Obesity in the UK

uk obesity

The percentage of overweight people in the UK is rising, despite efforts by government to implement policies to tackle the obesity problem.

Obesity is measured as the percentage of the population who are overweight or obese. There are various ways to measure this, most often using the Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation which compares height with body weight, and sometimes by comparing an individuals weight against the average weight of the population.

United Kingdom Obesity Rates

Overall 64% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese, with a Body Mass Index of 25 or over. Around 8% of deaths are attributed to obesity related illness in the UK. The cost to the economy is estimated in 2007 as being £15.8 billion per year, including £4.2 billion a year in costs to the National Health Service (NHS).

Child Obesity Rates in the UK

The percentage of overweight children in the UK is 33.9% according to NHS statistics. Child obesity is recognised as one of the most serious global public health challenges for the 21st century. Obese children are at greater risk of developing health problems, and are more likely to become obese adults. In Wales, the average obesity rate (including overweight children) is 35% for boys, and 33% for girls. In Scotland, the rates are 35% for boys, and 29% for girls.

Source: Public Health England

Highest rates of obesity in the UK

The most overweight and obese areas of the country are:

  1. Copeland, West Cumbria (75.9%)
  2. Doncaster, South Yorkshire (74.4%)
  3. East Lindsey, Lincolnshire (73.8%)
  4. Rydale, North Yorkshire (73.7%)
  5. Sedgemoor, Somerset (73.4%)

Source: Daily Telegraph

Probable causes of obesity in the UK

UK child obesity causesMany of the foods aimed at babies and toddlers in the UK are high in sugar and calories, so children don’t get off to a very healthy start in the beginning.

When children are growing up in the UK, many of the breakfast cereals on sale are also very high in sugar.

There is a definite link in UK culture between high calorie foods being considered “treats”.

£838 million was spent on marketing fast food ads in the United Kingdom in 2007, according to the Department of Health.

Other studies have shown that 1 in 10 ads during television shows popular with children are for fast food chains.

70% of three year olds recognise the McDonalds logo, but only half know their own surname!

The exact causes of obesity are always complex, however the main causes can be summarised as a diet too high in calories, and too little exercise.

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1 Comment

  • Lynda

    July 28, 2014

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