25 million Overweight and Unaware of Health Risks

25 million Overweight and Unaware of Health Risks

Aviva have released their first ‘Health Check UK’ report which surveyed 2,000 adults to find out about the nation’s diet, exercise, BMI, illness and overall wellbeing. The results were shocking: “25 million overweight adults risk health and happiness”.

Weight issues? Me? No.

  • Adults are in denial about weight related issues
  • 32% obese and 48% overweight believe they are in excellent health
  • Visits to GP’s for weight related issues have increased
  • 26% obese and 19% overweight visited GP due to high blood pressure compared to 9% with a healthy BMI
  • 19% obese and 9% overweight visited GP with diabetes/thyroid complaints compared to 3% with healthy BMI
  • 17% requested help for depression yet only 12% sought help for weight management

5 a day (but it’s not fruit and vegetables)

  • 25% of the population have 0 portions of fruit and vegetables
  • Only 20% get their 5 a day (and they expect us to eat 7)
  • But being British, 28% have at least 5 cups of tea/coffee a day


  • 58% adults reported exercising at least twice a week, however, 17% included housework as a workout
  • 29% obese adults never exercise
  • 35% adults say they don’t know how much exercise is recommended
  • 56% say exercising is too boring or hard
  • 39% are too tired to exercise

The state of mind

  • 34% of the nation have suffered stress in the past year
  • 21% have had anxiety
  • 21% have had depression
  • 20% have experienced insomnia
  • Out of those who had felt stressed 37% felt work pressure was the cause
  • Financial problems were to blame for 33% anxiety, 26% depression and 22% insomnia cases
  • Only 33% obese people said they were happy compared to 79% of those with a healthy BMI

A will, but no way

  • 39% of UK adults expressed a wish to lose weight, but 28% obese and 47% overweight had no desire to lose weight
  • 21% obese wish to improve their diet
  • The main reason for not being healthier was lack of motivation

The risky business

  • Men are more likely to be overweight; 41% men have a healthy BMI compared to 46% women
  • As expected people gain weight as they age with 23% of those over 55 being classed as obese
  • 54% 35-44 year olds and 37% 25-34 year olds are overweight
  • Those residing in the north are more likely to be overweight
  • Wales, The North East and Yorkshire are the UK’s heaviest regions with 56% of residents being overweight or obese
  • The lightest regions were London with 50% of people overweight/obese, closely followed by The South West with 51%

The Doc’s advice

  • Aviva’s medical director Dr Doug Wright commented on the following:
  • “Although losing weight is the top health ambition for the UK as a whole, any plans to lead a healthier lifestyle are being neglected under the pressures of modern living. The nation is falling woefully short of hitting the recommended 5 a day target of fruit and vegetable portions and too many people are failing to fit proper exercise into their lives”
  • “Being overweight brings with it the potential for serious health conditions, yet a significant proportion of those with high BMI levels in the UK are living in denial by claiming they are in very good health and showing no desire to lose weight. The risks to their health are well known, with weight-related conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even some types of cancer”
  • “Many people are failing to grasp the real importance of taking control of their current and future health, by making changes to their diet and taking more exercise. By reducing the number of people in the UK who are overweight or obese, we can help stem the rise in weight-related illness and improve the overall happiness and wellbeing of our nation”

Our Advice

Our simple approach is to eat a sensible diet and measure your activity level. Knowing calories in and calories out will help you keep your weight under control. An activity tracker can aid you in your daily struggle,it is a good investment in your wellbeing (and that’s certainly worth investing in !).