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Analysis of Obesity in the UK

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Statistics
Wordcount: 3852 words Published: 4th Oct 2017

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Obesity in England: Reason & Consequences

Generally, the objective of this statistics report is to evaluate the obesity in England.


1.0 Abstract

The main purpose of this report, is to identify the statistics analytical report regarding ‘Obesity in England’ that is specifically based on the physical activity and the lifestyles of people in England. In addition to the objective of this report, is to highlight the fact that peoples’ physical activities and lifestyles are changing year by year. Additionally, this report will analyse the obesity statistics of the population in England. The report will then discuss about the physical activity of the population relating to obesity in England. In order to ease the understanding of the reader, historical tables and pie charts will be included in this report which can also help readers to make comparisons between the obesity rate, physical activities and lifestyle statistics.

2.0 Introduction

Figure 1 represents the calculation formula of BMI with different units of measurements. The unit of ‘masses in BMI can be applied by using Kilograms (kg), Pounds (lbs), or Stones (st). However, the SI units for BMI is still remain on kilograms.


(Figure 1)

Obesity can be defined as an individual who is overweight with a significant degree of body fat and fatty acid (NHS, 2012). In the past twenty five years, the occurrence of obesity in England, was measured and studies found that the statistical records, had doubled the figures from the past years (Publich Health England, 2014). There are several reasons that could cause obesity to happen. The two main factors influencing obesity are, due to lack of physical activities and lifestyles. Obesity is undoubtedly harmful for an individual’s health. An individual who face obesity, may encounter some severe health issues such as diabetes, strokes, heart disease and even some common cancer such as breast cancer or colon cancer (NHS, 2012). The question is, how can one determine whether an individual is considered obese or not?

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An individual’s weight can be measured in various ways and measurement to determine the severity of overweight. However, according to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), the method that is widely practice for body weighting is the body mass index (BMI). By using the calculations in (Figure 1), individuals can acknowledge whether he/she is overweight or obese. BMI overweight severity is separated into a few categories. For instances, individuals with BMI range of 25-29 would be considered as overweight, while individuals who falls in the second category with BMI between 30 and 40, would be considered as obese, followed by people who has his/her BMI over 40, would be considered as unhealthy obesity (NHS, 2012).

This report will provide essential statistics data to give a bigger picture of obesity in England for readers. The statistics will be supported with graphs, tables and pie charts that will be included as well to demonstrate a better illustration of the comparison between the variables. Last but not least, by the end of the report, readers will understand the potential reason of obesity in terms of physical activities and consequences of obesity.

3.0 Methodology

The information that was used in this report, were collected through various types of sources such as online journals, articles, internet and books. These sources were done using secondary data. In addition, several reliable websites and annual reports of official institutions were used to interpret and analyse the data and was converted into information to discuss this statistics report. The websites that were used in this report consists of Guardian, Telegraph, and National Health Service (NHS). Furthermore, regarding to the obesity’s data and information, the data were mainly obtained from the reports published by NHS in order to improve the creditability and reliability of this report. In short, the information, data and materials in this report are extremely genuine, trustworthy and reliable.

4.0 Findings

4.1 Statistics of obesity in England by age group (2002 to 2012)

(Graph 1)

Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Health & Social Care Information Centre (2014).

According to (Graph 1) above, the graph specifically shows the statistics of obesity in England from year 2002 to 2013 according to age groups from the age of 16. The statistics showed that the obesity’s population in England, is trending up from 2002 to 2013 for all age group (16 to 74 and over). In 2002, there was a record of 29,237 people facing obesity while in 2003 the obesity rate had significantly increased to 33,546 people which calculated 14.74% change. During that moment, the population of obesity in England rose rapidly from year 2004 to 2009 with 21.45%, 27.68%, 29.20%, 20.39%, 27.28% and 38.90% increase respectively. In population, the numbers of people suffering from obesity, had gone up dramatically from 40,741 to 142,219 people.

By comparing to year 2009, the percentage change of the obesity’s population had reached its peak which is 48.91% in 2010. There was a record of 211,783 individual which are obese from the age of 16 to 74 and over. Additionally, the statistics of people facing obesity in England climbed up to 266,666 with a 25.91% change comparing to year 2010. Last but not least, the total population of obesity in England in year 2012, had reached up to 292,404 people. However, this increase had accounted to only 9.65% change in population of obesity. In the bigger picture, the population for obesity in England had been escalated from year 2002 to 2013 with an increase of massive 900%.

4.2 Obesity between men and women in England (Year 2002-2012)

(Graph 2)

Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Health & Social Care Information Centre (2014).

As you can see, (Graph 2) represents the obesity’s population between the men and women in England. The graph shows a significant uptrend formed with the recorded statistics of obesity’s population. Other than that, you can see the difference between the obese men and women. The difference between the men and women that are obese, showed that both genders were increasing year by year. In 2002, the number of women who suffered from obesity (17,169 people) were 5,100 people higher than the number of obese men (12,068 people).

Furthermore, in 2007, the number of obese women (48,829 people) had a 16,749 people of difference compared to the obese men which was tripled the result of year 2002. Nevertheless, the most significant data recorded was in year 2012. The population of women being obese (192,795 people), was approximately twice as many as the population of obese men (99,579 people).

In result, we can conclude that regarding to England’s obesity’s population, the number of women who suffered from obesity are higher than men. According to the research, lack of physical activity were the cause of obesity.

5.0 Physical activity

Physical activity is known to bring healthy benefits to individuals and it is proved that this will reduce incidence of many chronic conditions such as obesity (HSCIC, 2012). However, individuals that are lack of physical activity may suffer from obesity.

5.1 Physical activity guidelines


MPA (minutes/week)

VPA (minutes/week)



10 < or ≦ 75

Some activity



Low activity (Overweight)



Inactive (Obese)

< 30

< 15

MPA: Moderate intensity Physical Activity

VPA: Vigorous intensity Physical Activity

(Figure 2)

Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Health & Social Care Information Centre (2014).

HSCIC (2012) had set up a standard for physical activity guidelines as shown in (Figure 2). The activities are divided into four categories to determine whether an individual is active or inactive. Individuals must meet the requirements of at least either MPA or VPA or both in order to fall into that category.

5.2 Self-reported physical activity of men and women

(Chart 1) (Chart 2)

Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Health & Social Care Information Centre (2014).

HSCIC (2012) stated that individuals must have at least 30 MPA in order to get rid of obesity. Low activity and inactive individual will be considered as overweight and obese. Chart 1 and Chart 2 are the pie charts that represent the self-reported physical activity data that HSCIC (2012) collected. According to both of the figures, the percentage of active individuals in terms of physical activity of men (67%) is obviously more than the women (55%) by a difference of 12%. Relatively, 26% of women in year 2012 are inactive regarding to their physical activity. Furthermore, the percentage of low activity of women is slightly (2%) higher than men. In contrast, the inactive population of men in their physical activity was just 19% which is 7% lower than the women.

In comparison, the percentages of inactive women are higher than inactive men whereas the percentages of active men are higher than the women. In short, since the individuals that fall in the ‘low activity’ and ‘inactive’ category, are considered to be overweight and obese. Therefore, referring to (Figure 3), we can conclude that physical activity is be one of the main reasons that caused obesity and it also showed why the population of obese women was more than men since year 2002 until 2012.

6.0 Comparative rates of adults’ obesity in 2010

(Graph 3)

Source: National Obesity Observatory, International Comparisons of Obesity Prevalence, available at: www.noo.org.uk/NOO_about_obesity/international/

Graph 3 shows latest data of comparative rates of adult’s obesity in year 2010. As we can see, the country’s highest obesity prevalence is the United States (35.70%). This is followed by Mexico, Scotland and New Zealand coming in second, third and fourth place accordingly with the obesity prevalence of 30%, 28.20% and 26.50% respectively. England’s obesity prevalence is 26.10% which is considered high by comparing to countries such as Australia (24.60%), Northern Ireland (23%), Luxembourg (22.50%) and Slovak Republic (16.90%). Last but not least, Japan and Korea have the least obesity prevalence by comparing to other countries in the graph shown; they have a percentage of 3.90% and 3.80% relatively. Ultimately, this graph shows that the obesity level of England which is considered severe.

6.1 Map of excess weight of England

Map 1 shows the percentage of adults that are involved in obesity from different regions of England.

Guardian (2014) stated that it has an average of 64% adults bringing obese in England by considering all the regions.


(Map 1)

7.0 Cost of Obesity

The cost of obesity, consists of human cost and National Health Service (NHS) cost. This session will discuss about both the cost for obesity.

Figure 2 shows the relative risk of women and men in terms of the diseases caused by obesity. The table consist of diseases that may cause hypertension, stroke and cancer. It can be seen that the relative figures of women, is higher by comparing to the men especially in the Type 2 Diabetes which is two times more of the probability. Type 2 Diabetes can cause serious life shortening that will affect the mortality of human being (NAO, 2011).

7.1 Human Cost of obesity


Relative risk – Women

Relative risk – men

Type 2 Diabetes






Myocardial Infarction



Cancer of the Colon






Gall Bladder Diseases



Ovarian Cancer








(Figure 2)

Source: National Audit Office estimates based on literature review

7.2 NHS Cost of Obesity

(Graph 4)

Source: National Audit Office estimates (2012)

Graph 4 shows the approximate obesity cost in 2012. It is estimated a spending of £457m on obesity cost, is considered as a burden to the England’s economy. NAO (2012) estimated that the obesity cost for year 2015, will increase dramatically up to £6.3 billion and up to £9.7 billion by year 2050. The reason behind the cost of obesity will be significant high, is because of the indirect cost of lost output in economy. NAO (2001) stated that the economy will be in recession due to the sickness or death of the England’s workforce caused by obesity. Therefore, the consequences of obesity must not be ignored but must be taken into serious considerations.

8.0 Conclusion

In short, the statistics of this report identified some important details regarding obesity in England. It is important to understand how the impact of obesity and the growth of population can cause the increase of people with obesity to be two times more in the past 25 years. Furthermore, the trend for obesity in all different age groups, showed an increase in England from year 2002-2013. The differences between the genders as well, will show the reasons to why there is an increase in obesity in relations to physical activities because of the activeness of men, inactiveness of women and vice versa. Importantly, this report stated the consequences of obesity which is severe illnesses that causes death with related risk statistics about men and women. Lastly, the report showed the comparison between other countries related to obesity, the percentage of obesity in the regions of England, followed by the human and NHS cost of obesity.

9.0 Recommendations

As aforementioned, the level of obesity in England is getting more and more significant year by year. Government should conduct more campaign to fight obesity as it will provide more information about importance of physical activity in life to individuals or families. In addition, government should continue to subsidise NHS for the ‘Health Check programme’ in order to prevent and avoid severe disease such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

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Besides, government should not just focus on physical activity; they must focus on other reason that causes obesity as well, such as diet and lifestyle. Government could implement some political strategy to fight obesity, such as increase the taxation of fat-food in order to stop people from buying the unhealthy product. Last but not least, government could also increase the advertising of healthy campaign and advertisement of disadvantages of obesity to encourage people to get rid of obesity.

10.0 References:

Boseley, S. (2014). The Guardian: Almost two-thirds of adults in England classed as overweight by health body. [Online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/04/two-thirds-adults-overweight-england-public-health [Last Accessed 28th March 2014].

National Health Service. (2014). Obesity: Introduction. [Online] Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Obesity/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Accessed 27th March 2014].

Public Health England. (2014). Trends in Obesity Prevalence. [Online] Available at: http://www.noo.org.uk/NOO_about_obesity/trends [Accessed 20th March 2014].

Figure 1: Source :http://healthy-living.knoji.com/does-your-bmi-really-matter/

HSCIC. (2014). Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet: England 2014. [Online] Available at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB13648/Obes-phys-acti-diet-eng-2014-rep.pdf [Accessed 20th March 2014].

HSCIC. (2012). Physical activity in Adults. [Online] Available at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB13218/HSE2012-Ch2-Phys-act-adults.pdf [Accessed 24th March 2014].

NAO. (2012). An Update on the Government’s Approach to Tackling Obesity. [Online] Available at: http://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/tackling_obesity_update.pdf [Accessed 24th March 2014].

HSCIC. (2012). Chapter 7: Health Outcomes. [Online] Available at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/searchcatalogue?productid=13887&returnid=3945 [Accessed 24th March 2014].

NAO. (2001). Tackling Obesity in England. [Online] Available at: http://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2001/02/0001220.pdf [Accessed 28th March 2014].

Public Health England. (2013). Social Care and Obesity: A Discussion Paper. [Online] Available at: http://www.local.gov.uk/documents/10180/11463/Social+care+and+obesity+-+a+discussion+paper+-+file+1/3fc07c39-27b4-4534-a81b-93aa6b8426af [Accessed 29th March 2014].

HSCIC. (2012). Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet: England, 2012. [Online] Available at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB05131/obes-phys-acti-diet-eng-2012-rep.pdf [Accessed 20th March 2014].

HSCIC. (2013). Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet: England, 2013. [Online] Available at: http://www.bhfactive.org.uk/userfiles/Documents/obes-phys-acti-diet-eng-2013-rep.pdf [Accessed 20th March 2014].


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