Obesity

Obesity is a term used by health professionals to describe the condition of someone who is overweight with a high degree of body fat.

It’s of particular concern among doctors because being obese can increase your risk of developing serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, such as diabetes.

How do I know if my weight poses a health risk?

The way professionals assess your weight is by calculating body mass index (BMI). This is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres.

A BMI of between 30 and 40 is considered obese. In addition, women with waists measuring over 80 cm and men with waists greater than 94 cm are considered obese.

Use the NHS Choices healthy weight calculator to calculate your BMI.

What are the risks associated with obesity?

You can increase your risk of developing diseases and health problems such as:

  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • osteoarthritis
  • some types of cancer, such as breast and colon cancer
  • back problems
  • impaired fertility

Obesity and pregnancy

Being obese during pregnancy could have serious implications. Find out more about overweight and pregnant at NHS Choices.

What to do if you’re concerned about obesity

Excess weight is caused by eating too much of the wrong types of food and not getting enough exercise. Calorie-controlled diets and increased physical activity are great places to start, but many of us need help to stick to a healthy programme. If you’re very overweight, you may need medical treatment or interventions.

Obesity levels in the UK and North Somerset are increasing in all age groups. We’re working with North Somerset Council and other organisations to prevent obesity-related disease and support the local community to adopt healthier lifestyles.

  • Read more about the causes, treatments and risks associated with obesity at NHS Choices (obesity).
  • Visit your GP for advice on treatments and diets. If you have health issues, are pregnant, or you’re not familiar with dieting or exercise, you should seek the help of your GP before starting a diet or exercise programme.
  • Get support from North Somerset Council’s Go4life and other local organisations which are helping people to improve their health and wellbeing through low or no-cost exercise, healthy eating and support programmes. 
  • Change to a healthier diet. Read advice on weight loss and healthy eating at NHS Choices.

Support for people with diabetes

For more information on the symptoms, treatment and management of diabetes, go to NHS Choices (type 2 diabetes) and the Diabetes UK.

Support for people with stroke and heart disease

Read more information on the symptoms, treatment and long-term management of coronary heart disease and stroke on the NHS Choices website.

Advice is also available at the Stroke Association and the British Heart Foundation.