About 1 in 4 adults in the UK are obeseThe problem - overweight and obesity

Over half of people in Britain are overweight or obese, and about 1 in 4 adults is obese. Being very overweight (obese) increases the risk of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and some cancers. Ideally it is better to avoid becoming overweight by eating sensibly and exercising regularly and maintaining this throughout life. But problems with weight gain are common so here is some information to help you lose weight sensibly and healthily.

Your body weight is determined by the amount of energy obtained from your food compared to the amount of energy that your body is using. The surplus energy you take in from food and drink is mostly stored as fat. To lose weight, the energy you take in from food must be less than the energy you use, in other words eat less and exercise more.

There are no ‘wonder’ diets or foods which can cause weight loss. Neither can ‘wonder’ diets cause weight loss from a particular part of your body. Weight loss occurs in the areas where fat has been stored - usually on the hips and thighs in women, and around the stomach in men. Being fat around the waist (‘apple-shaped’) may be more harmful to health than having fat on the hips and thighs (‘pear-shaped’).

To see if you have a healthy weight you can use a measurement called your Body Mass Index, or BMI. This is calculated as follows:

Your weight in kilograms (kg) divided by your height in metres (m) squared

So for example, a woman that is 1.60m tall and weighs 60kg would have a BMI of 23.4   (The calculation would be: 60 divided by 1.6, and then the answer divided by 1.6 again).

A BMI between 18.5 and 25 is defined as healthy.
A BMI of over 25 is defined as overweight.
A BMI of over 30 is defined as obese.