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Essay Paper on Obesity in the UK: Analysis


The purpose of this paper is to provide statistical and analytical data on obesity in England, considering lifestyles and patterns of physical activity among people of England. Another goal is to illustrate how a lifestyle and physical activities change every year. Along with this, this paper provides statistical data on obesity. Charts and tables are used as illustrations to help estimate relationships among physical activities, obesity rate, and statistics on a lifestyle.


The definition of obesity is an individual who suffers from overweight, and whose body contains big amounts of fatty acid and fat (NHS, 2012). During the past 25 years, different studies considered obesity in England, providing statistical figures that exceed those of the past years more than twice (Public Health England, 2014). Obesity is caused by several factors. Most important factors are a lifestyle that leads to obesity, and the lack of physical activities. Obesity causes a significant damage to one’s health. According to NHS (2012), possible negative consequences include such problems as strokes, diabetes, heart diseases, and even several common types of cancer (for example, colon cancer and breast cancer). Thus, a determination of obesity becomes a very important issue for health care.

There are various ways to measure somebody’s weight, which can help determine whether a person is overweight. The body mass index is used most commonly, according to the data of National Health Service. Individuals are able to assess their weight by doing simple calculations. The mass is divided by height squared. The result can be classified into several categories. For example, if BMI equals 25-29, it indicates overweight. The range from 30 to 40 means obesity. If such a parameter exceeds 40, it means that obesity is unhealthy and dangerous.

In this report, we made an attempt to analyze statistical data, in order to present the overall statistics on obesity in England. This paper is also aimed to define common causes for obesity, as well as its effects on human body and health.


This report collected information from many sources, such as books, articles, and journals. In order to analyze data and interpret results of the research, we used official reports and proven online sources. The data was also collected from such online sources as National Health Association, Telegraph, and Guardian. Given the specifics of the topic, most information was collected from NHS reports, in order to increase the reliability of the work.

Statistics of Obesity in England by Age Groups (2002 – 2012)

According to Hospital Episode Statistics and Health & Social Care Information Centre (2014), the population of people with obesity in all the age groups (16-74 years) increased during a period of time from 2002 to 2013. During eleven years, the population of people who suffer from obesity increased from 29,237 to 33,546, which is a change by 14.74%. From 2004 to 2009, obesity in England increased fast: 21.45% in 2004, 27.68% in 2005, and 29.20%, 20.39%, 27.28%, 38.90% during next years, respectively. The number of people facing such a problem increased rapidly from 40,741 to 142,219.

The peak of the obesity’s population falls on the year 2010 – 48.91%. According to the records, there were 211,783 obese people in total, taking into account all age groups in the range from 16 to 74 years. Comparing to 2010, there was a 25.91% change in these figures, since the population of obese people grew up to 266,666. In 2012, the number of people with such a problem equaled 292,404 people, which is a relatively slight growth by 9.65%. At the same time, such figures mean that in England, from 2002 to 2013 the obesity’s population increased by 900%, which is a massive and rapid change.

Obesity among Men and Women (2002 – 2012)

The data of Hospital Episode Statistics and Health & Social Care Information Centre (2014) shows an uptrend in both gender groups. Along with this, we can see a difference between statistics on obesity between women and men. In 2002, there were 17,169 obese women and 12,068 obese men, which is a difference that equals 5,100 people.

In 2007, this difference significantly increased. There were 16,749 more obese women than men, but such figures are not as vivid as those of 2012. 192,795 obese women double such statistics on men – 99,579.

Taking into account such statistics, we can conclude that in England, the number of women who suffer from obesity is higher than the number of obese men. The most common reason for such a tendency was the lack of physical activity.

Physical Activity

The positive impact of physical activity on health is a proven fact. Physical activity reduces risks of different diseases and helps people who suffer from chronicle conditions, including obesity (HSCIC, 2012). Most often, people who don’t have enough physical activity suffer from obesity.

A standard for physical activity guidelines was introduced by HSCIC in 2012. There are four categories of activities which help determine whether a person is active or not. To classify people into any of these categories, they must meet requirements of VPA or MPA.

Self-Reported Physical Activity

According to HSCIC (2012), if individuals want to get rid of obesity, they must have 30 MPA or more. Inactive individuals, as well as those who demonstrate low activity, are considered overweight or obese. In 2012, the organization collected information on self-reported physical activity. There is a bigger percentage of physically active men than women: 67% against 55%, which makes a 12% difference. In 2012, 26% of women were inactive. There were also 2% more people with low physical activity among women. As for men, there were 19% people who were inactive.

At the same time, a percentage of active men exceeds a percentage of active women. Those who reported their inactivity or low activity were considered obese and overweight. Such data pushes us to a conclusion that physical activity is one of the most important factors that determine obesity. This information also explains why there were more obese women than men during the period from 2002 to 2012.

Comparative Rates of Obese Adults (2010)

According to the data of International Comparisons of Obesity Prevalence and National Obesity Observatory, the highest level of obesity is observed in the United States (35.70%). Scotland, Mexico, and New Zealand show the second result – 28.20%, 30%, and 26.50%, respectively. In England, obesity prevalence equals 26.10%, which is much higher than in such countries as Northern Ireland (23%), Slovak Republic (16.90%), Australia (24.60%), and Luxembourg (22.50%). Comparing to other countries, Japan and South Korea show the smallest figures (3.90% and 3.80%).

Map of Obesity of England

According to Guardian (2014), there are 64% obese people in total, considering all the regions of England. There are 68% of people who suffer from obesity in North-East England, 66% – in North-West, 65.4% – in Yorkshire and the Humber, 65.7% in East Midlands, 65.1% in East areas, 63.1% – in South East regions, 62.7% in South-West England, and 57.3% of obese people in London.

Cost of Obesity

To calculate the cost of obesity, we have to take into account the cost of National Health Service, and human cost. In this research, we also considered causes of cancer, hypertension, and stroke regarding the obesity problem. Women demonstrate bigger numbers than men. There is two times bigger probability for the Type 2 Diabetes among women, which is a very dangerous fact, given its ability to shorten life and increase mortality (NAO, 2011).

According to the data of National Audit Office (2012), England spent about £457 million on obesity, which is a problem for the economy. In 2015, this figure dramatically increased up to £6.3 billion. NAO (2012) estimates obesity cost of £9.7 billion in 2050. This cost may grow even more because of the impact of death and sickness on the workforce. It pushes us to a conclusion that we should no longer ignore consequences of obesity.


This report shows important statistical information about obesity in England. We have to understand how the growth of population and obesity affect statistics on obesity during the past 25 years. In England, from 2002 to 2013, the increase in the number of obese people was registered for all age groups. The difference in physical activeness among men and women explains the difference in numbers of men and women who suffer from obesity. This report also described common consequences of obesity regarding risks of various illnesses and death. We also compared different countries, as well as various regions of England, and calculated the total cost of obesity.


Every year, the level of obesity in England grows. The government should implement new strategies aimed against the growth of obesity, as well as provide more information about possible consequences of obesity, and the role of physical activity. In our opinion, the government must keep giving costs for the ‘Health Check Programme’, to prevent common diseases caused by obesity, such as stroke, heart diseases, and cancer.

The government should also focus on other causes of obesity, as well as on physical activity. Lifestyle and diet are very important factors that affect people and lead to obesity. Fat food may be taxed in order to prevent people from consuming unhealthy products. The government could also increase the advertising of healthy lifestyle and provide more information about effects of obesity on health.

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