Healthy weight


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, 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 for Lancashire-14


  • The Active Lives Survey (2016/17) estimates that 63.5% of the adult population in Lancashire-12 are living with excess weight, significantly above the national estimate of 61.3%. This suggests there are 606,325 adults in Lancashire-12 with a weight issue.
  • Figures from QOF 2016/17 showed that there were 147,947 persons (aged 18+) recorded as living with obesity, accounting for 10.6% of the registered population.
  • The districts of Blackpool (68.6%), South Ribble (68.3%) and Burnley (67.7%) all have a significantly higher prevalence of estimated excess weight compared to the national average (61.3%).


  • The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) 2016/17 found a total of 7,262 reception (age 4-5) and year 6 children (age 10-11) from across Lancashire-12 are living with excess weight.
  • This equates to 23.5% of reception-age children in Lancashire-12 with excess weight, which is significantly higher than England (22.6%).
  • For Blackpool, just over a quarter (25.7%) of reception-age children have excess weight, which is significantly higher than England. For Blackburn with Darwen (23.5%), the figure is similar. 
  • At a district level, Hyndburn (27.2%), West Lancashire (26.8%), Lancaster (26.7%) and Burnley (25.6%) all have a significantly higher prevalence of reception-age children with excess weight than England (22.6%). Only Fylde (15.6%) has a significantly lower prevalence. 
  • A third of year 6 children (33.0%) in Lancashire-12 have excess weight, which is significantly lower than England (34.2%), while Blackburn with Darwen (35.6%) and Blackpool (34.3%) are similar.
  • For year 6 children, Hyndburn (39.3%) and Pendle (36.5%) have significantly higher rates of children with excess weight than England (34.2%), while Preston (31.8%), Wyre (29.1%), Ribble Valley (28.1%) and Fylde (27.6%) are all significantly lower. 
  • Trend line analysis indicates that excess weight prevalence increases as children move from reception age to year 6.






For county and unitary data and further information please see below

For district data and full functionality of the Public Health England fingertips tool please visit the web page

Further analysis

 Healthy weight in Lancashire report, May 2018 update (PDF 1.51 MB)

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

Page updated June 2018

Excess weight in children

Please click on the district maps to see the prevalence of excess weight in reception and year-six children

Reception-aged children

Burnley (PDF 10.5 MB)

Chorley (PDF 8.7 MB)

Fylde (PDF 6.6 MB)

Hyndburn (PDF 8.8 MB)

Lancaster (PDF 5.6 MB)

Pendle (PDF 11.2 MB)

Preston (PDF 8.5 MB)

Ribble Valley (PDF 13.2 MB)

Rossendale (PDF 12.6 MB)

South Ribble (PDF 8.7 MB)

West Lancashire (PDF 11.4 MB)

Wyre (PDF 7.1 MB)

Year six

Burnley (PDF 10.2 MB)

Chorley (PDF 10.9 MB)

Fylde (PDF 7.2 MB)

Hyndburn (PDF 7.9 MB)

Lancaster (PDF 5.6 MB)

Pendle (PDF 11.8 MB)

Preston (PDF 9.1 MB)

Ribble Valley (PDF 13.1 MB)

Rossendale (PDF 13.7 MB)

South Ribble (PDF 9.1 MB)

West Lancashire (PDF 11.3 MB)

Wyre (PDF 8.1 MB)