31,000 Deaths Attributed to Excess Weight and Obesity Every Year

Heart and circulatory deaths attributed to excess weight and obesity total around 31,000 every year in the UK, new analysis from the British Heart Foundation reveals. This is equivalent to around 85 deaths each day from heart and circulatory diseases which are attributable to a BMI (body mass index) of 25 or more, such as a heart attack or stroke. This is similar to the proportion of deaths from heart and circulatory diseases attributed to smoking – underlining the huge toll that excess weight takes on the nation’s health.

The Covid-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the urgent need to reduce Britain’s concerning obesity levels. Research has shown that living with obesity can increase your risk of serious Covid-19 illness, as well as your risk of heart and circulatory diseases and other long-term conditions like Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Around half (53 per cent) of all deaths attributable to a high body mass index in the UK are from heart and circulatory diseases, including heart attack and stroke.

The proportion of people with obesity in the UK has almost doubled since the early 1990s. At present in the UK, an estimated 28% of adults have obesity, classed as having a BMI of more than 30 (more than 15 million adults), while 64% have a BMI of over 25 (around 34 million adults). As well as being a risk factor for serious illness, living with obesity can also affect people’s overall wellbeing, often because of stigma.

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Source: British Heart Foundation