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Adult obesity in England

The Health Survey for England 2019 estimates that 28.0% of adults in England are obese and a further 36.2% 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’.

The survey found that men are more likely than women to be overweight or obese (68.2% of men, 60.4% of women). People aged 45-74 are most likely to be overweight or obese.

Around three quarters of people aged 45-74 in England are overweight or obese

In the most deprived areas in England, prevalence of excess weight (overweight or obese) is 9 percentage points higher than the least deprived areas. 

For policy information, please see our other briefing paper Obesity.

Childhood obesity in England

9.9% of reception age children (age 4-5) are obese, with a further 13.1% overweight. At age 10-11 (year 6), 21.0% are obese and 14.1% overweight. This data is gathered as part of the National Child Measurement Programme.

Of every thousand 10 and 11 year olds in England, 210 are obese, 141 are of overweight, 634 are of normal weight, and 14 are underweight. Of every thousand 4 and 5 year olds in England, 99 are obese, 131 are overweight, 761 are of normal weight, and 9 are underweight.

For reception age children the prevalence of obesity has changed little since 2006/07. For Year 6 children prevalence has increased from 17.5% to 21.0%.

Children living in deprived areas are more likely to be obese. At age 4-5, 6.7% of those in the least deprived areas are obese, compared with 13.0% of those in the most deprived areas. At age 10-11, 13.9% of children in the least deprived areas are obese, compared with 27.2% in the most deprived areas. The gap between the most and least deprived areas has increased since 2006/07.

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 thumbnails to download.

Map of overweight and obesity rates in Reception age children in EnglandMap of overweight and obesity rates in Year 6 children in England

Also in this briefing

As well as data for England, the full briefing (download available above) 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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