Home > Latest News > Environmental Health > Public Health >

Age of Obesity Has Dropped Rapidly in Last 70 years

May 20, 2015
Public Health

A new study conducted at University College London (UCL), has found that the average age when a person is considered obese, has dropped dramatically in the past 70 years.

Studying records from more than 56,000 people born in Britain between 1946 and 2001, researchers found that female babies born in 1946 did not on average, become overweight until they were 48. In comparison babies born after 1980 were three times more likely to be overweight by the age of 10. The statistics for male babies born during the study, which has been reported in the journal PLOS Medicine, show a similar trend.

Co-author, Professor Rebecca Hardy, is concerned that obesity amongst children will lead to long term health conditions;  “The more of their lives people spend overweight or obese, the greater their risk of developing chronic health conditions such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis,” She said. “While other research has shown that losing weight at any point in adulthood can help reduce the risk, this study indicates that the UK needs to target its public health interventions at younger and younger ages in order to stem the spread of the obesity epidemic.”

It’s estimated that health problems associated with obesity cost the NHS in excess of £5 billion every year. The situation is particularly acute in Wales, with latest figures from Public Health Wales suggesting that currently over 25% of four to five year olds are considered overweight or obese.

You can read the full UCL Report HERE