Obesity Statistics

UK Obesity Statistics

The NHS Information Centre published the following figures February 2012.

  • 26% of adults were classified as obese in 2010 having Body Mass Index (BMI) 30+
  • A greater proportion of men than women (42% compared with 32%) were classified as overweight in 2010 having BMI 25-30
  • Women were more likely then men (46% and 34% respectively) to have a raised waist circumference in 2010 (over 88cm for women and over 102 cm for men)
  • Using both BMI and waist circumference to assess risk of health problems, 22% of men were estimated to be at increased risk; 12% at high risk and 23% at very high risk in 2010
  • Equivalent figures for women were: 14%, 19% and 25%

Diet and Exercise Trends

Some of the underlying reasons for the increase in UK obesity

  • 20% of respondents reported that they took walks of at least 20 minutes “less than once a year or never” in GB
  • Household purchases of fruit are 11.6% lower than 2007 in the UK
  • Purchases of vegetables are 2.9% lower than in 2007

Health Trends

  • High blood pressure was recorded in 51% of men and 46% of women in the obese group vs 20% of men and 15% of women in the normal weight group.
  • The number of NHS hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of obesity was 11,574 in 2010/11. This is over ten times as high as the number in 2000/01 (1,054)
  • Over the period 2000/01 to 2010/11 in almost every year more than twice as many females than males were admitted to hospital with a primary diagnosis of obesity. In 2010/11 almost three times as many women as men were admitted with a primary diagnosis of obesity
  • The figure for bariatric surgery rose to 8,087 in 2010/11 – 12 per cent higher than in 2009/10 (7,214)
  • In the last decade, bariatric surgery procedures saw a 30-fold increase from just 261 in 2000/01 although figures for more recent years also include gastric band maintenance. 1,444 of the 8,087 procedures for bariatric surgery in 2010/11 were for maintenance of an existing band
  • In 2010, there were 1.1 million prescription items dispensed for the treatment of obesity

European Obesity Statistics

The UK has more obese women than any other country in Europe, according to European Union figures published by data agency Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, following the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) .

  • 23.9% of UK women and 22% of men were recorded as being obese in the year 2008 to 2009
  • These figures were based on data from England, although surveys suggest the percentage of obese adults in Wales and Northern Ireland is similar
  • Scotland’s latest health report put the figure at 28%
  • The UK came out as Europe’s “fattest nation” overall
  • After the UK, the countries with the highest levels of female obesity were Malta 21.1% and Latvia 20.9%
  • For men, after Malta and the UK, the countries with the highest instances of male obesity were Hungary 21.4% and the Czech Republic 18.4%
By comparison:
  • Italy, 9.3% of women were found to be obese and 11.3% men
  • Bulgaria 11.3% for women and 11.6% for men
  • France 12.7% for women and 11.7% for men


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