Obesity in adults and children

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Adult obesity woman overweight mirror
Obesity is becoming more and more of a problem in the UK, as 1 in 5 adults are now obese. And it's affecting kids too - 1 in 3 10-year-olds are overweight or obese.

Here we've put together all our information on obesity including its causes and why you shouldn't ignore it. We've also gathered the best diet and exercise advice to help you lose weight if you need to and you'll also find our obesity-related news stories.

Am I obese?

The easiest way to work out if you need to lose weight is by working out your BMI. This stands for body mass index and is a way of checking if you're a healthy weight in relation to your height. Work out your BMI using our calculator.
  • A BMI of under 18.5 is underweight
  • 18.5 - 24.9 is healthy
  • 25. - 29.9 is overweight
  • 30 and over is obese.

Note: Remember that BMI doesn't work if you're pregnant, breastfeeding, over 60 or for people who do weight-training or have long-term health conditions. It also far more complicated for kids.

Are my kids obese?

It's difficult to tell if your kids are overweight using BMI, as their age and sex needs to be taken into account. However, the NHS have a BMI calculator that can be used for adults and kids as well. You'll need to have accurate measurements of your kids' height and weight.

Some schools are now following a national child measurement programme which means that they weigh children aged 4,5,10 and 11 - and you'll get a letter if your child falls into the overweight category on the BMI scale. However, not all schools are implementing this yet, so it's still worth checking your kids' weight yourself.

Why should I be worried?

Being obese isn't just about how you look - it can have a serious effect on your health too. Obesity is linked to diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

What can I do about it?

Eating sensibly and getting exercise is the way to tackle obesity. Try our healthy eating recipes and our healthy family recipes.

You could also choose to follow one of our diets, we've got over 80!

Don't let the thought of vigorous exercise put you off - whatever your fitness levels are now, you can start slowly with our easy exercise ideas. And if you spend all day sat at a desk, try these 10 ways to keep fit at work.

Some people who are extremely obese might consider other weight-loss options, such as surgery. Get the facts on gastric bands and find out if one could help you. 

Expert advice

Dr Rana Conway's tips on tackling obesity in kids
Struggling on your diet? Take a look at our diet expert help page

Related news story

June 2009: Cancer could be prevented by losing weight 

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