Overweight borough residents will be referred to a slimming class by their GP in a new tie-up.

Dudley Primary Care Trust (PCT) has teamed up with Weight Watchers to allow overweight or obese patients to be referred to a slimming group.

Anyone who records a Body Mass Index of 30 or over can be referred for a minimum 12-week course at a local Weight Watcher group free of charge.

It is hoped on completion of the course residents will be encouraged to lose even more weight.

More than 55 per cent of borough residents are recorded as overweight or obese, according to latest figures.

Dean Hill, physical activity programme manager, said: "Tackling obesity is a top public health priority and is part of the PCT's ongoing commitment to exploring new and original ways in which to help local people make choosing a healthier lifestyle easier."

To use any of the PCT's lifestyle schemes visit your GP for a check-up and Body Mass Index assessment and ask about a referral to the scheme.