Six in ten adults above a healthy weight according to Better Health campaign

Six in ten adults above a healthy weight

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.

According to Public Health England’s “Better Health” campaign, 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.

People living with obesity are twice as likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19 and COVID-19 patients with obesity are more likely to be admitted to intensive care, require advanced treatment, and potentially have poorer outcomes. By reducing your weight within a healthy range, you can help cut your risk of being critically ill with COVID19

And the Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy. It divides an adult's weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared. For example, A BMI of 25 means 25kg/m2.

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.

Better Health is a ground-breaking new adult health campaign that provides an opportunity for the nation to reset and introduce healthy changes. For many, the past few months have been a wake-up call, with people realising how precious their health is and recognising that it is time to get back on track.

Better Health fact file

Better Health is a ground-breaking new adult health campaign from Public Health England that provides an opportunity for the nation to reset and introduce healthy changes but, did you know that:

  • Almost seven in ten men in England are overweight or living with obesity (67%) and six out of ten women are overweight or living with obesity
  • 34% of men and 48% of women have a very high waist measurement, indicating central obesity
  • 34% of men and 42% of women are not active enough for good health, by not doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week
  • Obesity reduces life expectancy by an average of 4.2 years for men and 3.5 years for women
  • An NHSE report on diabetes and COVID-19 found that deaths in people with diabetes in England have more than doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic

Information on Better Health

To support people to live healthier lives, the brand-new Better Health webpage from Public Health England is available at nhs.uk/BetterHealth

It provides tools to help people manage their weight loss – from checking their BMI, to getting access to free support tools including the NHS 12-week weight loss plan.

The NHS 12-week weight loss plan, available both online and via a new app, promotes evidence based safe and sustainable weight loss. It helps users to make healthier choices, by providing the most up to date evidence based advice on such things as physical activity in a magazine format that enables you to keep track of calorie intake, portions of fruit and veg, physical activity level and teaches skills to prevent weight gain.


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1Health Survey for England 2018

2Health Survey for England 2016

3NICE recommendations Preventing type 2 diabetes: risk identification and interventions for individuals at high risk

Published on 21 August 2020