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Obesity – a Big Public Health Issue in England

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Obesity is a big public health issue in England as the population of obesity is increasing every year. The epidemiology in the report shows that the population of obesity locally and nationally have increased however the local statistics are greater than the overall national statistics for the year of 2017/2018. Tannahill Health promotion model shows a very important role ensuring people live a healthier better quality of life by avoiding obesity . The interventions are in place to help avoid and reduce the risk of obesity occurring. The responsibilities of the practise nurse in the community are discussed in greater detail.


Obesity is defined as an abnormal excessive amount of fat increase to the body that can cause negative health effects such as diabetes type 2, hypertension , stroke, cardio vascular disease and cancers. Weight is measured by the findings of ones Body mass index (BMI) the weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in metres. Body mass index of 30 or greater is classified as obese. Obesity has tripled in numbers since 1975 and is a huge health problem for adults going into older years. Most of the countries that people live in, more people often die from obesity than people who are underweight. It is important to know that obesity is a serious health issue not only physically but mentally too. Obesity is caused by more than one factor. There are many factors that can cause obesity. The five main obvious factors are biological, physiological, psycho-social, behavioural and environmental. The aim of this report is to discuss obesity and cover the epidemiology on how obesity is a public health issue for England locally and nationally. The report will be explaining the health interventions in relation to obesity on how to reduce and avoid the numbers of obesity in England and around the world . Tannahills health promotion model will be explained in further detail. The role of the practise nurse when dealing with obesity .


Epidemiology is a medical branch that deals with the control of a disease in a population. The national data proves that obesity is a huge health problem in England. Obesity occurs when the consumption of calories of sugary and fatty foods is greater than the output. It is said that the unhealthy foods are cheaper but higher in calories. The population are using cars in ways of transport rather than walking as a form of exercise. There are more sedimentary type jobs and lifestyles that contain sitting at computers rather than being up and active than in previous years. (NHS2019) The national statistics for England between 2017 and 2018 states that the highest level of obesity was recorded that year to date in England.10,660 admissions to hospitals due to obesity alone 711,000 admissions where obesity was a factor. According to the data collected 287 out of every thousand adults were obese and 36 of them were morbidly obese. Results stated that 28.7% of adults are classified as obese and 35.6% are viewed as overweight. Statistics show 27.4% of men and 30% of women are obese. However it is said that men are more likely to be overweight than women. The ages between 16-24 is the only age groups where women are often at a higher risk of being obese than men. Adults between the 66-74 are at a greater risk of being overweight. In England obesity can affect deprived areas more leaving them with a 11% more of a chance of being obese than least deprived areas. Adults who may have a physical disability can be at higher risk of a 11% in being obese also. In 2017-2018 the local data in Hillingdon suggests that the life expectancy in the most deprived areas of Hillingdon are much lower. In total women loose on average 5.6 years and men loose 7.6. According to public health England between the years 2017 and 2018 62.4% of adults were diagnosed as obese or overweight in the Hillingdon area. However 27.8% of adults were admittingly inactive. It is clear that the statistics both locally and nationally are high and changes need to be made. It is obvious from the statistics that local data from Hillingdon being a smaller area are higher than England as a whole.

Public Health Interventions

Obesity can have a huge impact on one’s physical and mental health. Unfortunately Obesity is a complex condition and not only one solution will solve the problem. (GOV.UK2019) Since obesity is a big public health issue it will take a long-term approach to see any positive changes to the population. (GOV.UK) Obesity can cause harmful effects to adults leaving it less likely to be employed, increasing the risk of stimulation and discrimination. Obesity can lead to more hospital admissions and can reduce life expectancy on average three years and in severe cases up to ten years. Educating is an example of an intervention. It is important that nurses are educated on how serious the health risks are for being obese. It is important that they have the knowledge and information to give their clients the advice support and help that they may need. It is vital that the patients are made fully aware of the different services that are available for example health free online recipes, slimming world, weight watchers or online apps such as the free “Be Food Smart“ app (GOV.UK2019). It is important that people are educated and monitor the amount of sugar fat and salts that is in the food they are consuming. There are several unhealthy foods that give people the initial boost of energy that they need and are often cheaper financially and more convenient than the healthier option. The environment we are living in is encouraging unhealthy lifestyles. The sugar reduction is an important intervention to be put in place by the government before the public health issues gets any worse. The benefit of this is that it will reduce 20% of the sugars in our food making the product healthier and reducing risk of obesity. The aim for this reduction in 2020 is that families can eat the same food they are eating now but the products are less in sugar therefore healthier and will help avoid weight gain and other health risks. It is important that the nurses advise and guide their clients to exercise groups or gyms in hope that thy stay physically active.

Health Promotion Model

Tannahill (1996) discusses the health promotion model in three aspects. Prevention, Positive health education and health protection. Prevention is avoiding or reducing the possibility of diseases such as obesity causing ill health. Positive health education is communicating to improve positive wellbeing avoiding diseases like obesity causing ill health and giving advice and information on diseases. Health protection is safeguarding the people socially and financially this is meaning that peers in social groups can influence each other on what their eating and most unhealthy foods are the cheapest financially which can make the bad foods most convenient financially.


As clearly stated above obesity has only increased in the population over the years and there is no evidence of adult obesity decreasing . In order for there to be a positive change for this Public health issue and for the numbers of obesity to decrease it is necessary for the nurses and adults to be educated on the severity of the issue and what health risks obesity can cause. It is essential that consumers are aware of what sugars are in their produce and know the negative health effects it can have. It is important for obese adults to be fully aware of the groups out there that can help and support their journey. In 2020 the sugar reduction in food by 20% should be introduced nationally this will hopefully have a positive impact to the public health issue with reducing obesity levels.


  1. World Health Organization 2019 – Health Topics :Obesity definition. Available at Accessed 03-12-2019
  2. National Health Service 2019 -Causes of obesity. Available at Accessed 03-12-2019
  3. Merriam Webster since 1828. 2019. Available at Accessed 03-12-2019
  4. National Health System Digital 2019. Available at Accessed 03-12-2019
  5. National Health System Digital 2019. Publication -Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England. Available at
  6. Queens University Belfast 2009 – Health Promotion Accessed 03-12-2019
  7. House of Commons Library 2019 : Briefing paper by Carl Baker Obesity statistics available at Accessed 07-01-2020
  8. Public Health England 2019 : Adult obesity applying all our health Available at Accessed 03.12.2019
  9. Public Health England: Public Health Profiles. Available at Accessed 07-01-2020
  10. Public Health England ( protecting and Improving the nations health) Sugar Reduction Available at Accessed 07-01-2020
  11. The Queens Nursing Institute 2020 (QNI) Available at Accessed 10-01-2020
  12. National Health System England. Health Education England : Health Careers. Available at Accessed 10-01-2020
  13. Nursing and Midwifery Council: Standard of Proficiency for registered nurses. Available at Accessed 10-01-2020 

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