All-Party Parliamentary Group On Obesity

Facts About Obesity

Obesity, as defined by the World Health Organisation, is abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health.

A crude measure of obesity is the body mass index (BMI), a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of his or her height (in metres). A person with a BMI of 30 or more is generally considered obese. 

Obesity is considered a major risk factor for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

According to research by the House of Commons Library:

Key facts about obesity according to the World Health Organisation: 

  • Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
  • In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million had obesity.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13% had obesity.
  • Most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or had obesity in 2014.
  • Obesity is preventable.

The impartial House of Commons Library has published a 'key issues' briefing on obesity, which is available here. 

It has also published a full statistics briefing, available here.