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Obesity Statistics

Published Tuesday, March 20, 2018

26% of adults in England are obese. A further 35% are overweight but not obese. 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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Adult obesity in England

The Health Survey for England 2016 estimates that 26.2% of adults in England are obese and a further 35.2% are overweight but not obese. Obesity is usually defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above. BMI between 25 and 30 is classified as 'overweight'.

Men are more likely than women to be overweight or obese (66% of men, 57% of women). Levels of overweight and obesity are highest among those aged 45-74, as the table below shows.

Overweight and obesity by age, England, 2016

Levels of excess weight are highest in North East England and Yorkshire and the Humber. The map below shows which local authorities are estimated to have above/below average levels of excess weight. Click the thumbnail to expand.





Childhood obesity in England

9.6% of reception age children (age 4-5) are obese, with a further 13.0% overweight. At age 10-11 (year 6), 20.0% are obese and 14.3% overweight.

Childhood obesity age 10-11

Children living in deprived areas are more likely to be obese. At age 4-5, 6.6% of those in the least deprived areas are obese, compared with 12.5% of those in the most deprived aeras. At age 10-11, 12.8% of children in the least deprived areas are obese, compared with 26.2% in the most deprived areas. This gap has increased over the last decade.

Childhood obesity and deprivation

Also in this briefing

As well as data for England, the full briefing (download available below) includes data for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as international comparisons. 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. 

Commons Briefing papers SN03336

Author: Carl Baker

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

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