Overweight adults

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • in the year to November 2020, 62.8% of adults (people aged 18 and over) were overweight or obese, a similar percentage to the previous year (62.3%)

  • 67.5% of Black adults were overweight or obese – the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups

  • 32.2% of adults from the Chinese ethnic group were overweight or obese – the lowest percentage out of all ethnic groups

  • percentages were broadly similar to those from the year ending November 2016 for all ethnic groups – this was except for White British people, where it went up from 62.0% to 63.7%, and for Black people, where it went down from 72.8% to 67.5%

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data shows the percentage of adults (people aged 18 and older) in England who were overweight or obese, by ethnicity.

People were asked for their height and weight. These figures were used to determine their BMI. This indicates if a person is overweight or obese.

A BMI of:

  • 25 or more is classed as overweight
  • 30 or more is classed as obese

Data is rounded to 1 decimal point.

Not included in the data

16 and 17 year olds have been removed from this analysis to be consistent with the NHS healthy weight calculator.

How BMI is calculated

The metric formula for working out someone’s body mass index (BMI) is their weight in kilograms divided by their height in metres squared.

The ethnic groups used in the data

Estimates are shown for 7 ethnic groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Chinese
  • Mixed
  • White British
  • White Other
  • Other

People whose ethnicity was not known are included in the ‘All’ group and are not shown separately in the charts and tables.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document for this data.

The figures on this page are based on survey data. Find out more about:

People often underestimate their weight and overestimate their height. This means their self-reported body mass index (BMI) is known to be lower than it actually is. The data adjusts for this bias by using a formula based on observations from several years of the Health Survey for England, which included both self-reported and clinically-measured BMI figures.

In the data file

See Download the data for unrounded data.

3. By ethnicity over time

Percentage of adults who were overweight or obese, by ethnicity over time
2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20
Ethnicity 2015/16 % 2015/16 Number of respondents 2016/17 % 2016/17 Number of respondents 2017/18 % 2017/18 Number of respondents 2018/19 % 2018/19 Number of respondents 2019/20 % 2019/20 Number of respondents
All 61.3 170,273 61.3 166,213 62.0 151,677 62.3 152,979 62.8 149,476
Asian 57.9 6,018 56.3 6,142 57.0 4,890 56.2 5,254 59.7 5,781
Black 72.8 1,998 69.0 1,987 72.8 1,654 73.6 1,634 67.5 1,730
Chinese 36.0 857 31.5 873 34.5 741 35.3 799 32.2 837
Mixed 54.6 1,529 57.3 1,616 58.5 1,568 57.0 1,654 59.6 1,755
White British 62.0 146,869 62.3 142,038 62.9 129,957 63.3 131,104 63.7 127,113
White other 57.0 8,610 57.6 8,678 57.8 8,340 58.1 8,262 58.0 8,281
Other 58.5 1,191 59.5 1,084 58.3 972 52.6 1,018 61.2 1,118

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Overweight adults By ethnicity over time Summary

The data shows that:

  • in the year to November 2020, 62.8% of adults (people aged 18 and over) in England were overweight or obese

  • 67.5% of Black adults were overweight or obese – the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups

  • White British adults were more likely than average to be overweight or obese (63.7%)

  • 32.2% of adults from the Chinese ethnic group were overweight or obese – the lowest percentage out of all ethnic groups

  • the percentage of adults from the Asian (59.7%), Other White (58.0%) and Mixed (59.6%) ethnic groups who were overweight or obese was lower than average

  • the percentage of adults in the Other ethnic group (61.2%) who were overweight or obese was similar to the national average

  • percentages were broadly similar to those from the year ending November 2016 for all ethnic groups – this was except for White British people, where it went up from 62.0% to 63.7%, and for Black people, where it went down from 72.8% to 67.5%

  • any increases or decreases in other ethnic groups are not reliable because the numbers involved are too small to make reliable generalisations

4. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Sport England

Note on corrections or updates

Data is published twice a year. It uses survey responses collected in the 12 months to May, and the 12 months to November each year. The figures on this page are based on the data collected in the 12 months to November.

Publication frequency

Twice a year

Purpose of data source

The Active Lives Survey measures the number of people aged 16 and over who take part in sport and physical activity.

This data informs the government’s strategy on physical activity, Sporting Future, which looks at 5 aspects of physical activity:

  • physical well-being
  • mental well-being
  • individual development
  • social and community development
  • economic development

Secondary source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Public Health England

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The Public Health Outcomes Framework examines indicators that help government, health researchers and practitioners, understand trends in public health.

5. Download the data

Overweight Adults - Spreadsheet (csv) 9 KB

This file contains the following variables: Measure, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_Type, Time, Time_Type, Geography, Geography_Type, Geography_Code, Gender, Age, Value, Value_Type, Denominator, Confidence intervals