Residents in South Holland are fighting back at claims Britain is a nation of fatties.
In spite of NHS statistics showing the district has higher than the national average numbers of obese adults and children, slimming classes in Spalding and surrounding villages are bursting.
Helen Webster, who runs two WeightWatchers classes in Spalding, said membership has increased by a third in the past year. Now she can expect to see 160 men and women a night wanting to shed the extra pounds and get healthier.
She said: “With all of the recent publicity, people are starting to think they need to do something about it.
“A year ago we only had two classes – now myself and two other ladies run them in Spalding, Crowland, Market Deeping and Pinchbeck.”
Obesity rates are rising rapidly across Europe but the UK rate of 26.1 per cent is more than twice that of France, at 12.9 per cent, according to a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Only Hungary outranks Britain with an obesity rate of 28.5 per cent.
In South Holland, 26.9 per cent of adults and 24.5 per cent of children are obese.
WeightWatchers classes have also been taking referrals from doctors.
The success of slimmers in the district was evident when a joint WeightWatchers Love Yourself This Valentines charity pamper night was held at St Norbert’s Church Hall in Spalding.
Eleven models who had lost a total of 43.5 stones strutted their stuff London Fashion Week style in outfits loaned to them by Beales.
Helen said: “The models looked lovely and they all said they had chosen outfits they wouldn’t normally wear.
“When we projected ‘before’ images of them on a screen the room erupted into applause and tears. It was a really emotional evening.”
Helen Bailey, from Beauty by Sarah, also provided some pampering during the evening and £354 was raised for LIVES First Responders.
l For details of WeightWatchers classes, call Helen Webster on 07988 445580.