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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet - England, 2006

Official statistics, National statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Geographical Granularity:
Local Authorities, Regions, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Clinical Commissioning Area Teams, Clinical Commissioning Regions, Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships, Deprivation
Date Range:
01 Jan 2002 to 31 Mar 2006


This is a new statistical bulletin which presents for the first time a range of information on obesity, physical activity and diet, drawn together from a variety of sources. The topics covered include:

  • overweight and obesity prevalence among adults and children
  • physical activity levels among adults and children
  • trends in purchases and consumption of food and drink, and energy intake
  • health outcomes of being obese
  • hospital admissions and prescriptions dispensed related to obesity.

The bulletin also summarises government plans and targets in this area, as well as providing sources of further information and links to relevant documents.



  • In England, the proportion of men classed as obese increased from 13.2 per cent in 1993 to 23.1 per cent in 2005 and from 16.4 per cent to 24.8 per cent for women during the same period. There was no significant change in the proportion of adults who were overweight;
  • In 2003, ex-regular cigarette smokers were more likely to be obese than current smokers and those that have never smoked;
  • In 2004, among ethnic minority groups, Black Caribbean and Irish men had the highest prevalence of obesity (25 per cent each). For women, obesity prevalence was higher for Black African (38 per cent), Black Caribbean (32 per cent) and Pakistani ethnic groups (28 per cent) and lower for Chinese women (8 per cent), than for women in the general population;
  • In 2002, the direct cost of treating obesity was estimated at between 45.8 and 49.0 million and between 945 million and 1,075 million for treating the consequences of obesity;
  • Obese women are almost 13 times more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes than non- obese women, whilst obese men are nearly 5 times more likely to develop the illness;
  • In England in 2005/06 there were 2,749 Finished Consultant Episodes (FCEs) with a primary diagnosis of obesity, compared to 787 FCEs in 1996/97. Where there was a secondary diagnosis of obesity, in 2005/06 there were 62,708 FCEs compared with 21,257 in 1996/97;
  • In 2005, almost 871,000 prescriptions items were dispensed for the treatment of obesity compared with just over 127,000 prescriptions in 1999 (an increase of 585 per cent);
  • Among boys and girls aged 2 to 15, the proportion who were obese increased from 10.9 per cent in 1995 to 18.0 per cent in 2005 among boys, and from 12.0 per cent to 18.1 per cent among girls. For those aged 2 to 10, the increase over the same period was from 9.6 per cent to 16.6 per cent for boys and 10.3 per cent to 16.7 per cent for girls.

Physical activity

  • In England in 2004, 35 per cent of men and 24 per cent of women reported achieving the physical activity recommendations for adults (at least 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity activity at least 5 times a week);
  • In 2005, the main reasons for adults not participating in active sports during the last year, is that their health isn't good enough (50 per cent) followed by difficulty in finding the time (18 per cent) and not being interested (15 per cent);
  • In 2002, 70 per cent of boys and 61 per cent of girls met current physical activity guidelines for children (achieving 60 minutes or more on 7 days a week);
  • During 2005/06, 80 per cent of pupils took part in at least two hours of high quality PE and sport a week.


  • In the United Kingdom, total energy intake fell by approximately 20 per cent between 1974 and 2004;
  • For both men and women in England the proportion who consumed 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day increased between 2001 and 2005, rising from 22 per cent to 26 per cent for men and 25 per cent to 30 per cent for women. This includes an increase from 27 per cent in 2004 to 30 per cent in 2005 for women;
  • In 2005, 17 per cent of both boys and girls aged 5 to 15 consumed at least 5 portions a day, compared with between 10 per cent and 13 per cent in 2001 to 2004.


Last edited: 8 February 2022 12:30 pm