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When a person carries too much body fat for their height and sex, ie, their body mass index (BMI) is ≥30. Storing excess fat harms health; centrally stored (visceral) fat is most harmful, and is most readily assessed by measuring waist circumference.

NICE CG43 Obesity: the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adult and children; 2006 (updated 2015)


Overweight and obesity increase the risk of:

  • Hypertension
  • Dyslipidaemia (for example, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnoea and respiratory problems
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)

Obesity and its complications, in adults and children, are a major public health problem, putting strain on NHS resources. If current trends continue, by 2050 60% of males and 50% of females could be obese.

Reducing obesities: future choices Foresight Project Report, 2007.

Statistics on obesity, physical activity and diet: England 2021

National Obesity Forum - free professional membership, guidelines, protocols, training resources

Association of UK Dietitians (BDA) Obesity specialist group

MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do It!) Social enterprise programmes for tackling obesity in children and families

Practice Nurse featured article

Obesity for general practice nurses Dr Gerry Morrow 

Practice Nurse Curriculum Module 

Lifestyle modificaction 

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