Two thirds of UK adults overweight or obese

According to the government’s Better Health campaign, launched during the summer, nearly two thirds (63%) of adults in the UK are overweight or living with obesity1.

Gaining weight is often a gradual process that takes place over several years, and modern life doesn’t always make it easy. This extra weight causes pressure to build up around vital organs, making it harder for the body to fight against diseases like cancer, heart disease and now COVID-19.

By reducing your weight to within a healthy range, you can help cut your risk of being critically ill with COVID-19. To improve health and wellbeing, individuals should aim to have a BMI below 25 and above 18.52. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME) should aim to have a BMI below 23 and above 18.5 to avoid risks to health3.

And there is a link between being overweight and type 2 diabetes. Around 90% of people with diabetes in the UK have type 2. This is where the insulin your pancreas makes can’t work properly, or your pancreas can’t make enough insulin. This means your blood glucose (sugar) levels keep rising. We all need insulin to live. It does an essential job. It allows the glucose in our blood to enter our cells and fuel our bodies.

When you have type 2 diabetes, your body still breaks down carbohydrate from your food and drink and turns it into glucose.

The pancreas then responds to this by releasing insulin. But because this insulin can’t work properly, your blood sugar levels keep rising. This means more insulin is released. For some people with type 2 diabetes this can eventually tire the pancreas out, meaning their body makes less and less insulin. This can lead to even higher blood sugar levels and mean you are at risk of hyperglycaemia.

If left untreated, high sugar levels in your blood can seriously damage parts of your body, including your eyes, heart, and feet. These are called the complications of diabetes. But with the right treatment and care, you can live well with type 2 diabetes and reduce your risk of developing them.

While obesity is linked to type 2 diabetes, it should be noted that not everyone who has it is obese. There are other factors, like age, ethnicity and family history that play a role in our risk of type 2. These factors influence how well the liver and pancreas work and where we store our fat. We can’t change those things, but we can usually change our weight.

One of the treatments available is weight loss surgery but remember, everyone is different, so treatment will vary depending on your own individual needs.

Diabetes UK supports the NICE recommendations on bariatric surgical and procedural interventions in the treatment of obese patients with type 2 diabetes.

There have been lots of studies that have found that weight loss surgery can help put type 2 diabetes into remission; you can find more information on this and other aspects of Diabetes by visiting

Weight loss surgery webinar

As part of Benenden Hospital’s current series of treatment webinars, we’re running one on bariatric (weight loss) surgery on 23 January 2021 at 10 a.m.

Sign up now to see our Bariatric Surgeon, Mr Ahmed Hamouda, talk about this treatment which is available at Benenden Hospital to self-pay patents. Following the presentation, webinar viewers will have the opportunity to ask questions about the treatment.

Private weight loss procedures at Benenden Hospital

If you want to reduce the health risks associated with being overweight, increase your life expectancy and improve your mobility, we offer fast-track access to a range of permanent and reversible bariatric procedures in a comfortable and discreet environment.

For more information, or to book a consultation, complete our online form or call our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158.


1Health Survey for England 2018

2Health Survey for England 2016

3NICE recommendations 1–18 in Preventing type 2 diabetes: risk identification and interventions for individuals at high risk (public health guidance 38).

Published on 25 November 2020