Bradford has been chosen as the only city in the UK to be part of a major, Europe-wide programme to tackle obesity and bad diet.

The city is one of seven that has been chosen for the European Commission funded scheme, and was chosen partly because of its above average levels of obesity and large ethnic mix.

The 12 month long project is aimed at tackling the growing levels of obesity in Europe, and will be launched in September.

In Bradford, the project is being delivered by Born In Bradford, the medical research study group, and Shipley-based HALE (Health Action Local Engagement), as well as other community and voluntary groups.

Another reason for the commission choosing Bradford is the success of other recent medical projects run under the Born In Bradford umbrella.

The full details of the programme will be ironed out at a meeting of the countries involved in Barcelona next week, but is expected to involve local health campaigns and research and will involve input from scientists across Europe.

It will "use positive messages to promote healthy lifestyles" and target three main groups - children and young people, pregnant women and new mothers and people over 60 years old.

Once complete, the findings could be used by the Commission to develop healthy eating and lifestyle programmes across the continent.

The other countries taking part in the ambitious project are Granollers in Spain, Poznan in Poland, Roncq in France, Banska Bysrica in Slovakia, Culj-Napoca in Romania and Deventer in the Netherlands.

Bradford has a higher rate of adult obesity than the rest of England - 26 per cent of adults compared to 24 per cent in the rest of the country. There are also higher rates of childhood obesity - 22 per cent compared to the national average of 19 - and children who don't get enough exercise each week.

Frances Holling from HALE will be attending the meeting in Barcelona, and said: "Bradford has some excellent work going on promoting health and wellbeing and hopefully this will be a great opportunity for organisations to work together and share good practice, not only across Bradford but also with other countries across Europe. Apart from its very diverse population, Bradford is an ideal place to pilot the campaign as obesity levels are above the national average and has a huge impact on public health. It is an exciting opportunity."