Healthy living * Weight loss

UK tops European obesity league

UK tops European obesity league One in four UK adults obese

The UK has the worst obesity rate in Europe with nearly one in four adults now obese, a new report reveals.

According to the "Health at a Glance: Europe 2010" report published by the European Commission, obesity rates have more than doubled over the past 20 years in most EU countries, with over half the EU adult population now classified as overweight or obese.

On average, just over 15 per cent of the EU adult population is now obese. However, obesity rates vary considerably between EU countries.

The UK has the worst obesity rate in Europe, closely followed by Ireland and Malta with close to one in four adults being obese. Romania and the Scandanavian countries have some of the lowest obesity rates in Europe.

The report also states that one in seven EU children are overweight or obese, and the figures are set to rise even further. Currently, only one in five children exercise regularly.

In most EU member states physical activity starts to fall between the ages of 11 and 13.

Children who are obese or overweight are more likely to suffer from poor health later in life, with a greater risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, some forms of cancer, arthritis, asthma, a reduced quality of life and even premature death.

John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, said: "In order to reverse the growing trend in obesity and other health problems in the EU we need reliable and up-to-date data to underpin the action we take as policymakers.

"This is where the Health at a Glance report makes such an important contribution and shall be a useful tool in the coming months and years."

EU countries with highest obesity rates

  • UK (24.5%)
  • Ireland (23%)
  • Malta (22.3%)
  • Iceland (20.1%)
  • Luxembourg (20%)
  • Lithuania (20%)
  • Hungary (19.7%)
  • Greece (18.1%)

EU countries with lowest obesity rates

  • Romania (7.9%)
  • Switzerland (8.1%)
  • Italy (9.9%)
  • Norway (10%)
  • Sweden (10.2%)
  • Netherlands (11.1%)
  • France (11.1%)
  • Denmark (11.4%)

This article was published on Tue 7 December 2010

Image © Knut Ekanger -

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