PHE Obesity Publications

Latest Publications

Weight Management Economic Assessment Tool

This tool is designed to help public health professionals make an economic assessment of existing or planned weight management interventions. It will be useful to commissioners who wish to compare the costs of an intervention with potential cost savings it may produce. The tool has been developed by Public Health England in conjunction with a panel of experts.

Published April 2014

Obesity and disability - children and young people

This paper examines the evidence linking obesity and disability in children and young people. It looks at a range of impairments or health conditions associated with disability and explores the main obesity-related chronic health conditions that can develop during childhood and adolescence. It also highlights:

  • inequalities experienced by children and young people in relation to obesity and disability
  • implications for policy, practice and research
  • survey data on obesity and limiting long-term illness or disability

Published March 2014

Download: Obesity and disability - children and young people

Social and economic inequalities in diet and physical activity

This briefing paper describes social and economic inequalities associated with two of the key determinants of obesity - diet and physical activity. The paper also explores possible explanations for these inequalities.

Published November 2013

Download: Social and economic inequalities in diet and physical activity

Obesity and disability - adults

This paper examines the evidence linking obesity and disability in adults. It looks in detail at the most prevalent disabling conditions in the UK as reported by the Department for Work and Pensions: arthritis, back pain, mental health disorders and learning disabilities. It also discusses:

  • the two-way relationship between obesity and disability in adults
  • issues around obesity, disability and inequalities
  • the implications for health and social care
  • analysis of Health Survey for England data on obesity and long-term limiting illness or disability

Published June 2013

Download: Obesity and disability - adults

Changes in children’s BMI between 2006/07 and 2011/12

This report presents analysis of data from the first six years of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) and describes the changes that have taken place across survey years in the body mass index (BMI) of children aged 4–5 and 10–11 years attending state maintained schools in England.

Prevalence of obesity and mean BMI (adjusted for age) have been used to summarise the BMI of the child population by school year and sex. Analysis has also been conducted to examine changes by level of socioeconomic deprivation, by ethnic group, and across the BMI distribution. This report provides an update on the analysis presented by the National Obesity Observatory (NOO) in 2012.

Published February 2013

Download: Changes in children’s BMI between 2006/07 and 2011/12

TV viewing and obesity in children and young people

TV viewing has been linked to increased obesity among children and young people, but is there evidence to support this view? This one page summary outlines the association between TV viewing and obesity, with reference to unhealthy dietary habits, sedentary behaviour and exposure to TV advertising.

Published June 2012

Download: TV viewing and obesity in children and young people

Changes in children’s BMI between 2006/07 and 2010/11

This report presents analysis of data from the first five years of National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) and describes the changes that have taken place across survey years in the body mass index (BMI) of children aged 4–5 and 10–11 years attending state maintained schools in England.

Prevalence of obesity and mean BMI (adjusted for age) have been used to summarise the BMI of the child population by school year and sex. Analysis has also been conducted to examine changes across the BMI distribution, by level of socioeconomic deprivation, and by ethnic group.

This report provides an update on the analysis presented by the National Obesity Observatory (NOO) in 2011

Download: Changes in children’s BMI between 2006/07 and 2010/11

Obesity and alcohol – an overview

This paper aims to provide a brief overview of current understanding of the key issues related to obesity and alcohol in the following areas:

  • Alcohol consumption and energy intake
  • Patterns and levels of drinking
  • Alcohol, obesity and liver cirrhosis
  • Alcohol dependency and obesity
  • Obesity, alcohol and gender.

Published February 2012

Download: Obesity and alcohol – an overview

National Child Measurement Programme: Changes in children’s body mass index between 2006/07 and 2009/10

This report presents analysis of the first four years of National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) data, and highlights any statistically significant differences that can be detected across survey years in the body mass index (BMI) of English children aged 4–5 and 10–11 years.

It provides an update on the analysis presented last year. Prevalence of obesity and mean BMI (adjusted for age) have been used to summarise the BMI of the child population by school year and sex. Analysis has also been conducted to examine change across the BMI distribution, by level of socioeconomic deprivation, and by ethnic group.

A further update to this series of reports examining trends in child BMI will be published in Spring 2012 to include the 2010/11 NCMP data.

Published: October 2011

Download: National Child Measurement Programme: Changes in children’s body mass index between 2006/07 and 2009/10

Does skipping breakfast help with weight loss?

Some people choose to skip breakfast because they think it will help them to lose weight. What is the role of breakfast in maintaining a healthy weight?

Published October 2011

Download: Does skipping breakfast help with weight loss?

Child obesity statistics for PCT Clusters

A set of maps and charts illustrating the variation in child obesity and healthy weight across the new Primary Care Trust (PCT) clusters in England. It also illustrates the relationship between obesity prevalence and level of socicoeconomic deprivation, and describes the level of participation in the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) for all PCT clusters.

Published September 2011

Download Child obesity statistics for PCT Clusters

NCMP analysis using the ONS Area Classification

This report explores child obesity prevalence (using National Child Measurement Programme data) by geographic population sub-groups that are based on socio-demographic characteristics (Office for National Statistics Area Classification). The analysis highlights health inequalities that exist between different population groups and identifies the likely level of obesity within local neighbourhoods and populations.

Published September 2011

Download: NCMP analysis using the ONS Area Classification

National Child Measurement Programme - guidance for small area analysis

This paper provides advice for users of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) dataset who wish to undertake analysis at small area level, such as local neighbourhoods or communities. This guidance supplements the general guidance for NCMP analysis which is circulated with the dataset and available on the National Obesity Observatory (NOO) website.

Published July 2011

Download: National Child Measurement Programme - guidance for small area analysis

A simple guide to classifying body mass index in children

A simple guide to the different methods that can be used to interpret BMI in children and young people.

Published June 2011

Download: A simple guide to classifying body mass index in children

Slide sets for adult and child obesity

Powerpoint slides presenting key data and information on adult and child obesity in clear, easy to understand charts and graphics

Published June 2011

Go to: Slide Sets

Knowledge and attitudes towards healthy eating and physical activity

This paper presents new analyses of data on knowledge and attitudes relating to physical activity and dietary intake and investigates factors that may be mediators of behaviour change.

Published May 2011

Download: Knowledge and attitudes towards healthy eating and physical activity

Brief interventions for weight management

This paper provides a guide to current best available evidence on brief interventions for weight management with adults. Brief interventions are interventions focused on changing behaviour that are limited by time – often to a few minutes per session.

Published April 2011

Download: Brief interventions for weight management

Data sources: environmental influences on physical activity and diet

This paper describes available sources of national and local data on aspects of the neighbourhood environment that influence physical activity and diet.

Published March 2011

Download: Data sources: environmental influences on physical activity and diet

Measuring diet and physical activity in weight management interventions

This paper identifies a shortlist of practical and validated questionnaires for the assessment of physical activity and diet to support public health practitioners in the evaluation of weight management interventions.

Published March 2011

Download: Measuring diet and physical activity in weight management interventions
Download: Supplement (copies of questionnaires)

Obesity and Mental Health

This paper provides an overview of current evidence on the relationship between obesity and mental health in the UK and highlights the co-directional associations between common mental health disorders and obesity.

Published March 2011

Download: Obesity and Mental Health

Obesity and ethnicity

This paper provides an overview of the current evidence on the relationship between obesity and ethnicity for adults and children in the UK

Published: January 2011

Download: Obesity and Ethnicity

Variation in children’s BMI by month of measurement

This paper analyses the 2008/09 NCMP dataset to investigate whether any variation in obesity prevalence and BMI can be detected between measurements taken in different months.

Published December 2010

Download: Variation in children’s BMI by month of measurement

The economic burden of obesity

This paper draws together estimates for the economic burden of obesity and overweight in terms of both direct costs to the NHS and indirect costs to wider society.

Published October 2010

Download: The economic burden of obesity

Bariatric surgery for obesity

This paper describes the most commonly performed bariatric surgery procedures in the UK, and discusses the efficacy of the various forms of bariatric surgery as a treatment option for obesity. The paper also presents available data on levels of bariatric surgery activity in England.

Published August 2010

Download: Bariatric surgery for obesity

Review of dietary assessment methods in public health

This report provides a descriptive summary of tools to measure dietary intake and dietary behaviours - exploring the application, reliability and validity of the various tools.

Published August 2010

Download: Review of dietary assessment methods in public health

Download: Supplement: Review of dietary assessment methods in public health Dietary assessment questionnaires

Obesity and life expectancy

This paper briefly outlines key findings of studies investigating the impact of obesity on life expectancy.

Published August 2010

Download: Obesity and life expectancy

National Child Measurement Programme: Changes in children’s body mass index between 2006/07 and 2008/09

This report presents analysis of the first three years of National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) data, and highlights any statistically significant differences that can be detected across survey years in the body mass index of English children aged 4 to 5 and 10 to 11 years.

Published June 2010

Download: National Child Measurement Programme Changes in children’s body mass index between 2006/07 and 2008/09

Data Sources: knowledge of and attitudes towards healthy eating and physical activity

This paper identifies and describes the main sources of national-level data on knowledge of, and attitude towards healthy eating and physical activity in adults and children in England. Descriptions are provided for the available sources of data, the methods used for their collection and their limitations. The focus is on data that are systematically and regularly collected from the national population and are in the public domain.

Published June 2010

Download: Data Sources: knowledge of and attitudes towards healthy eating and physical activity
Download: Supplement (details of survey questions)

Factsheets (formerly called Key Data Briefings)

This series of data briefings compiles up-to-date key information and data about obesity and its determinants in an easily readable format. The briefings will be a useful resource for policy makers, practitioners and anyone with an interest in obesity. They will be updated regularly and the series will be expanded to cover more factors that impact on obesity.

Published 2010

NOO Factsheets

Dietary surveillance and nutritional assessment in England: what is measured and where are the gaps?

This paper identifies, describes and discusses the main sources of data for national level dietary intake and nutritional status in adults and children in England.

Published March 2010

Download: Dietary surveillance and nutritional assessment in England: what is measured and where are the gaps?

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