Teesside University is to sign up 70,000 Middlesbrough residents in order to find out if the lifestyle of a whole community can be changed.
Funded by the Food Standards Agency, the experiment, commencing later this year, was unveiled at a conference on obesity in the town.
It has been devised by Professor Carolyn Summerbell, head of the university’s Centre for Food, Physical Activity and Obesity Research, who said she wanted everyone in Middlesbrough to sign up and make a pledge to eat more healthily and become more physically active.
Middlesbrough is England’s childhood obesity capital with 18.3% of children aged between two and ten obese compared with a national average of 13.7%. Fifty four per cent of 11 and 12 year olds are overweight and one in five is obese.