AN area's success in fighting the flab is to be highlighted as an example to the rest of Britain.

Large waistlines have been quickly disappearing since weight management groups were launched in east Cleveland.

A collective weight loss of 111st 3lbs in the last year has tipped the scales in favour of Langbaurgh Primary Care Trust (PCT) winning pride of place at the 13th annual public health forum.

The largest conference of its kind in the UK, it is expected to be attended by 1,000 delegates from the UK and overseas.

Ceri Mather, acting director of public health, said: "We are delighted that our community development approach on obesity and physical activity has been given such a prestigious platform. It gives us the chance to share our successful project with so many other public health teams and other agencies."

Concerned at the rise in levels of obesity, Langbaurgh PCT launched its own strategy to tackle the problem and set up free community-based weight management groups in areas with high deprivation and high numbers of overweight people 18 months ago.

Research suggested that alongside nutrition, exercise played an integral part.

Nearly 650 people have attended the weight management groups.

Delegates to the forum being held at the Sage Gateshead this week will be able to see how the trust achieved its results.