12 March 2013

Statistics on obesity, physical activity and diet - England, 2013

Statistics on obesity, physical activity and diet - England, 2013

The latest NHS Information Centre statistical report presents a range of information on obesity, physical activity and diet in England. Drawn from a variety of sources, the report includes information on the levels of physical activity among children and adults, as well as levels of sedentary behaviour, participation in a range of activities and perceptions towards physical activity.

The main physical activity statistics in this report are taken from the most recent Health Survey for England (2008). Other sources of physical activity information include the latest Taking Part Survey (2012), National Travel Survey (2011), Active People Survey (2012), PE and Sport Survey (2010) and other health and fitness surveys.

Key physical activity findings - adults

  • Adults who are overweight or obese are less likely to meet the Government’s physical activity guidelines, compared to those of a healthy weight.
  • In 2008, 39% of men and 29% of women met the physical activity guidelines, this compares with 32% of men and 21% of women in 1997.
  • Based on accelerometer results 6% of men and 4% of women achieved the recommended physical activity levels.
  • Adults aged 16-34 were most likely to meet the guidelines, with activity levels declining with age.
  • There was a clear association between meeting the physical activity recommendations and body mass index (BMI) category, with people with a higher BMI less likely to be active.
  • Men had higher cardiovascular fitness levels than women.
  • Cardiovascular fitness was on average lower among those who were obese than those of a healthy weight.
  • One in six people reported having done no activities for 20 minutes or more at a moderate or vigorous level in the previous four weeks.
  • Twenty per cent of respondents reported that they took walks of at least 20 minutes less than once a year or never.

Key physical activity findings – children and young people

  • Overall, in 2008, 32% of boys and 24% of girls were classified as meeting the Government’s physical activity guidelines.
  • Among girls the proportion meeting the guidelines decreased with age.
  • Almost two thirds of children who had attended school nursery or playgroup in the last week had walked to or from school on at least one day.
  • Just over a quarter of 11-15 year olds belonged to a sports club, making this the most common means of doing competitive sport outside school.
  • Children spent on average 3.4 hours a day in sedentary pursuits during the week. This rose to 4.1 hours per day for boys and 4.2 for girls at weekends.

Download: Statistics on obesity, physical activity and diet: England, 2013