Skip to content

Obesity in society

Worldwide obesity epidemic

  • Globally more than 1 billion adults are overweight and 300 million adults are obese. Approximately 17.6 million children are overweight worldwide

(Source: www.who.int)

  • Contrary to popular belief, the obesity epidemic is not just a problem in developed countries, the number of individuals who are overweight or obese is also increasing in developing countries
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, a place that is associated with famine and malnutrition, 12% of women are overweight

(Source: www.iotf.org)


Obesity in the United Kingdom

  • In the UK, the number of people who are overweight or obese has been rising at an alarming rate over the last 20 years and reached its highest level now in 2010 for both men and women.
  • In 1993, 13% of men and 16% of women were obese (a body mass index above 30 kg/m²) compared with 26% of both men and women who were obese in 2010.
  • This increase in the proportion of obese adults mirrors the decrease of the proportion of adults with a normal weight (a body mass index of 18.5-24.9 kg/m²), which decreased between 1993 and 2010 from 41% to 31% in men and from 49% to 40% in women.
  • 42% of men and 32% of women were overweight in 2010 (a body mass index of 25-29.9 kg/m²).
  • Nearly two thirds of men and more than half of women are either overweight or obese, meaning that only one in three people have a healthy weight.
  • The levels of overweight and obese have also been rising in children. Between 1995 and 2010, the prevalence of obesity among boys aged 2-15 has increased points from 11% to 17%, and from 12% to 15% in girls.

(Source: Health Survey for England 2010)

 

If these trends continue, it has been estimated that by 2020, one third of all adults and 50% of children in the UK will be obese.

(Source: Health Select Committee report on Obesity May 2004)


Am I Overweight?

Adults' BMI calculator

Child or Young Person's BMI calculator

Back to top