Children's body mass index, overweight and obesity
This report examines the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children in England in 2015. It describes differences between groups of children, by age, sex and income. Parents’ and children’s perceptions of their weight are compared with objective measures of body mass. Trends in childhood obesity over time are also discussed.
- Overall 28% of children aged 2 to 15 were either overweight (14%) or obese (14%). The proportion of boys who were overweight, including obese (30%) was higher than the proportion of girls who were overweight, including obese (26%).
- Children from lower income households were much more likely to be obese compared with those from higher income households. 18% of children from households in the lowest income quintile were obese, compared with 9% of children living in households in the highest income quintile.
- The majority of overweight and obese children were not aware that they were too heavy. Only 26% of overweight, including obese children aged 8 to 15 described themselves as too heavy, compared with 41% who said that they were about the right weight.
- Parents of overweight and obese children often thought that their child was the right weight. The majority of overweight children were described as being about the right weight by their mothers (91%) and fathers (80%). For obese children, 48% of mothers and 43% of fathers said their child was about the right weight. However, just over half of mothers (51%) and fathers (56%) of obese children described their child as too heavy.