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Fact: Almost a quarter of the UK population over 16 years old are obese. - NHS UK stats 2010
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UK Key Facts & Statistics from the NHS

In 2008, almost a quarter of adults (24% of men and 25% of women aged 16 or over) in England were classified as obese (BMI 30kg/m2 or over).

A greater proportion of men than women (42% compared with 32%) in England were classified as overweight in 2008 (BMI 25 to less than 30kg/m2).

Thirty-nine per cent of adults had a raised waist circumference in 2008 compared to 23% in 1993. Women were more likely then men (44% and 34% respectively) to have a raised waist circumference (over 88cm for women and over 102 cm for men).

Using both BMI and waist circumference to assess risk of health problems, for men: 20% were estimated to be at increased risk; 14% at high risk and 21% at very high risk in 2008. Equivalent figures for women were: 15% at increased risk; 17% at high risk
and 24% at very high risk.

In 2008, 16.8% of boys aged 2 to 15, and 15.2% of girls were classed as obese, an increase from 11.1% and 12.2% respectively in 1995. Whilst there have been marked increases in the prevalence of obesity since 1995, the prevalence of overweight children aged 2 to 15 has remained largely unchanged (values were 14.6% in boys and 14.0% in girls in 2008).

For boys, on weekdays, the proportion who spent 4 or more hours doing sedentary activities was 35% of those who were not overweight or obese, 44% of those classed as overweight and 47% of those classed as obese in 2008. For girls, a comparable pattern was found; 37%, 43% and 51% respectively.

Physical Activity
Overall, according to self-reported measures, physical activity has increased among both men and women since 1997, with 39% of men and 29% of women meeting the recommended levels in 2008 (at least 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity activity at least 5 times a week) compared with 32% and 21% respectively in 1997.

Accelerometers are devices capable of providing an objective measure of physical activity. Accelerometry data for adults shows that in 2008, those who were not overweight or obese spent fewer minutes on average in sedentary time (591 minutes for men, 577 minutes for women) than those who were obese (612 minutes for men, 585 minutes for women).

In 2008, boys aged 2 to 15 were more likely than girls to meet the recommended levels of physical activity with 32% of boys and 24% of girls reporting taking part in 60 minutes or more of physical activity on each of the seven days in the previous week.

Almost two thirds of children who had attended school, nursery or playgroup in the last week had walked to or from school on at least one day in the last week (63% of boys and 65% of girls) in 2008.

Among boys aged 2 to10, more met the physical activity recommendations for children if their parents did so for adults. Among girls, the activity level of parents made relatively little difference to the proportion meeting recommendations, but those who had parents with low activity levels were considerably more likely to be in the low activity category themselves.

In 2008, 25% of men and 29% of women reported meeting the government ‘5 a day’ guidelines of consuming five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

In 2008, around 1 in 5 children aged 5 to 15 consumed five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day (19% of boys and 20% of girls).

In 2008, in the UK, there was a reduction in the quantities purchased in most major food groups. For example, purchases of fresh fruit fell by 7.7% between 2007 and 2008 and fresh green vegetables fell by 9.6%.

Energy intake is on a downward trend; total energy intake for 2008 was 2,276 kcal per person per day, a decrease of 1.9% from the previous year.

Health Outcomes
In 2007, among adults aged 16 and over, overweight or obese men and women were more likely to have high blood pressure than those in the normal weight group; high blood pressure was recorded in 47% of men and 44% of women in the obese group, compared with 32% of overweight men and women and 16% of men and women in the normal weight group.

The number of Finished Admission Episodes (FAEs) in NHS hospitals with a primary diagnosis of obesity among people of all ages was 7,988 in 2008/09. This is over eight times as high as the number in 1998/99 (954) and nearly 60% higher than in 2007/08 (5,018).

The number of Finished Consultant Episodes (FCEs) with a primary diagnosis of obesity and a main or secondary procedure of ‘bariatric surgery’ among people of all ages in 2008/09 was 4,221, more than double the number in 2006/07 (1,951) and 55% higher than in 2007/08 (2,724).

In 2008, the number of prescription items dispensed for the treatment of obesity was 1.28 million; this is ten times the number in 1999 (127 thousand).

Other Useful Links
Wikipedia article on maintaining a healthy diet
UK Government advice on eating healthily

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