Healthy weight


It is well evidenced that being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk of ill health. For adults, being overweight or obese can lead to coronary heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), liver disease, osteoarthritis, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and 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, primarily affecting the immune system and bone strength. As with excess weight and obesity, there can be many causes of underweight including not eating a balanced diet, under-eating, 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


  • The Active Lives Survey (2018/19) estimates that 65.0% of the adult population (18+ years) in Lancashire-12 are classed as overweight or obese, significantly above the England estimate of 62.3% and a slight increase from 2017/18. 
  • Figures from the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) for 2018/19 show that there were 106,142 adults (18+) classed as obese in Lancashire-12 (10.5%), which is significantly higher than England (10.1%)
  • At a clinical commissioning group (CCG) level in 2019/20, NHS Fylde & Wyre (13.3%), NHS East Lancashire CCG (12.5%) and NHS Chorley and South Ribble (11.7%) are significantly higher when compared to England.
  • NHS Morecambe Bay CCG (9.3%) is significantly lower. 


The maps in the box on the right show estimated ward-level proportions of excess weight for reception and year 6 children in Lancashire-12 and districts (2017/18-2019/20). NHS Digital has produced an interactive dashboard (at county level only), which looks at childhood obesity (from the National Child Measurement Programme).

  • The 2019/20 National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP)* shows in Lancashire-12 there are 1,405 reception (age 4-5) and 3,450 year 6 children (age 10-11) who are overweight or obese (excess weight).
  • This equates to 25.0% of reception-age children, which is significantly higher than England (23.0%).
  • For Blackpool, over a quarter (28.6%) of reception-age children are overweight or obese, which is significantly higher than England. For Blackburn with Darwen (22.1%), the figure is similar. 
  • For year 6 children in Lancashire-12, 35.3% are overweight or obese, which is similar to England  (35.2%).
  • Blackpool (41.5%) is also significantly higher and Blackburn with Darwen (36.6%) is similar. 
  • Just under three-quarters of reception-aged children in the Lancashire-12 area (74.6%) are a healthy weight, significantly worse than England (76.1%).
  • Blackburn with Darwen (74.7%) is similar to England, while Blackpool is significantly lower (70.8%).
  • For year 6 children, 63.4% in Lancashire-12 are a healthy weight, similar to England (63.4%). 
  • Both Blackburn with Darwen (60.4%) and Blackpool (57.8%) are statistically lower compared to England.
  • Trend line analysis indicates that excess weight prevalence increases as children move from reception age to year 6.

For more details please see NHS Digital's NCMP webpage.

* The 2019/20 NCMP data collection stopped in March 2020 when schools were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a usual NCMP collection year, national participation rates are around 95% (over a million) of all eligible children, however in 2019/20 the number of children measured was around 75% of previous years. The data at local authority level and below are not as robust because of the fewer measurements than usual.

For county and unitary data for adults please see below

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

Page updated January 2021

Excess weight in children

The maps below show the estimated prevalence of excess weight (obese and overweight combined) in reception and year six children, by ward (2017/18-2019/20).

Reception-aged children

Burnley (PDF 1.4 MB) 

Chorley (PDF 1.7 MB)

Fylde (PDF 1.6 MB)

Hyndburn (PDF 2.8 MB)

Lancaster (PDF 1.9 MB)

Pendle (PDF 1.6 MB)

Preston (PDF 1.4 MB)

Ribble Valley (PDF 2.1 MB)

Rossendale (PDF 1.4 MB)

South Ribble (PDF 1.6 MB)

West Lancashire (PDF 2.0 MB)

Wyre (PDF 1.8 MB)

Lancashire-12 (PDF 1.9 MB)

Year six

Burnley (PDF 1.4 MB)

Chorley (PDF 1.8 MB)

Fylde (PDF 1.6 MB)

Hyndburn (PDF 2.8 MB)

Lancaster (PDF 2.0 MB)

Pendle (PDF 1.6 MB)

Preston (PDF 1.4 MB)

Ribble Valley (PDF 2.0 MB)

Rossendale (PDF 1.5 MB)

South Ribble (PDF 1.6 MB)

West Lancashire (PDF 1.9 MB)

Wyre (PDF 1.7 MB)

Lancashire-12 (PDF 1.9 MB)