Quarter of adults in England are obese, new survey of public health shows: statistical press release
Around a quarter of adults in England were obese in 2021, according to the latest Health Survey for England.1
The report also found that around half of adults (49%) drank alcohol at least once a week, and about one in eight (12%) were current cigarette smokers.
Published by NHS Digital, the Health Survey for England, 2021 reports on the nation’s health and surveyed 5,880 adults about a variety of topics including cigarette smoking, e-cigarette use and alcohol consumption.1
For most of 2021, interviews were carried out by telephone, rather than in person because of COVID-19 pandemic precautions. As a result of these changes in data collection, findings from 2021 are not directly comparable with those from previous years.
Figures for 2021 show that 26% of adults in England were obese2 - with obesity increasing with age from 8% of adults aged 16-24 to 32% of those aged 65-74.
Obesity prevalence2 was lowest among adults living in the least deprived areas (20%) and highest in the most deprived areas (34%).
11% of adults who were obese reported that they had received a diagnosis of diabetes from a doctor, compared with 5% of overweight2 adults and 3% of those who were neither overweight nor obese.
A higher proportion of men were either overweight or obese (69%) compared with women (59%).
12% of adults were current cigarette smokers. Two-thirds of adults (66%) had never regularly smoked. More men (13%) than women (10%) reported that they currently smoked.
5% of all adults were defined as current e-cigarette3 users.
16% of current smokers also currently used e-cigarettes as did 13% of ex-regular smokers, but only 1% of those who had never smoked cigarettes.
79% of participants reported that they had drunk alcohol in the last 12 months, and
49% reported that they drank alcohol at least once a week. A higher proportion of men than women drank alcohol.
Men were more likely than women to drink at increasing or higher risk levels4; 28% of men and 15% of women usually drank more than 14 units of alcohol a week.
The Health Survey for England is commissioned by NHS Digital and carried out by the National Centre for Social Research in conjunction with UCL, which co-authors the report.
Read the full report : Health Survey for England, 2021
Notes for editors
The Health Survey for England series provides information about adults aged 16 and over, and children aged 0 to 15, living in private households in England. It estimates the proportion of people in England who have health conditions and the prevalence of risk factors and behaviours associated with certain health conditions and how prevalence varies within the population. The surveys provide regular information that cannot be obtained from other sources. A total of 5,880 adults (aged 16 and over) and 1,240 children were interviewed in the 2021 survey. Findings about children are not included because of low sample numbers within different age groups. The sample is designed to represent the whole population as accurately as possible within practical constraints, such as time and cost. Consequently, statistics based on the survey are estimates, rather than precise figures, and are subject to a margin of error. The sample who take part in the survey is weighted to provide statistics that are representative of the population. For further details see the methods report.
This has been measured using Body Mass Index (BMI) defined as weight in kilograms divided by the height in metres squared (kg/m2). This allows for differences in weight due to height. In the HSE series a BMI of 30kg/m2 or more is classified as obese and a BMI of 25kg/m2 as overweight or obese. Due to most of the 2021 survey’s interviews taking place on the telephone, it was not possible to directly measure participants’ height. Instead, participants were asked about their height and weight during the telephone interview. In previous years, participants were measured by interviewers. The estimates of overweight and obesity were produced by applying adjustments to these self-reported values of height and weight in order to more accurately predict measured height and weight. Studies have shown that adults tend to overestimate height and underestimate weight compared with measured values. Further details are in the Health Survey for England, 2021 and in Health Survey for England predicting height, weight and body mass index from self-reported data.
The publication uses the term e-cigarette to refer to e-cigarettes and vaping devices.
One unit of alcohol is 10ml by volume of pure alcohol. Measures of usual weekly consumption are presented in line with the current guidelines for sensible drinking
- Lower risk (up to 14 units for men and women)
- Increasing risk (above 14 and up to 50 units for men, above 14 and up to 35 units for women)
- Higher risk (above 50 units a week for men, above 35 units for women).
Original article link: https://digital.nhs.uk/news/2022/health-survey-for-england-2021
Latest News from
Events to help shape future of IT systems at the heart of the NHS15/02/2023 14:25:00
IT professionals across health and social care are being invited to have their say over future plans for the IT systems that underpin the NHS
Electronic prescriptions reach one billion a year09/02/2023 12:10:00
The Electronic Prescription Service is now the default method for prescribing and dispensing prescriptions in primary care in England, with almost one billion prescription items dispensed electronically in the last 12 months.
Scarlet fever among NHS website’s top ten most searched for conditions in 202201/02/2023 12:05:00
Latest figures show there were an estimated 2.6 million visits a day to the health website last year, with chickenpox and monkeypox among those seeing big increases
New cyber security resources available online as part of Keep I.T. Confidential campaign24/01/2023 12:25:00
NHS Digital’s security awareness toolkit, Keep I.T. Confidential, has been updated with additional cyber security resources to help support clinical settings and social care organisations to improve security culture within their workplace.
New online community launched to support health tech professionals05/01/2023 12:05:00
A new online tech community has been launched by NHS Digital, aimed at supporting those working to integrate systems with national healthcare services.
NHS App hits over 30 million sign-ups04/01/2023 09:10:00
Over seven million new sign-ups to the NHS App in 2022 as registered users top 30 million. New features added last year will enable users to receive notifications from their GPs and view and manage their hospital appointments, with healthcare information now at their fingertips.
NHS App hits over 30 million sign-ups02/01/2023 10:17:00
Over seven million new sign-ups to the NHS App in 2022 as total sign ups top 30 million
NHS website’s heartburn advice viewed once every 13 seconds at Christmas23/12/2022 11:10:00
There are an estimated 13,200 visits to the website page during Christmas Day and Boxing Day – equivalent to one view every 13 seconds.