Obesity is measured using the Body Mass Index (BMI).  This is defined as the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in metres.  There are many complex behavioural and societal factors that contribute to obesity. 

Nationally the prevalence of obesity among adults has increased sharply in recent years.

Key factors for prevention are a healthy diet and physical activity (see physical activity). In Cambridgeshire 67.4% population is eating less than the recommended portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Prevention of obesity requires interventions across a wide range of behaviours and the creation of supportive environments eg cycling and walking pathways.

The workplace, dental and oral, physical activity section, diet and nutrition sections of the JSNA are relevant for obesity prevention.   See the New Communities JSNA for wider environmental planning issues.


Obesity Definitions


BMI (kg/m2)

Healthy weight




Obesity I


Obesity II


Obesity III

40 or more

The National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE), Clinical Guideline No. 43 Obesity Guidance on the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children (2006) (refreshed 2010) (http://guidance.nice.org.uk/CG43) and its associated evidence base provides the core evidence base for the prevention and management of obesity.  It should be noted that the Clinical Guidelines recommends that BMI is used in conjunction with waist circumference for measuring overweight and obesity and determining health risks.