Health survey reveals association between parent and child obesity

Children of obese parents are more likely to be obese themselves than children whose parents are not overweight or obese, according to NHS Digital figures released today.

The Health Survey for England 20171 monitors trends in the nation’s health and surveyed 8000 adults and 2000 children about a variety of topics including obesity, smoking, and drinking.

Parent and child obesity

For the first time, the annual survey has analysed the association between parent and child weight2, looking at those who are overweight and obese3.

28% of children of an obese mother were also obese, compared with 8% of children whose mother was not overweight or obese. 24% of children of an obese father were also obese, compared with 9% of children where the father was not overweight or obese.

The survey shows that most adults surveyed (64%) were overweight or obese. More men (67%) than women (62%) were overweight or obese. Approximately a third of children (30%) aged 2 to 15 in England were overweight or obese in 2017.

Around half of parents (47% of mothers and 52% of fathers) think that their obese child is about the right weight.

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