Fat nation: deciphering the distinctive geographies of obesity in England

Soc Sci Med. 2007 Jul;65(1):20-31. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.02.046. Epub 2007 Apr 27.


Much attention is focused on obesity by both the media and by public health. As a health risk, obesity is recognised as a contributing factor to numerous health problems. Recent evidence points to a growth in levels of obesity in many countries and particular attention is usually given to rising levels of obesity among younger people. England is no exception to these generalisations with recent studies revealing a clear geography to what has been termed an 'obesity epidemic.' This paper examines the complexities inherent in the geography of adult obesity in England. Existing knowledge about the sub-national geography of obesity is examined and assessed. Multilevel synthetic estimation is then used to construct an age-sex-ethnicity disaggregated geography of obesity. These differing geographies are compared and contrasted with pre-existing findings and explored at multiple scales. A complex picture of the geography of obesity in England is revealed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Geography*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Population Surveillance