The prevention of obesity is currently a major public health challenge in the UK. Over the last couple of decades there has been a rapid increase in the proportion of people classified as being obese. Obesity is associated with a range of health problems, and the resulting costs to the NHS attributable to the overweight and obese population are estimated to be £6.3 billion per year, with wider costs to society estimated to be £27 billion per year. These costs are projected to increase over the next few decades with a greater proportion of the NHS budget being consumed by obesity related causes.

Obesity prevalence for females increases with age up until the 65-74 age group, and is higher than male prevalence in each age group other than between the ages of 45 and 64. Prevalence of obesity in males also increases with age but peaks earlier between the ages of 45 and 64, falling sharply and earlier than females after this age group.

Obesity prevalence in adults increases with age. It is lowest under the age of 35 and peaks between the ages of 45 and 74. Thereafter, it decreases in adults over 75 years of age.

Adults with disabilities such as arthritis, back pain, mental health disorders and learning disabilities have higher rates of obesity than those without disabilities, and obese adults may experience disabilities related to their weight9. A third of obese adults in England have a limiting long term illness or disability compared to a quarter of adults in the general population.

The proportion of Knowsley residents categorised as being obese was 22% in 2012/13, marginally higher than across the whole of Merseyside (21%). However, the proportion of obese adults in Knowsley by comparison is lower than England as a whole (25%).

More than a third of Knowsley adults (37%) are overweight with 3% being classed as underweight. Almost 4 in 10 (39%) Knowsley adults are deemed to have a healthy weight, slightly lower than across Merseyside (41%).

Knowsley females are marginally more likely to be obese than males, 23% compared to 21% respectively. This mirrors the national picture. However, males are significantly more likely to be overweight (43%) than females (31%).

Overall, 26% of adults in Knowsley consume fast food at least once a week. A further 55% consume fast food once or twice a month or less, and one in five never eat any form of fast food (19%).

People in Knowsley are more likely to consume a hot food take-away from a local non-chain outlet, such as a chip shop, Chinese, Indian or pizza restaurant at least once a week (22%), than to have a hot food take-away from a large chain restaurant such as McDonalds, KFC, Burger King or Dominos (14%).

The full Obesity JSNA report is available here : JSNA Report – Healthy Weight Obesity