Overweight and obesity statistics

Excess bodyweight

Cancer cases linked to excess bodyweight, UK

Adults

Adults overweight or obese, UK

Overweight and obesity is associated with increased risk of several cancers, including uterine, kidney, oesophageal, gallbladder, bowel, pancreas and breast cancers.

Incidence of some overweight- and obesity-related cancers including uterine, kidney and bowel cancer is increasing, at least partly due to increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity. Cancer incidence is expected to rise further if current trends in overweight and obesity prevalence persist.[1]

Overweight and obesity are leading risk factors for death in the world.[2] Obesity caused an estimated 6% of deaths in England in 1998;[3] this proportion has likely increased as the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased.[4] Overweight and obesity causes a (conservatively) estimated 5% of cancer cases in the UK each year.[5]

Last reviewed:

Around 6 in 10 (59-64%) adults in the UK’s constituent countries are overweight or obese by body mass index (BMI) (2012).[1-4] 64-68% of males and 53-60% of females in the UK’s constituent countries are overweight or obese.

Overweight and Obesity Prevalence, Adults Aged 16 and Over, Countries of the UK, 2012

    England (2012) Wales (2012) Scotland (2012) Northern Ireland (2011-2012)
Males Overweight 42 41 42 42
Obese 24 23 27 25
Overweight or obese 67 64 68 67
Females Overweight 32 30 33 34
Obese 25 23 28 22
Overweight or obese 57 53 60 56
Persons Overweight 37 36 37 37
Obese 25 23 27 23
Overweight or obese 62 59 64 60

Data collection periods, methods and definitions vary between UK constituent countries (see original sources for further information), so comparison between these countries is not recommended.

Last reviewed:

Prevalence of overweight and obesity among adults in the UK’s constituent countries increases until mid-late adulthood and then decreases slightly in the elderly (2012).[1-4]

Sex differences in overweight and obesity prevalence are most pronounced in middle-aged adults.

Overweight and Obesity Prevalence, by Age, Countries of the UK

Data collection periods, methods and definitions vary between UK constituent countries (see original sources for further information), so comparison between these countries is not possible.
Last reviewed:

Prevalence of overweight and obesity among adults (aged 16 and over) in England has increased since the early 1990s.[1] Prevalence of overweight and obesity has been higher in males than females throughout this period.

Overweight and Obesity Prevalence, Adults Aged 16 and Over, England, 1993-2012

Overweight and obesity prevalence data are not adjusted for population characteristics including age and ethnicity, which have also changed over time; so comparison over time should be made with caution.

Last reviewed:

Prevalence of overweight and obesity among women in England is higher in those from lower-income households, while in men there is no significant association with household income (2012).[1]

Overweight and Obesity Prevalence, by Equivalised Household Income, Adults Aged 16 and Over, England, 2012

Last reviewed:

Prevalence of overweight and obesity varies by ethnic group in England (2004).[1]

Overweight and Obesity Prevalence, by Ethnic Group, Adults Aged 16 and Over, England, 2004

The accuracy of BMI as an indicator of overweight- and obesity-related health outcomes may vary by ethnicity, so comparison between groups should be made with caution.[REF2-6]

References

  1. Health and Social Care Information Centre. Health Survey for England 2004: The Health of Minority Ethnic Groups – headline tables. Accessed October 2014.
  2. Goacher PJ, Lamber R, Moffatt PG. Can weight-related health risk be more accurately assessed by BMI, or by gender specific calculations of Percentage Body Fatness? Med Hypotheses 2012; 79(5):656-62.
  3. Deurenberg P, Deurenberg-Yap M, Guricci S. Asians are different from Caucasians and from each other in their body mass index/ body fat per cent relationship. Obesity Reviews 2002; 3(3):141-146.
  4. Zwierzchowska A, Grabara M, Palica D et al. BMI and BAI as markers of obesity in a Caucasian population. Obes Facts 2013; 6(6):507-511.
  5. Deurenberg-Yap M, Schmidt M, Van Staveren WA, et al. The paradox of low body mass index and high body fat percentage among Chinese, Malays and Indians in Singapore. Int J Obes & Rel Meta Dis 2000;24(8):1011-1018.
  6. National Obesity Observatory. Obesity and ethnicity. Accessed October 2014
Last reviewed:

Worldwide cancer incidence and mortality reflects prevalence of overweight and obesity, among other factors.

Worldwide more than 1.4 billion adults (aged 20 and over) were overweight or obese in 2008.[1] Almost a third of these were obese – that is more than 10% of the world’s adult population.[1] Worldwide more than 40 million children (aged under 5) were overweight in 2012.[1]

Overweight and obesity prevalence varies widely around the world. In all high-income and most middle-income countries, overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. Overweight and obesity kills 3.4 million adults worldwide each year.[1]

Worldwide prevalence of obesity has nearly doubled since 1980, with overweight and obesity increasingly particularly in low- and middle-income countries.[1]

Last reviewed:

Local Cancer Statistics

Find and compare local statistics and information in the UK by healthboard, Local Authority or postcode.

Cancer Statistics Explained

See information and explanations on terminology used for statistics and reporting of cancer, and the methods used to calculate some of our statistics.

Citation

You are welcome to reuse this Cancer Research UK statistics content for your own work.

Credit us as authors by referencing Cancer Research UK as the primary source. Suggested styles are:

Web content: Cancer Research UK, full URL of the page, Accessed [month] [year]. 

Publications: Cancer Research UK ([year of publication]), Name of publication, Cancer Research UK. 

Rate this page:

Currently rated: 2.7 out of 5 based on 6 votes
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think

Share this page