Not just that, but our average body mass index (BMI) has shot up from 24.2 to 26.9, which firmly puts us in the overweight category (anything over a BMI of 25 is classed as overweight).

Italian women, on the other hand, were the only ones to have lost weight since the 1980s. With an average BMI of 24.8, the Italians are neck and neck with French women, with Swiss women topping the 'slim' table.

In case you were wondering, the weight of the average British man has also risen from 12st to 12st 12lb, while his BMI has gone up from 24.7 to 26.6.

It's hardly cause for celebration but at least it is part of a global trend, as the report also shows that obesity worldwide has almost doubled since 1980. That equates to 205 million men and 297 million women who are clinically obese in the world.

The good news, however, is that despite the fact we're getting fatter, our blood pressure and cholesterol are getting lower - at least that's the case in the wealthier western countries (though in East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific region they're getting higher).

Why do you think we're the fattest?

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