Only a third of men in England now fall within the healthy weight range, according to new figures from the NHS, with the majority overweight or obese.
24% of men are now considered obese
Statistics show that the proportion of men considered a healthy weight dropped from 41% in 1993 to 34% in 2011. 24% of men are now considered obese, compared with 13% in 1993.
In the same time period, the number of women considered a healthy weight dropped from 50% in 1993 to 39% in 2011. 26% of women are now considered obese, compared with 16% in 1993.
This increase is reflected in the number of hospital admissions for obesity. In 2011/12 there were 11,740 admissions for obesity, which is three times higher than in 2006/7 and 11 times higher than in 2001/2.
The majority of these admissions were for obesity surgery, with four times as many procedures carried out than in 2006/7.
Amy Thompson, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "These figures hold a mirror to the state of the country's health – and it is not a flattering reflection. The number of people who are overweight or obese is steadily climbing and unhealthy lifestyle choices are helping us along this path.”
Unhealthy lifestyle choices include lack of exercise. In 2011-12, just 36% of adults took part in some sort of moderate-intensity sporting activity at least once a week for 30 minutes. Amy Thompson said:
“After our Olympic year, it is a sad fact that only a third of us manage 30 minutes of physical activity once a week, when we should all be aiming for 150 minutes every week to keep our hearts healthy."
Poor diet is also contributing to the obesity crisis. In 2011, only 24% of men and 29% of women ate the recommended five helpings of fruit and veg a day. Purchases of fruit were 4.1% lower than in 2008, and purchases for fresh green vegetables were 6.6% lower.
But at the same time, price of fruit and veg has increased. Consumers spent 8.1% more on vegetables and 6.8% more on fruit in 2011 than in 2008.
Diane Abbott, shadow public health minister, said: "These figures show British children and families paying the cost of this government’s total lack of leadership on this growing crisis, which is storing up huge problems and costs for our NHS, and for the country."
Many medical insurance providers offer discounted gym membership in order to encourage their customers to stay healthy. If you are overweight or obese, you may find your health insurance premiums are slightly higher because you are more of a risk to the insurer.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013