Introduction

Tackling obesity is one of the greatest long-term health challenges currently faced in England. Around two-thirds (63%) of adults are above a healthy weight, and of these half are living with obesity. In England 1 in 3 children leaving primary school are overweight or living with obesity with 1 in 5 living with obesity.

Obesity prevalence is highest amongst the most deprived groups in society. Children in the most deprived parts of the country are more than twice as likely to be obese than those living in the least deprived areas.

Obesity is associated with reduced life expectancy and a range of health conditions including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver and respiratory disease and cancer. Obesity can also have an impact on mental health.

Tackling and preventing obesity is a high priority for the Government. The current policies and actions are set out in the following documents

This profile presents the latest available data to help understand and monitor the patterns and trends in obesity at national, regional, and local levels.

NCMP child obesity indicators

The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) measures the height and weight of over one-million children in Reception (age 4-5 years) and Year 6 (age 10-11 years) each year in primary schools in England. The NCMP is an excellent source of surveillance data which helps increase understanding of the patterns and trends in underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obesity among the child population.

NCMP data from 2006/07 to 2019/20 is available in this profile. Prevalence of underweight, healthy weight, overweight, obesity and severe obesity can be examined at local authority level. Data quality indicators are also displayed, for example rate of participation in the NCMP.

To help identify pockets of high child obesity prevalence within local authorities this profile includes an NCMP small area data domain. Trend data is available on the prevalence of excess weight (overweight including obesity) and obesity for Middle Super Output Areas (MSOA), Electoral Wards, and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG).

School closures, in March 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic meant that in 2019/20 the number of children measured was around 75% of previous years. Analysis by NHS Digital shows that national and regional level data is reliable and comparable to previous years.The data at local authority level and below is not as robust, as a result a small number of areas do not have published data for 2019/20 and data for some areas has a reliability flag indicating that figures need to be interpreted with caution. Further information is available here and in the NHS Digital 2019/20 annual report.

Adult obesity indicators

The Active Lives survey conducted by Sport England collects data on self-reported height and weight among adults aged 18 years and over in Local Authority areas across England. Public Health England uses this data to produce estimates of adult excess weight prevalence for the Public Health Outcomes Framework. The data is adjusted at an individual level to better align with measured height and weight and then age standardised to improve comparability between local authorities.

Further details of the self-report adjustment and age-standardisation are available here and in the definitions tab within the profile.

Prevalence of excess weight (overweight including obesity) can be examined in this profile at local authority level, data for other BMI categories will be added in 2021. Comparisons can be made between areas and over time for data from 2015/16 to 2018/19.

Local authority data on obesity in early pregnancy is also presented in the profile.

Contextual indicators

These indicators provide local authority level estimates for several topic areas that are determinants of or related to child obesity. For each topic area, where possible, the information is shown by gender, ethnicity, sexuality, region and local authority.

Recent updates

June 2021

Small area data updated to 2020 Ward and CCG boundaries. New NCMP disclosure control applied to all small area data.

February 2021

Patterns and trends in child obesity PowerPoint presentations for England and the regions added to Reports tab.

January 2021

Patterns and trends in adult excess weight PowerPoint presentation of national data added to Reports tab.

December 2020

Profile renamed from NCMP and Child Obesity Profile to Obesity Profile.

2019/20 NCMP data added for local authorities, regions and England.

2019/20 NCMP data added to the small area data domain (MSOA/Ward/CCG) showing prevalence data for obesity and excess weight.

A statistical commentary on this update is available here.

New domain added to display data for adult overweight and obesity.

March 2020

2018/19 NCMP data added to the small area data domain (MSOA/Ward/CCG) showing prevalence data for obesity and excess weight.

A statistical commentary on this update is available here.

December 2019

2018/19 NCMP data added for local authorities, regions and England. 

October 2019

Local authority data now uses the 2019 boundaries. A new domain has been created to display small area (MSOA/Ward/CCG) prevalence data for obesity and excess weight.

May 2019

Data has been added for English regions on inequality in obesity prevalence using the slope index of inequality (SII) showing trends from 2006/07 to 2017/18.

January 2019

2017/18 data added. Historic severe obesity data added and a new indicator for inequalities in obesity prevalence added showing England data.

A statistical commentary on this update is available here.

July 2018

Contextual indicators added to the profile

January 2018

2016/17 data added, severe obesity data added

March 2017

2015/16 participation rates added

February 2017

2015/16 data added

August 2016

Overweight data added

February 2016

2014/15 data added. Five-year rolled obesity prevalence added with inequalities data for sex, deprivation and ethnicity at a local authority level. Local authority data has been changed from local authority of school, to local authority of child residence.

February 2015

2013/14 data added

January 2014

2012/13 data added

Recent updates

June 2021

Small area data updated to 2020 Ward and CCG boundaries. New NCMP disclosure control applied to all small area data.

February 2021

Patterns and trends in child obesity PowerPoint presentations for England and the regions added to Reports tab.

January 2021

Patterns and trends in adult excess weight PowerPoint presentation of national data added to Reports tab.

December 2020

Profile renamed from NCMP and Child Obesity Profile to Obesity Profile.

2019/20 NCMP data added for local authorities, regions and England.

2019/20 NCMP data added to the small area data domain (MSOA/Ward/CCG) showing prevalence data for obesity and excess weight.

A statistical commentary on this update is available here.

New domain added to display data for adult overweight and obesity.

March 2020

2018/19 NCMP data added to the small area data domain (MSOA/Ward/CCG) showing prevalence data for obesity and excess weight.

A statistical commentary on this update is available here.

December 2019

2018/19 NCMP data added for local authorities, regions and England. 

October 2019

Local authority data now uses the 2019 boundaries. A new domain has been created to display small area (MSOA/Ward/CCG) prevalence data for obesity and excess weight.

May 2019

Data has been added for English regions on inequality in obesity prevalence using the slope index of inequality (SII) showing trends from 2006/07 to 2017/18.

January 2019

2017/18 data added. Historic severe obesity data added and a new indicator for inequalities in obesity prevalence added showing England data.

A statistical commentary on this update is available here.

July 2018

Contextual indicators added to the profile

January 2018

2016/17 data added, severe obesity data added

March 2017

2015/16 participation rates added

February 2017

2015/16 data added

August 2016

Overweight data added

February 2016

2014/15 data added. Five-year rolled obesity prevalence added with inequalities data for sex, deprivation and ethnicity at a local authority level. Local authority data has been changed from local authority of school, to local authority of child residence.

February 2015

2013/14 data added

January 2014

2012/13 data added