Obesity - How common is obesity?
BMJ Group Medical Reference
Obesity is common in adults and children.
About half the adults in England and Wales are overweight. About one-quarter are obese. The number of obese people in England and Wales has nearly trebled since 1980.
Obesity is more common in certain groups of people.
Obesity is slightly more common in women than in men.
It's especially common in South Asian and Afro-Caribbean people.
People from all backgrounds can get obese. But obesity is more common in people with lower incomes.
Many children also have serious weight problems.
Compared with 1990, more children now fall into the category of being overweight or obese. About 19 in 100 boys and 18 in 100 girls aged between 2 and 15 are obese.
To find out more about helping children keep to a healthy weight, see Weight problems in children.
If your body stores more energy than you need, this can make you overweight. The excess energy is stored in your fat cells. If your weight goes above a certain level, doctors call this obesity. Obesity is considered a medical condition. The excess weight can be a strain on your bones and joints. And if you are obese, you're more likely to get other diseases. Doctors have developed a scale for telling how much excess weight you have. This measure, called the body mass index (BMI), depends on your height.
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