Adults who are overweight or obese

Source: NHS Digital

Base: Adults aged 16 and over with a valid height and weight measurement

The proportion of overweight and obese adults increased steeply between 1993 and around 2000, and there was a slower rate of increase after that, with little change in recent years. In 2015, over 63% of adults in England were overweight or obese.

Note: BMI is a widely used measure of weight that takes into account the individual’s height, and is defined as weight in kilograms divided by the height in metres squared(kg/m2). Adults can be classified into the following BMI groups:

  • Underweight (BMI under 18.5)
  • Normal (BMI 18.5 to less than 25)
  • Overweight (BMI 25 to less than 30)
  • Obese (BMI 30 and over)

Overweight and obesity increase the risk of developing health problems, although there are different risks associated with overweight and obesity.

Year-on-year fluctuations may not indicate real changes and can be within the margins of sampling error. We comment only on the changes that are more likely to reflect a real change.


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Adults’ average BMI

Source: NHS Digital

Base: Adults aged 16 and over with a valid height and weight measurement

There has been a general upward trend in adults’ average (mean) BMI since 1993.

Note: BMI is a widely used measure of weight that takes into account the individual’s height, and is defined as weight in kilograms divided by the height in metres squared (kg/m2).

Year-on-year fluctuations may not indicate real changes and can be within the margins of sampling error. We comment only on the changes that are more likely to reflect a real change.  


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Adults with a ‘very high’ waist circumference

Source: NHS Digital

Base: Adults aged 16 and over with a valid waist measurement

The proportion of adults with a very high waist circumference increased between 1993 and 2001. The trend has continued upwards since 2001, but at a slower rate.

Note: BMI does not distinguish between mass due to body fat and mass due to a muscular physique. It also does not take account of the distribution of fat. Waist circumference can be a useful supplementary indicator to BMI to identify central (abdominal) obesity. For men, very high waist circumference is defined as greater than 102cm. For women, very high waist circumference is defined as greater than 88cm. 

Year-on-year fluctuations may not indicate real changes and can be within the margins of sampling error. We comment only on the changes that are more likely to reflect a real change.


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Further information