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Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 4 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of levels of (a) obesity and (b) youth obesity; and what research he has evaluated on levels in other European countries. [114805]

Trends in overweight and obesity in England are measured yearly through the Health Survey for England. The latest figures for 2001 showed that 21 per cent. of men and 23.5 per cent. of women are obese. The survey also showed that 8.5 per cent. of six year olds and 15 per cent. of 15 year olds are obese.A European Union survey by the Institute of European Food Studies, 1999, showed that the United Kingdom has the highest rate of self-reported obesity in the EU, but measurement-based sources, such as the Danish MONICA studies, show the prevalence of obesity in the UK to be below the EU average.