UK women are 'fattest in Europe'

An overweight person walks through Glasgow City centre Statisticians looked at the 19 European states data was available for

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The UK has more obese women than any other country in Europe, according to European Union figures.

Data agency Eurostat, which looked at 19 countries, found nearly a quarter of UK women - 23.9% - were recorded as being obese in the year 2008 to 2009.

Just over 22% of UK men were classed as obese, coming second only to Malta.

A person is defined as obese if their body mass index (BMI), the result of a calculation involving weight and height, is above a certain level.

The BMI correlates fairly well with body fat.

Statisticians found the share of overweight and obese people increases with age in all of the 19 member states that data was available for.

The data come from the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) and was published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Its figures for the UK were based on data from England, although surveys suggest the percentage of obese adults in Wales and Northern Ireland is similar and Scotland's latest health report put the figure at 28%.

After the UK, the countries with the highest levels of female obesity were Malta, with 21.1%, and Latvia, where 20.9% fulfilled that criteria.

Meanwhile, after Malta and the UK, the countries with the highest instances of male obesity were Hungary - where 21.4% fall into that category - and the Czech Republic, where 18.4% are classed as such.

How to work out your BMI

  • Work out your height in metres and multiply the figure by itself
  • Measure your weight in kilograms
  • Divide the weight by the height squared
  • For example, if you are 1.6m (5ft 3in) tall and weigh 65kg (10st 3lb), the calculation would then be: 65 รท (1.6 x 1.6 = 2.56) = 25.39
  • A BMI of less than 18.5 is underweight
  • A BMI of 18.5-25 is ideal
  • A BMI of 25-30 is overweight
  • A score of 30 or above is obese

The UK's high levels of obesity are in stark contrast to those in countries such as Romania, where just 8% of women were classed as obese along with 7.6% of men.

Obesity levels were also found to be low in Italy, Bulgaria and France.

In Italy, 9.3% of women were found to be obese and 11.3% men.

Meanwhile, in Bulgaria levels of obesity for women and men were found to be 11.3% and 11.6%, with levels of France identified as being 12.7% and 11.7% respectively.

The figures suggested that the proportion of women who are obese or overweight falls as the educational level rises.

Last month, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley launched a bid to reduce obesity levels in England by 2020.

The minister said people need to be honest with themselves about how much they eat and drink.

He said that, overall, Britons should be eating five billion fewer calories a day than at present.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1099.

    What I don't understand is that in this country the seats on trains and busses are so narrow. Are they all designed by the Romanians based on their standard?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1098.


    Sorry mate,I'm fully aware of life in Oz,so I wouldn't go too overboard.

    League is played by how many countries again?

    Sydney 2000 'the rainy olympics'.London 2012,1976 revisited for you guys?

    Paulmerhaba.I actually do apologize for that comment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1097.

    We're facing an energy crisis in the UK in the coming decades together with this obesity crisis. So why don't we put fat people onto treadmills and they can power generators to provide electricity for those of us who don't eat all the pies and some much needed exercise for them. There, two problems solved with one solution, I should be the prime minister.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1096.

    1078. Aquaticape
    can we burn a few to keep the pensioners warm this winter?
    obviously we have thin people moderating tonight.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1095.

    There is no silver bullet but the one thing that would make a really big difference would be to tackle the national vice of snacking. Almost all packaged snacks that are sold are high on fats and sugars. Anything - fat taxes, warning notices, controls over availability to children - which would reduce snacking would help tackle the obesity crisis (and also cut litter!).

  • rate this

    Comment number 1094.

    1032 Aqaticape

    Not to mention of course recently winning the R league world cup in england.

    Roll on the 2012 Olympics in britland. Now back to my reef fish,salad and fresh fruit lunch. Wagyu beef steak barbie for dinner. Oh: you would call it "tea". Its the done thing for us to keep fit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1093.

    Not a surprise. The UK is the least family friendly country in the EU and it's the mums who end up putting themselves last. You're torn between not being seen as a weak link at work because you have children and doing as much for them as you can in the precious little time you have with them. At the end of the day you're too tired to the exercise you need to stay healthy with a sedentary job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1092.

    British culture is garbage, isn't it ? Can we face that fact ?

    We lie about everything, sex, war, death, religion etc... Everybody is fat (meaning unhappy)... or drunk. Or both

    Parents seem to spend most of their time being abusive to their kids

    We spend the least money on education in Europe, the highest inequality

    A billionaire Queen and child poverty

    And the national dog is the Pit Bull.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1091.

    99.9% of obesity is self inflicted laziness...

    really, how often have you seen a starving fat person ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1090.


    Darts? Shooting? Equestrian?

    Yeah mate, real sporty nation.

    'He bowls to the left......'

    Pat Cummins the messiah eh?

    I agree about milk in tea though.It's just wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1089.

    I (BMI 21) am no great chef. Most of my meat is either tinned or 'ready'. For what it's worth I recommend wholemeal bread, spaghetti and flour, brown rice, potatoes, Weetabix, baked beans, sardines, oranges, broccoli, tomatoes, and tea; small amounts of margarine, cheese, chips, chocolate, pastry and alcohol; dump cakes, biscuits, crisps, soft drinks and desserts...

  • rate this

    Comment number 1088.

    Eat 5-6 small portions a day try and balance these with lots of fruit and veg and if u must snack inbetween try and snack on more fruit.

    This is not always an ideal case scenario of course but i suspect a lot of people make these excuses (i did) "oh i can't" or "find it hard to" and deep down they just give up because of various personal issues or circumstances,very easy to slip into this state

  • rate this

    Comment number 1087.

    1032 Aquaticape

    So called sporty countries like Oz actually have a higher rate of obesity but go to town on the few sports they actually win.If there wasn't gold medals for far too many different ways of swimming different distances,they would be far down the winners lists.

    Plus: T de France,snow boarding,rowing, equestrian,shooting,bowling,Darts,Snooker,Athletics,sky diving,gliding,more.

  • Comment number 1086.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1085.

    It's all too easy to go out and take photos of people with challenging weight problems to illustrate a story (as above). But someone, somewhere will recognize that rear view and the person will be identified in her work place. We know what people of way-above healthy weight look like. Do we really need to see pictures of the condition? It really is appalling.

  • Comment number 1084.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1083.


    Fat Police, if thats your posterior you should have filled (not just a pair of jeans) but also a hydrocarbon energy retention form, so that we may call on you for an asset audit.

    Assuringly bringing up the rear (Fat Police)

    Ps (provided your not married, the chief wants to suck you big toe)

  • rate this

    Comment number 1082.

    Scotland responsible for high numbers? The report explicitly says it was based on England alone (though Scotland has even higher numbers)

  • rate this

    Comment number 1081.

    Ugliness comes from within. Very few overweight posters on here. Many ugly ones though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1080.

    it's got to be said though...on a cold and windy night in Glasgow (October - March), yeh can't beat 8 cans and a chippy!! Who needs a nice arse, there's no beach time up here!!


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