Stockton JSNA


Which population groups are at risk and why?


The prevalence of obesity and overweight among adults changes with age. Prevalence of overweight and obesity combined is lowest in the 16 to 24 age group, increases with age until the 55 to 64 age group and declines in the older age groups

In children, prevalence also increases with age. The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) shows obesity prevalence is significantly higher in 11-year-olds than 5-year olds.
Gender The NCMP shows that boys are more likely to be obese than girls and The Health Survey for England shows that there is a much higher prevalence of overweight men than women.
Socioeconomic status

The distribution of overweight and obesity has a significant social gradient, with prevalence among people who are socially and economically deprived.                                                      The gap between the two is significant, and has widened since 1997 in both sexes (National Obesity Observatory, 2011).

Familial factors There is evidence that childhood obesity is higher in households where parents are classed as overweight or obese (NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care, 2012).
Mental health The relationship between obesity and common mental health disorders is complex. Evidence suggests there are links between obesity and depression, although it is not clear which ways the influence flows.  A recent study found that among those who are morbidly obese, one in six have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety and more than half report having low self-esteem and recognise that their weight has an impact on many daily activities and on their relationships (Department of Health, 2011).

Obesity prevalence varies substantially between ethnic groups for both adults and children (Health Survey for England, 2004). 

For men, when using BMI, findings suggest that compared to the general population, obesity prevalence is lower in Bangladeshi and Chinese communities.  However, if using a different measurement such as raised waist-to-hip ratio, obesity prevalence is higher in Bangladeshi men.

For women, when using BMI, obesity prevalence appears to be higher in Black African, Black Caribbean and Pakistani women and lower in women from Chinese communities. When using raised waist-to-hip ratio, obesity prevalence is higher in Bangladeshi women.                      Children from most minority ethnic groups have a higher prevalence of obesity than White British children, although the patterns are different for boys and girls and for different age groups. Among Reception age children, Black African boys and girls have the highest prevalence of obesity. In Year 6, Bangladeshi boys have the highest prevalence, whereas among girls, those from African and Other Black groups have the highest prevalence (National Obesity Observatory, 2010).

There are associations between limiting longstanding illness and a high BMI. 

Obesity disproportionately affects adults and children with a learning disability.  Approximately one adult in three with a learning disability is obese compared to one in five in the general population (Disability Rights Commission, 2005).

Compared to a child who has neither a limiting illness or a disability, a child with:

  • a limiting illness and a learning disability is over one-and-a-half times as likely to be obese or overweight;
  • a limiting illness is one-and-a-half times as likely to be obese; and
  • a learning disability is twice as likely to be obese (ChiMat, 2011).


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