A recent survey revealed that women in the UK are “the fattest in Europe”, with nearly a quarter of females classified as obese.

The study, carried out on behalf of the European Union, saw British women top the list with 23.9% obese according to BMI (body mass index). In comparison, just 9.3% of Italian women, 12.7% of French women and 15.6% of German women were overweight.

Reena Sharma, a company nutritionist at North West health consultants [email protected], says that eating habits during the working day can be a significant part of the problem for people struggling with their weight.

Specialist training and support organisation [email protected] works alongside businesses of all sizes in the region to advise and guide on issues of workplace health and wellbeing, including healthy eating and getting active, and tackling sickness absence.

“Obesity has a very serious impact on people’s health and it is clear from these statistics that more must be done to tackle it,” Reena says.

“From our point of view at [email protected], we know people spend most of their time in the workplace, doing increasingly busy and hectic jobs. When people are eating on the go, combined with habits like skipping breakfast, it’s easy to make unhealthy choices like pasties and sweets just to fill a hole.

“Snacking at work can actually be very important – provided it is something healthy. It boosts concentration levels and helps us get on with the day. Eating little and often keeps up energy levels allowing us to focus on the job in hand.”

Obesity can lead to a host of serious long-term health problems, like heart disease and diabetes, that can impact on attendance and productivity. To help employers and staff, [email protected] has devised the Workplace Wellbeing Charter focusing on helping businesses improve seven key areas of employees’ lifestyles – alcohol and substance misuse, leadership, sickness and absence management, smoking, mental health and stress, healthy eating and physical activity.