House of Commons Library

Obesity Statistics

Published Tuesday, February 2, 2016

24% of adults in England are obese. A further 36% are overweight. This briefing provides statistics on the obesity among adults and children in the UK, along with data on prescriptions, surgery, and international comparisons.

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Obesity is normally defined as having a BMI of 30+. 24% of adults in England are obese. A further 36% are overweight.

Rates of excess weight are highest in the North East and lowest in London. Men are more likely than women to be overweight, but women are more likely to be obese.

Those aged 55-64 are most likely to be obese; 16-24s are least likely. In England, Black or Black British adults are most likely to be obese, those of Asian or Asian British ethnicity are least likely.

9% of children in England are obese by the age of 4-5. 10-11 year olds in the most deprived areas are much more likely to be obese. 

Obesity5

In England, rates of obesity drug prescriptions are highest in Barnsley CCG. Prescribing rates for obesity drugs have fallen in all UK countries since 2008.

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The number of bariatric surgeries on obese patients fell in the last two years. Uk obesity rates are close to the median of OECD countries with measured rates.

This briefing gives statistics on obesity for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with international comparisons. Breakdowns by age, gender, ethnicity local authority and deprivation are given where possible, and data for both adult and child obesity is covered. In addition to statistics on the prevalence of obesity, this briefing gives statistics on prescriptions of drugs for obesity, trends in bariatric surgery, and the detrimental effect of obesity on health. For information on treatments for obesity, see the recent note from POST (the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology).

Commons Briefing papers SN03336

Authors: Carl Baker; Alex Bate

Topics: Diseases, Health education and preventive medicine, Health services, Obesity

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