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Fat Nation: Join the BIG Challenge
Woman eating chips
We are turning into a nation of fatties - with horrendous health consequences
Last updated: 25 November 2004 1125 GMT
line As residents of a Birmingham street try to shape up with the eyes of the nation upon them, find out how YOU and your family can eat, think and exercise your way to a healthier future.

BBC Big Challenge

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Britain is in the grip of an obesity epidemic - and that's why the BBC has launched The BIG Challenge.

The message is simple: by making small changes to your lifestyle you can make a BIG difference to your health.

Big Challenge logo

The Fat Nation TV series on BBC1 (starts September 9, 8pm) focuses on a Midlands street that holds a chilling message for the whole of Britain.

More than half the residents are overweight, and medical experts say their weight and fitness levels are an accurate reflection of picture of how out of shape we are across the country. The statistics are shocking.

  • Almost two thirds of the country's population are officially fat - the highest rate of obesity in Europe - with one in four men and one in five women grossly overweight.
  • Obesity has almost quadrupled in 25 years and will soon overtake smoking as the greatest cause of premature death.
  • Already 1,000 overweight people die each week.
  • The figures for obesity among children have tripled in 20 years.
  • Apart from heart disease, obesity can cause joint and bone problems as well as diabetes. Type-two diabetes used to be associated with older overweight adults, but now more and more children are being diagnosed with the condition
  • The financial cost is already huge - between 3.3billion and 3.7billion a year.

Now the BBC has launched The BIG Challenge - a two-year initiative to help us fight our collective battle with the bulge. Read more here

Salsa dancing
Salsa dancing is one fun way to get fit

Fat Nation, the programme is just the start. As the 200 residents try to improve their eating habits and exercise regimes, the hope is that the rest of us will watch and be inspired to do something to make the change to a healthier lifestyle.

Fat Nation - The Big Challenge is NOT about just putting people on diets. The aim is to provide the tips and tools to help you make easy, achievable, changes in your eating and activity habits to help you get healthier and stay that way for good.

The focus is on simple, easily achievable lifestyle changes with a fun flavour. For example, sport and going to the gym isn't the only way to get fit - why not go dancing instead?

Are YOU up for it? If you are a family from Gloucestershire interested in Fat Nation - the Big Challenge, we want to report your experiences on our airwaves and website.

There will also be a chance to make a video diary as you go through the nine challenges.

Feelgood Friday

The problem is as bad in this county as anywhere else - and that's why BBC Gloucestershire is backing the national campaign.

To coincide with Fat Nation - The Big Challenge, BBC Radio Gloucestershire's lunchtime show with Mark Cummings will focus on food, fitness and lifestyle issues.

The Big Challenge in Gloucestershire is being supported by The Citizen newspaper, GL1 leisure centre and celebrity chef Robert Rees, who is available to provide healthy cooking tips via this website.

We'll also keep you up to date with an exciting healthy living initiative which offers Gloucester rugby fans the chance to learn diet and fitness tips from their sporting heroes. Read more here.

Fat stomach
One in four British men is grossly overweight

And on October 29, the week before the last programme in the nine-week series is aired, will be Feelgood Friday, a free, fun event at the BBC Learning Centre in Eastgate Street, Gloucester.

Feelgood Friday will bring together experts including nutritionists, health and fitness experts, dance groups, chefs, and sportspeople.

Feelgood Friday will have something for everyone, whatever your age, whatever your size. And there will be the chance to win great prizes that will help you change your life for the better!

Watch this space for more about Feelgood Friday, coming soon. And if you are involved in health, fitness or nutrition initiatives in the county and would like to take part email

Have your say

Your comments:

Helen Kay
I have only seen the prog a couple of times but I think it id really encouraging to those of us overweight but people nee to realise it is not a walk in the park losing weight, it's hard work !!

i want to lose some weight but don't know how to because i allready eat 5 pieces of frute a day, fishfingers and drink water, tea and milk. i have tried to stop eating for a few days and some other things. what can i do now

wow! cool show my friend's friend was on it and it has really helped me to face up to my own unhealthy eating regime. thanks!

i think the programme is a fab fab idea, people need to wake up and realise that being overweight can have serious complications and seriously need to combat it. I hate the fact that people use the excuse of having no time to exercise thats why they become overweight, get real and accept it and do something about it before its too late!!!!!!!

This show is ace. It shows the nation that anyone can be fit and healthy whilst losing weight. I'm only 13, but i know that health is very important and being fat/obese is not good news(having your stomach stapled is sooo not in nowdays)!!! Being fat is disgusting and the nation needs to do something about it!

this programme is good, but will it really help people to get fit/thin? they need to really try, good luck to them

Howard Wells
I have something to say about this... this programme is offensive to all fat people and this show should be banned!

Hannah Prew
I think this programme is a good idea. I'm 16 and a student and I'm currently writing an article on the increase of child obesity. I thought I'd take a look at this site and I've also watched a couple of the programmes. The show is helping me as it's helping me understand the issues of obesity and the type of life styles people lead.

Vicki Lee
I am a 19 year old girl from Bristol, Glos.. I constantly worry about my weight when I'm only 9 stones 2 pounds because the rest of my family are either clinically overweight or obese. I think youngsters today think it's okay to eat junk because that's what they've been taught from a young age. I will enjoy watching the programme and wish everyone taking part good luck, but I really do think they've got a challenge on their hands.

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