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More than one in four UK adults are obese, health survey finds

More than one in four UK adults are obese, health survey finds

A quarter (26%) of adults in England were obese in 2021, with rates higher among men, older people, and those in more deprived areas, a report from the Health Survey for England has shown.

The survey of 5,880 adults was conducted via telephone interviews, due to the Covid-19 pandemic,  for most of 2021 about a variety of topics including cigarette smoking, e-cigarette use and alcohol consumption.

The Health Survey for England report, published today by NHS Digital, showed that obesity rates increased with age, with just 8% of adults aged 16-24 being classed as obese, compared to 32% of those aged 65-74.

The prevalence of obesity was highest among adults living in the most deprived areas, at 34%, compared to 20% in the least deprived areas, and a higher proportion of men were either overweight or obese (69%) compared to 59% of women.

Among adults who were obese, 11% reported that they had received a diagnosis of diabetes from a doctor, compared to 5% of adults who were classed as overweight and 3% of those who were neither overweight or obese.More

The Health Survey for England report also found that 12% of adults in England smoked, with more men (13%) than women (10%) reporting that they currently smoked.

Of these current smokers, 16% also currently used e-cigarettes as did 13% of ex-regular smokers.

Two-thirds of adults (66%) had never regularly smoked, and only 1% of those who had never smoked cigarettes currently used e-cigarettes.

The survey also asked participants about their alcohol consumption – 79% of participants reported that they had drunk alcohol in the last 12 months, while 49% reported that they drank alcohol at least once a week.

The report also found that men were more likely than women to drink at increasing or higher risk levels, with 28% of men compared to 15% of women saying that they usually drank more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

A version of this story first appeared in The Pharmacist 

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