Health survey reports quarter of adults in England are obese

Health Survey for England 2021 is the latest in a long-running series of surveys, covering core topics every year, including general health and key lifestyle behaviours that influence health and social care.



  • In 2021, 26% of adults in England were obese. The prevalence of obesity increased with age, from 8% of adults aged 16-24 to 32% of those aged 65-74.
  • Obesity prevalence varied with area deprivation, from 20% of adults living in the least deprived areas to 34% of those in the most deprived areas.
  • Around half of adults (49%) drank alcohol at least once a week.
  • One in eight adults (12%) were current cigarette smokers.


The Health Survey for England (HSE) is a survey designed to be representative of adults and children living in England. 5,880 adults and 1,240 children were interviewed by telephone. A sub-sample of participants were also interviewed in their homes by a research nurse who measured blood pressure and took samples of blood, saliva and urine. Fieldwork took place between January 2021 and June 2022.