Briefing papers

obesity and fitness

Obesity and fitness: The relationship between obesity, cardiorespiratory fitness and mortality

The relationship between obesity, cardiorespiratory fitness and mortality This paper presents recent evidence behind the relationship between obesity, cardiovascular fitness and mortality, and briefly explores the main public health implications.

Published November 2014

Download: Obesity and fitness: The relationship between obesity, cardiorespiratory fitness and mortality

diabetes_cover

Adult obesity and type 2 diabetes

This report describes the relationship between obesity and type 2 diabetes among adults. It describes the epidemiology of each disorder, how the two conditions are linked and why they present a major public health challenge. Latest available data and evidence illustrate prevalence trends in both obesity and diabetes at a national and local level as well as the potential implications in terms of health consequences, inequalities and cost.

Published July 2014

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Obesity and Disability Report Thumbnail

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

 

Active Travel

Obesity and the environment: increasing physical activity and active travel

This report summarises the importance of action on obesity with a specific focus on active travel, and outlines the regulatory and policy approaches that can be taken Download from PHE website

Fast Food

Obesity and the environment: regulating the growth of fast food outlets

This report summarises the importance of action on obesity with a specific focus on fast food takeaways, and outlines the regulatory and other approaches that can be taken at local level

Download from PHE website

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

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

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

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

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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. It also aims to:

  • help users understand the challenges and limitations of using the data sources available

  • identify gaps in the data and help users understand the options available at a local level to improve data availability.

Published March 2011

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

Measuring diet and physical activity in weight management interventions

This paper is intended to be an accessible and practical guide to the measurement of physical activity and diet and provides a shortlist of practical, validated tools to:

  • support people conducting evaluations of weight management interventions

  • help provide consistency and comparability between evaluations of weight management interventions and to strengthen the evidence base

  • support the implementation of the Standard Evaluation Framework (SEF) for 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. It also includes:

  • issues around inequality
  • the implications of psychological distress caused by weight related stigma and discrimination
  • specific issues relating to child and adolescent obesity
  • current knowledge on the effectiveness of interventions

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 - summarising evidence on:

  • variations in obesity prevalence between and within minority ethnic groups;
  • differences in obesity-related disease prevalence between minority ethnic groups, with particular reference to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes;
  • measures of obesity including the issue of central adiposity and the use of BMI; and
  • the role of potential determinants of obesity for minority ethnic groups such as migration, cultural variations in diet, socioeconomic status, local area characteristics and physical activity levels.

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







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)

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?



Treating adult obesity through lifestyle change interventions: a briefing paper for commissioners

Published March 2010
This document has now been superseded. A new document will be available in 2014 to reflect new and emerging evidence and guidance. **Please refer to the latest DH guidance on commissioning for weight management services click here to view this guidance

Physical activity in the Active People Survey: developing an indicator that includes walking and cycling for transport

This paper describes analysis of the Sport England Active People Survey to calculate the percentage of adults that participate in moderate intensity physical activity that includes walking and cycling for transport, for 30 minutes or more on at least three days per week and at least five days per week.

The data are presented separately in the form of an interactive mapping and analysis tool (e-atlas), on the NOO website. The data are presented in both the adult single map e-atlas and the adult dual map e-atlas.

Published November 2009

Download: Physical activity in the Active People Survey: developing an indicator that includes walking and cycling for transport


Treating childhood obesity through lifestyle change interventions. A briefing paper for commissioners

Published November 2009
This document has now been superseded. A new document will be available in 2014 to reflect new and emerging evidence and guidance. **Please refer to the latest DH guidance on commissioning for weight management services click here to view this guidance

Preventing childhood obesity through lifestyle change interventions. A briefing paper for commissioners

Published November 2009
This document has now been superseded. A new document will be available in 2014 to reflect new and emerging evidence and guidance. **Please refer to the latest DH guidance on commissioning for weight management services click here to view this guidance

Obesity and Overweight Surveillance in England: what is measured and where are the gaps?

This paper aims to identify and describe the main sources of national level surveillance data on obesity in England. It also highlights gaps in these data sources and makes recommendations for the national surveillance of obesity in the future.

Published November 2009

Download: Obesity and Overweight Surveillance in England: what is measured and where are the gaps?


Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: Market Segmentation and Mapping

The 'Healthy Weight Healthy Lives: Consumer Insight Summary', published in November 2008, describes market research into families' attitudes and behaviours relating to diet and physical activity and looks at how families can be grouped into six clusters. This work was commissioned in order to inform the development of the national Change4Life campaign.

Follow-on work was subsequently undertaken to produce a more detailed geographical mapping of the identified clusters. This briefing note aims to summarise the geodemographic segmentation approach and give guidance on the appropriate use of the cluster postcode directories and maps.

Published August 2009

Downlad: Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: Market Segmentation and Mapping


Measures of central adiposity as an indicator of obesity

High levels of central adiposity in adults are known to be associated with increased risk of obesity-related conditions including type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Although measures of central adiposity are closely correlated with BMI, they have been shown to predict future ill health independently of BMI.

Published August 2009

Download: Measures of central adiposity as an indicator of obesity


International comparisons of obesity prevalence

The purpose of this paper is to provide a single resource for international comparisons of obesity prevalence focused on the United Kingdom (UK) and to inform the debate on trends in adult and childhood obesity levels within the UK by providing a global comparison.

Published June 2009

Download: International Comparisons of Obesity Prevalence


Body Mass Index as a measure of obesity

This Q and A style briefing paper provides an overview of the use of body mass index (BMI) for the measurement of obesity.

BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in metres. It is one of the most commonly used ways of estimating whether a person is overweight and hence more likely to experience health problems than someone with a healthy weight. It is used to measure population prevalence of overweight and obesity. It is also a relatively easy, cheap and non-invasive method for establishing weight status. However, BMI is only a proxy for body fatness. Factors such as fitness, ethnic origin and puberty can alter the relation between BMI and body fatness and must be taken into consideration. Other measurements such as waist circumference and skin thickness can be collected to indicate a person’s weight status or body fatness. None of these is as widely used as BMI.

Published June 2009

Download: Body Mass Index as a measure of obesity


Physical activity surveillance in England: what is measured and where are the gaps?

This paper aims to identify and describe the main sources of national level surveillance data on physical activity in adults and children in England, in order to identify any important gaps. This is distinct from the measurement of physical activity at a local level in order to evaluate the impact of specific interventions or for local needs assessments. The paper focuses on data on the population prevalence of physical activity, but also includes key sources of available data on determinants of physical activity (such as characteristics of the built environment).

Published August 2009

Download: Physical activity surveillance in England: what is measured and where are the gaps?