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Over a quarter of adults obese in England

  • Date: 20 December 2022

AROUND a quarter of adults in England were classed as obese in 2021, according to the latest Health Survey for England published by NHS Digital.

Figures from the survey show that 26 per cent of adults in England were obese, with obesity increasing with age, from 8 per cent of adults aged 16-24 to 32 per cent of those aged 65-74.

Obesity prevalence was highest in the most deprived areas (34 per cent), and 11 per cent of obese adults reported having received a diagnosis of diabetes from a doctor, compared with 3 per cent of those who were neither overweight nor obese.

A higher proportion of men were either overweight or obese (69 per cent) compared with women (59 per cent).

Findings from this survey are not directly comparable with previous HSE survey years but the report found that overweight including obesity rates increased from 58 per cent of men and 49 per cent of women in 1993 to 68 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women in 2019.

Obesity prevalence increased from 13 per cent of men and 16 per cent of women in 1993, to 27 per cent of men and 29 per cent of women in 2019. The report states that these increases occurred largely between 1993 and 2001, and have since been more gradual.

The survey also found that over one in ten (12 per cent) of adults were current cigarette smokers, and more men (13 per cent) than women (10 per cent) reported that they currently smoked.

Nearly 80 per cent of participants reported that they had drunk alcohol in the last 12 months, and 49 per cent reported that they drank alcohol at least once a week. A higher proportion of men than women drank alcohol.

A total of 5,880 adults (aged 16 and over) and 1,240 children (aged 0 to 15) were interviewed in the 2021 survey.

Read the full report: Health Survey for England, 2021

This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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