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The Facts about Obesity


General Obesity Facts

The prevalence of overweight and obesity is indicated by body mass index (BMI)as a measure of general obesity and is calculated as weight(kg) / height(m2). The categories are:

BMI < 18.5                    Underweight

BMI 18.5 to < 25           Normal

BMI 25 to <30               Overweight

BMI > 30                       Obese

Obesity is associated with heart disease, cancer, disability during older age and decreased life expectancy as well as serious chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and Hyperlipidaemia (high levels of fat in the blood that can lead to narrowing and blockages of blood vessels).

Obesity is responsible for more than 30,000 deaths in England each year and will shorten the lifespan of a person by up to 10 years. It is preventing many people from reaching their retirement age.

You will have an increased chance of developing these diseases if you are obese:

  • 3 times more likely to develop colon cancer
  • More than 2.5 times more likely to develop high blood pressure
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • At least 28 times great risk of developing diabetes

A high or very high waist circumference is associated with increased health risks.  A high waist circumference is defined as being more than 102cm (40”) in men which can translate to XXXL in some clothes shops in the UK, and more than 88 cm (34”) in women.  In the UK 32% men and 44% women have a raised waist circumference.

2017 Adult Obesity Statistics

  • In England, nearly two-thirds of adults were classed as being overweight or obese. Broken down, 27% of adults are obese and a further 36% are overweight.
  • Obesity in men in England rose from 13.2% in 1993 to 26.9% in 2015.
  • Obesity in women in England rose from 16.4% to 26.8% in 2015. In 2013 this statistic was at 23.8% so the rise is slowing for woman but still increasing.
  • Men are more likely to be overweight than women
  • 9% of children in England are obese by the time they are aged 4-5.
  • Of every hundred adults in England, 3 are morbidly obese, 27 are obese, 36 are overweight, 356 are normal weight and 2 and underweight.


2014 Adult Obesity Statistics

  • In 2013, about one in four of the adult UK population was obese, 26.0% of men and 23.8% of women. This is a marked increase from the 1993 figures of 13.2% for men and 16.4% for women
  • The percentage of the population classed as overweight (including obese) has increased from 57.6% (1993) to 67.1% (2013) in men and from 48.6% to 57.2% in women.
  • The worldwide prevalence of obesity has more than doubled between 1980 and 2014. (
  • In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. That's 39% (38% of men and 40% of women) of the world's adult population
  • Of these over 600 million were obese, about 13% (11% of men and 15% of women) of the world’s adult population .
  • Most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • Overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for global deaths. At least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese.
  • 44% of diabetes cases, 23% of ischaemic heart disease cases and between 7-41% of certain cancer cases are attributable to overweight and obesity.

2013-2015 Childhood Obesity Statistics

  • The number of children who are obese is growing and has more than tripled in England over the past 25 years
  • The proportion of obese children leaving primaryhas been steadily increasing from 17.5% (2006/07) to 18.9% (2012/13) to 19.1% (2015) (


One plan by the authorities to reverse this childhood obesity trend is for councils to ban food takeways in a bid to stop children eating junk food. Read Dr Ashton's thoughts on this radical plan

Weight Loss Surgery as a Treatment for Obesity 

Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) is the most popular form of obesity surgery in Europe and Australia. LAGB is gaining popularity in the USA where bypass has traditionally been the preferred operation.

On average gastric band patients will lose 50-60% of their excess weight. Gastric bypass patients will lose 70% of their excess weight*.

Obesity surgery resolves type 2 diabetes in about 80% of patients – a remarkable outcome in itself.

  • The number of bariatric surgery procedures performed on the NHS is growing; 
  • In 2013-14, 3,390 adults aged 45 to 64 underwent inpatient bariatric surgery procedures, according to latest figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre
  • Adults aged 45 to 54 had the highest number of bariatric surgery procedures (2,218)
  • Women account for the majority of bariatric surgery procedures; 4,820 procedures were recorded for women, compared to 1,560 for men.


Future Obesity Trends

Fruit and vegetable consumption: the 5-a-day programme is part of a preventative strategy aimed at improving diet and nutrition in the general population. Only 25% of UK men and 28% of UK women reportedly consumed 5 portions daily. Consumption is lowest in the 16-24 group (17% men and 18% women).

Healthier Weight Statistics 2011

  • Over 90% of Healthier Weight patients have been on 3 or more diets before they consider obesity surgery
  • Over 90% of Healthier Weight patients have lost weight in the past only to regain all the weight they have lost – and more
  • Almost 85% of patients blame themselves for their weight, thinking it is a failure of “willpower”
  • The most common complaints from patients are low self esteem, breathless on exertion and lack of mobility
  • If asked >60% of women that have given birth complain of urinary incontinence. Unasked only 5% volunteer the information 

Healthier Weight Surgery Related Statistics

  • Professor Franco Favretti performed the first gastric band operation in the UK via a single incision on 14 February 2009
  • Professor Franco Favretti was part of the team that developed and implanted the first ever band in September 1993 and is widely regarded as “the father of lap band surgery” having defined the technique in use today
  • Healthier Weight surgeons have performed over 15,000 obesity surgery operations with ZERO mortality
  • Average gastric band slippage rate is approximately 4%. Healthier Weight’s average band slippage rate is approximately 1%


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*Weight loss surgery results and benefits vary and are different for each individual. As such, Healthier Weight cannot guarantee specific weight loss goals.