Obesity - The Scale of the Problem

Obesity is a complex issue. In England, one in three children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school and this rises to two in three in adulthood. Not only does this impact on the individual and their health and wellbeing, it also impacts our society.

After smoking, obesity is the leading cause of heart disease, some cancers and Type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that the UK cost of obesity to the NHS stands at £6.1 billion a year and the cost to the wider economy is £27 billion annually.

Obesity is a serious issue and the government has committed to tackling it, with PHE playing a prominent role in the challenge.

Excess calorie consumption is the root cause of the obesity crisis. Overweight or obese children consume up to 500 extra calories per day, depending on their age and sex, while adults consume between 200 and 300 calories too many.