Obesity indicators 2015

Latest data for indicators selected to monitor progress for our Prevention of Obesity Route Map (2010). Most indicators are updated up to 2014, but for some indicators data are more or less up-to-date than this.

This document is part of a collection

Children at risk of overweight and obesity

Indicator Source: Scottish Health Survey

Latest Results

  • In 2014, around one in six (17%) children aged 2 to 15 were at risk of obesity, with a further 14% at risk of overweight.
  • Since 1998, the proportion of children aged 2-15 at risk of overweight (including obesity) has fluctuated between 29% and 33%, and was 31% in 2014.
  • In 2014, the figure for overweight (including obesity) in girls was higher than for boys (34% compared to 28%), though the reverse was true in previous years. A higher proportion of girls were also at risk of obesity (18%, compared to 16% of boys).
  • Prevalence was highest among those children aged 12 to 15 (37%). Of girls aged 12-15, 43% were at risk of overweight including obesity. The equivalent figure for boys of the same age was 32%.

Figure 3. Proportion of children (2-15) at risk of overweight and obesity,

  • A higher proportion of children are at risk of obesity in Scotland's most deprived areas (22% in 2014) compared to the least deprived (13%). The gap between rates in the most and least deprived areas has fluctuated over time, and was as low as 1% in 2008.

Figure 4. Proportion of children (2-15) at risk of obesity by area deprivation[4], 1998-2014


About This Indicator

Desired Outcome:
Fewer children in Scotland overweight and obese.

At risk of overweight (including obesity) - BMI at or above 85th percentile
At risk of obesity - BMI at or above 95th percentile.
(Based on UK 1990 reference chart cut-offs).

Geography available:
National, Health Board.

Equalities data:
Breakdowns by four equalities groups may be possible (sexual orientation and religion are not asked of children), but not all are available annually.

Rationale for including this indicator:
The aim of this indicator is to monitor changes in the proportion of Scotland's children who are overweight and obese. It is used to identify any different patterns (and hence need for specific policy focus) amongst children of different ages. It is a long term measure of success of the Route Map.

Factors influencing this indicator[5]:

  • Diet, physical activity and sedentary behaviour are strongly associated with BMI.
  • Parental BMI; children of parents who are of a healthy weight or underweight are less likely to be overweight or obese than children of obese parents.
  • Household income; boys in the lowest income households are more likely than those in other households to be obese. There is no clear association for girls.


Email: Daniel Adams

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