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What is the impact of policy initiatives

  • 12 Pages
  • Published On: 18-12-2023


Obesity is one of the major issues among the adult population of England, where the people are aged between 19-65 years and there are several reasons for which they are suffering from obesity. The study aims at analysing the impact of policy initiatives of government (2002-present) in tackling obesity among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England. In England, the government of the UK focuses on several strategic intervention for tackling the national issue of obesity so that it would be possible for the government to raise awareness and help the people in improving their living standard in future. Through this study, it is possible to review the existing issue of obesity, identifying the causes, reviewing the government intervention planning and recommending further suggestions for controlling the issue of obesity in England.

Definitions of obesity

Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat, and it is a medical problem that raises the risk factors of other disease and health problems, such as heart disease, kidney effects, high blood pressure and diabetes as well as certain cancer. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among the adults, if the BMI is having 30.0 or more, the person is recognised as obese. It is associated with higher risk for serious disease such as Type 2 diabetes and heart diseases (Gregg et al., 2017).


Prevalence of obesity among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England

The Health Survey for England estimated that 28% adults in England are obese and more than 36.2% are overweight, but not obese in the year of 2019. It is increasing over the period of time from 2002 to present due to unhealthy lifestyle, lack of concern of managing body weight and carelessness among the individuals about managing weight. Obesity in this regards mainly determined as BMI rate above 30 and if BMI index is between 25 and 30, it is known as overweight. Around three quarters of the adult population aged between 45 and 74 is England is overweight or obese. It is hereby a serious concern of the government of the UK and health care organisations to take active initiatives for tackling the issue (NHS, 2021).

Analysis of the prevalence of obesity among the adult population (19- 65 years old) in England

As per the chart, three quarter of the adult population are suffering from overweight an obesity, the population aged between 25 to 34 years are also facing obesity as well as among the age group from 45 to 74, the percentage of obese people is increasing at a rapid rate.

(Source: NHS, 2021)

Among the adult population, 67% men and 60% women are obese in England and it represents 26% men and 29% women of overall population of England. Prevalence was over twice as high in the most deprived areas than the least deprived areas, which refers that there is high chance obesity with derived areas in the society due to social inequalities, health care inequalities and lack of suitable environment to stay healthily. In 2018, the obesity rate was 63% and in 2020, it has been raised to 67%. The overall cost of obesity to wider society is estimated at £27 billion. The UK-wide NHS costs attributable to overweight and obesity are expected to reach £9.7 billion by 2050, with wider costs to the society estimated to reach £49.9 billion per year (NHS, 2021)

Factors of obesity among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England

There are several factors for which the issue of obesity is increasing over the period of time in England and the major factors are such as social economic, ethnicity, lifestyle, physical inactivity, Psychological factors and others (Santo and Moragues-Faus, 2019). The Psychological factors include emotions influencing eating behaviour, as well as boredom, sadness, anger and stress which leads to obesity among the individuals. There is high impact of Psychological factors on obesity where more than 30% of the people need treatment and care for this issue (Santo and Moragues-Faus, 2019). The socio economic issue is also crucial where the individuals cannot afford to buy healthy food items and there is lack of safe place for which the issue has been rising over the years. Hence, the environmental factors and socio economic areas causes are crucial for which the individuals are suffering from obesity. Frequency of eating and cholesterol also leads to the risk of obesity in future (Johnson et al., 2018). Physical inactivity is also another major factor and as per The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), there is strong correlation between physical inactivity and obesity among the people. As per the gender, the women are suffering more as compared to men in the society for obesity.

Analysis of the factors of obesity among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England

The major factors of obesity among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England are hereby the socio-economic, political and ethnicity, physiological, environmental and genetics. A person is more likely to develop obesity if open or both parents are obese. Genetics affects the hormones involved in fat regulations and for example, one genetic cause of obesity is leptin deficiency. In the other hand, the social economic condition is also crucial for obesity, where the individuals fail to afford quality food and live in safe environment (Hawkins and McCambridge, 2019). Hygienic factors, emotional factors and eating habits are also important which further affect the environment of living healthy and it further leads towards the issue of obesity. Ethnicity factors also influence the age of onset and the rapidity of weight gain. African American women and Hispanic women tend to experience weight gain earlier in life than Caucasians and Asians. On the other hand, the Hispanic men and Non-Hispanic black men have a higher obesity rate as compared to the non-Hispanic white men. In this context, the percentage of women with obesity is higher than men. Hence, ethnicity is also crucial factor in determining obesity among different cultural people. Obesity is hereby increasing over the period of time, due to unhealthy lifestyle and bad food habit. Physical inactivity and social activities are hereby important to be reviewed for the social issue of adult obesity in England (Bray et al., 2018). Physical factors are also there that raises the scope of obesity and in this regard, the disease such as hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Cushing's syndrome are the contributors of obesity among the adults in England. Labelling theory in this regard refers to self-esteem and the factors affecting self-identity in living in the society. Overweight is considered as negative attribute and stereotype in the society as per the labelling theory.

Implications of obesity among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England

Obesity is serious among the adult population of England, where it is associated with proper mental health outcomes and reduced the quality of life. It is also associated with several disease and health implications including diabetes, heart disease, kidney impacts, stroke and some types of cancer (Bray et al., 2018). Hence, there are serious implications of obesity on the older population, where they are suffering from overweight, physical inactivity, bad diet and unhealthy lifestyle. The blood pressure and diabetes are the common health implications on obesity. Apart from that, there are mental illness among the older population in the UK, where obesity among the individuals lead to mental health problems, lack of stress management, anxiety, sleeping and eating disorders and depression. These are the major mental illness which deteriorates the quality of life of the adult population (19-65 years old) in England due rising number of obese people in the country. Serious health consequences are such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke), musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis, and some cancers (endometrial, breast and colon) (Esdaile et al., 2019).

Analysis of the implications of obesity among the adult population (19- 65 years old) in England

The patient with a BMI over 40 have a reduced life expectancy and obesity also increases the risk of developing a numbers of chronic diseases. Insulin resistance is necessary to transport the blood glucose into the cells of muscles and fat. Fat cells are more insulin resistance and in this regard pancreas initially responds to insulin resistance by producing more insulin. Due to insulin resistance, the pancreas can no longer keep up with producing high levels of insulin, and it leads to the condition where blood glucose begin to rise and it is resulting in type 2 diabetes. Additionally, high blood pressure or hypertension is common effects of obesity among the adults where they fail to manage stress and further live in depression and stress. There is high chance of cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack that the risk of developing coronary artery disease is increasing by three to four times among the women with obesity. Hence, heart attack and obesity is directly associated with each other that further deteriorate the standard of living of the individual with obesity. Sleep disorder and other mental disorders are also increasing over the period due to adult obesity in England (Sisnowski, Street and Merlin, 2017). The chance of Osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) of the knees, hips, and the lower back that also deteriorate the living condition of the individual due to obesity is high. Hence, there are critical health impacts of obesity among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England, and the main critical implication is some types of cancer including (endometrial, breast and colon) (Reynolds, Pilling and Marteau, 2018). The individuals in this regard suffering from health inequalities and structural inequalities in the health and social care sector, for which they fail to access effective care and guidelines to improve their living standard by adopting good practices and resolve the issue of obesity.

Governmental interventions of obesity among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England

The UK government and The Department of Health and Social Care aim at developing strategic intervention plan to tackle the issue of obesity in England. Nationwide policy framework and the intervention planning of NHS and PHE are effective to tackle the issue of obesity among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England (Keeble et al., 2019). Public Health England’s ‘Better Health’ campaign is one of the strategic interventions to raise awareness among the individuals to stay healthy by leading healthy lifestyle with good dietary practice an healthy food habits. NHS also focuses on maintaining healthy weights where there is weight management program launched by NHS to improve physical activities and make the individuals active to do physical exercise on daily basis. The Primary Care Networks the opportunity to equip their staff to become healthy weight coaches though training delivered by Public Health England. In addition to this, there is Increase the frequency of behavioural interventions for obesity in primary care as well as incentives for GPs and referral pathways into weight management services in every local health care system will provide a scope to the individuals to live a healthy lifestyle by managing their daily activities, weight management practice and good idea try plan (Bellew et al., 2019). The government of the UK also intervene in the society with effective strategic planning for managing the issue of obesity with care minimisation program in the food items of the organisations. Since 2002, the UK government focuses on other policies such as schemes to boost participation in sport, active travel plans, nutritional standards in schools, restrictions on marketing foods high in fat, sugar and salt to children, and weight management services, where the policies are effective to manage the weight of the individuals through healthy food habits and daily exercise.

Analysis of the governmental interventions of obesity among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England

Government intervention in England is fruitful to tackle the issue of social issue of obesity among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England, which becomes easier to manage weight of the people and create good food habits among the individuals in the country. The strategy of banning advertisement for high fat, salt or sugar products on television and online before 9 pm is effective as promoting the high fat and sugar content foods in the society further influence the children to eat the food items which are not good for the human being. Calorie labelling in the restaurants, cafes and takeaways is also another strategic intervention of the UK government for managing the calorie intake and it supports the individuals to raise concern about calorie intake and help them to choose the good food with less calorie items. Ending promotion of high fat, sugar or salt products in store and online and the organisations are encouraged with incentives who promote healthier products like fresh fruits, vegetables, fruit juice without any chemicals and sugar as well as organic products (Lake, Henderson and Townshend, 2017). The current ‘traffic light’ food label to help people make healthy food choices as well as consultation planning on calorie labelling on alcohol are also beneficial of the UK government to tackle the issue of obesity. On the other hand, the government tries to collaborate with PHE’s new ‘Better Health’ campaign, which urges the individuals in England to take advice about the way of living healthy in the society by making healthier choices, as well as providing free NHS 12 week weight loss management plan application (Croker et al., 2020). This application is also effective for tackling obesity among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England.

Significant issues

The existing literatures and concepts of obesity are helpful for conducting this study, where the authors develop effective research and findings on obesity statistics in England. The Government website of the UK is also effective along with the website of NHS and PHE. It is helpful to gather in depth knowledge and understanding about the obesity statistics and other concepts related to the study. The major issue is time constraint and lack of evidence in the recent year’s statistics on obesity, it becomes difficult to manage time to conduct this study as well as identify the authentic information related to the obesity statistics. There is lack of evidences about mortality rate related to obesity and other statistics related to the death rate, recovery rate in England. The study mainly focuses on adult population (19-65 years old) in England, where it becomes problematic to identify this adult obesity statistics individually as well as the ethnicity factors that has impacts on obesity.


The research is hereby effective for gaining deep insights on the social issue of obesity in the UK. Through this study, it is possible to identify the factors contributing obesity as well as health implications of obesity. The recent statistics of obesity in England is also acknowledged through this study. The UK government is efficient to provide several rules and ethical practice for controlling this issue of obesity and in this study, it is possible to discuss government intervention program to tackle the issue of obesity among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England. The future study would be beneficial for exploring more strategic planning of the government of the UK, NHS and PHE to mitigate the issue of obesity among the individuals. The study explores several information related to obesity which further influence the researchers to develop future studies with in depth analysis and evaluation about the recent death rate and other health implications among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England as well as the researchers also would be able to recommend some suitable suggestion for raising awareness about the issue of obesity and developing strategies for tackling the issue in the society.

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Conclusion and recommendations

Through this study, it is possible to understand that, it is high time for the UK government tackle the issue of obesity among the adult population (19-65 years old) in England, as there are several risk factors among the adults and older population due to obesity. The critical health risks associated with obesity are such as heart attacks, cardiovascular issues, and cancer including endometrial, breast and colon, musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure as well as other mental disorders due to physical inactivity. The government and health care organisations including NHS and PHE are collaborating to support the adult population to tackle the issue of obesity and improve daily physical activities for living a healthy lifestyle. The recommended strategic interventions would be,

It is essential for the individuals to access the health and social care services and seek advice from the dietician and doctors for developing healthy food habits. The dietary plan with daily allowances (RDAs) for vitamins, minerals, and protein must be provided to each adult who can follow the chart and manage their weight in a systematic way (Croker et al., 2020). The weight-loss program should be directed by the doctor towards a slow, steady weight loss unless your doctor feels your health condition would benefit from more rapid weight loss.

The government must provide the health management and healthy lifestyle campaign in the society, where the individuals mainly adults and older people can enrol for gaining deep insights about the way of improving standard of living (Keeble et al., 2019). Through discussing the lifestyle improvement planning, monitoring the weight on daily basis and improving the healthy food habits by choosing low calorie food items, organic foods and fresh fruits n vegetables items for managing their healthy life style.

Daily exercise and physical activities are mandatory where the government must provide the scope of doing exercise on daily basis (Bellew et al., 2019). Through developing the physical activity campaign, run and walk competition in the society as well as promoting gym will be beneficial to raise awareness among the individuals and encourage the adults to take active participation in the competition of running and walking as well as doing other physical activities on daily basis.

The NHS and PHE must provide free consultation to the adults and guide them for maintaining their weight through online application as it helps to retain more clients and raise awareness among the social communities to manage their weight through steady and sustainable ways (Lake, Henderson and Townshend, 2017). The health and social workers also needs to provide support to the adults and motivate them to improve their activities in living a normal life so that the health risk and other complications in body can be mitigated.

Reference List

Bellew, W., Bauman, A., Kite, J., Foley, B., Reece, L., Thomas, M., Mihrshahi, S. and King, L., 2019. Obesity prevention in children and young people; what policy actions are needed. Public Health Res Pract, 29(1), p.e2911902.

Bray, I., Slater, A., Lewis-Smith, H., Bird, E. and Sabey, A., 2018. Promoting positive body image and tackling overweight/obesity in children and adolescents: A combined health psychology and public health approach. Preventive medicine, 116, pp.219-221.

Croker, H., Russell, S.J., Gireesh, A., Bonham, A., Hawkes, C., Bedford, H., Michie, S. and Viner, R.M., 2020. Obesity prevention in the early years: A mapping study of national policies in England from a behavioural science perspective. Plos one, 15(9), p.e0239402.

Esdaile, E., Thow, A.M., Gill, T., Sacks, G., Golley, R., Love, P., Wen, L.M. and Rissel, C., 2019. National policies to prevent obesity in early childhood: Using policy mapping to compare policy lessons for Australia with six developed countries. Obesity reviews, 20(11), pp.1542-1556.

Gregg, R., Patel, A., Patel, S. and O’Connor, L., 2017. Public reaction to the UK government strategy on childhood obesity in England: A qualitative and quantitative summary of online reaction to media reports. Health Policy, 121(4), pp.450-457.

Hawkins, B. and McCambridge, J., 2019. Public-private partnerships and the politics of alcohol policy in England: the Coalition Government’s Public Health ‘Responsibility Deal’. BMC public health, 19(1), pp.1-12.

Johnson, M., Day, M., Moholkar, R., Gilluley, P. and Goyder, E., 2018. Tackling obesity in mental health secure units: a mixed method synthesis of available evidence. BJPsych open, 4(4), pp.294-301.

Keeble, M., Burgoine, T., White, M., Summerbell, C., Cummins, S. and Adams, J., 2019. How does local government use the planning system to regulate hot food takeaway outlets? A census of current practice in England using document review. Health & place, 57, pp.171-178.

Lake, A.A., Henderson, E.J. and Townshend, T.G., 2017. Exploring planners’ and public health practitioners’ views on addressing obesity: lessons from local government in England. Cities & health, 1(2), pp.185-193.

NHS, 2021. Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England, 2020. [online] Available at: [Accessed on 9 May 2021].

Reynolds, J.P., Pilling, M. and Marteau, T.M., 2018. Communicating quantitative evidence of policy effectiveness and support for the policy: Three experimental studies. Social Science & Medicine, 218, pp.1-12.

Santo, R. and Moragues-Faus, A., 2019. Towards a trans-local food governance: Exploring the transformative capacity of food policy assemblages in the US and UK. Geoforum, 98, pp.75-87

Sisnowski, J., Street, J.M. and Merlin, T., 2017. Improving food environments and tackling obesity: A realist systematic review of the policy success of regulatory interventions targeting population nutrition. PloS one, 12(8), p.e0182581.

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