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Adult obesity in England

The Health Survey for England 2017 estimates that 28.7% of adults in England are obese and a further 35.6% 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’.

The survey found that men are more likely than women to be overweight or obese (67.2% of men, 61.5% of women). People aged 65-74 are most likely to be overweight or obese.

BMI category by age in England

In the most deprived areas in England, prevalence of excess weight is 11 percentage points higher than the least deprived areas. 

Childhood obesity in England

9.5% of reception age children (age 4-5) are obese, with a further 12.8% overweight. At age 10-11 (year 6), 20.1% are obese and 14.2% overweight. This data is gathered as part of the National Child Measurement Programme.

Of every thousand 10 & 11 year olds in England...  201 are obese  142 are overweight  643 are of normal weight  14 are underweight

The population-based maps below show the areas of England in which children are more or less likely to be overweight or obese. Click the thumbnail to expand.

Population-based maps of childhood excess weight in England


Children living in deprived areas are more likely to be obese. At age 4-5, 6.4% of those in the least deprived areas are obese, compared with 12.4% of those in the most deprived areas. At age 10-11, 13.3% of children in the least deprived areas are obese, compared with 26.7% in the most deprived areas. This gap has increased over the last decade.

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 trends in bariatric surgery for obesity.

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