Healthy weight


Maintaining a healthy weight not only reduces an individual's risk of physical and mental illness, but it also helps reduce the demand and ultimately the costs placed on the health and social care sector.

It is well evidenced that carrying excess weight (being overweight or obese) is associated with an increased risk of ill health. Excess weight in adults can lead to coronary heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), liver disease, osteoarthritis, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer and reduces healthy life expectancy. People who are overweight or obese may also experience low self-esteem, mental health problems, and stigmatisation and discrimination because of their weight. There is also a significant economic impact, with the annual cost of obesity estimated to be as high as around £27bn, with NHS costs estimated at around £6bn, social care costs £352m and sickness absence costs to business estimated to be around £16m[1].

Being overweight as a child has been associated with a range of health conditions including diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, gallstones, asthma and sleep-disordered breathing, and musculoskeletal conditions. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults and have a higher risk of morbidity, disability and premature mortality in adulthood. There is also evidence of lower school attainment, lower self-esteem and depression amongst overweight and obese children.

Being underweight can also be damaging to health, affecting the immune system, bone strength and can leave an individual feeling fatigued. As with excess weight and obesity, there can be many causes of underweight including not eating a balanced diet, undereating, having an overactive thyroid, dieting or having a mental health issue.

A healthy diet and physical activity are key to maintaining a healthy weight in both adults and children

Key findings for Lancashire-14

  • 66.7% of the adult population in Lancashire-12 are estimated to be living with excess weight. This is significantly above the England estimate of 64.8% and suggests that there are over half a million (649,659) persons living with excess in Lancashire-12.
  • Hyndburn (69.6%), Burnley (69.2%), Pendle (69.0%), Rossendale (68.7%), Fylde (68.1%), South Ribble (68.1%) and West Lancashire (68.1%) are all estimated to have significantly higher excess weight prevalence than England.
  • The unitary authorities of Blackburn with Darwen (68.6%) and Blackpool (73.9%) also have significantly higher excess weight prevalence than England.
  • Figures from the 2015/16 National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) show that 22.5% (3,013) of reception age children and 33.2% (4,133) year six age children in Lancashire-12 are living with excess weight.
  • Trend line analysis indicates that excess weight prevalence increases as children move from reception age to year six.
  • There are 94,769 individuals on the obesity registers of the six Lancashire-12 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
  • Estimates of adult underweight, suggest that Pendle (1.9%), Preston (2.0%) and Wyre (2.0%) all have significantly higher adult underweight prevalence than England (1.2%).

[1] Public Health England : Making the case for tackling obesity. Why invest? 2015

Further analysis

 Healthy weight in Lancashire (PDF 1.6 MB)

Page updated September 2017