Attitudes to obesity: findings from the 2015 British Social Attitudes survey

Document type
Curtice, John
NatCen Social Research
Date of publication
1 September 2016
British Social Attitudes; Obesity
Health Services, Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

Download (966KB )

This paper presents new findings on attitudes in Britain towards obesity and what might be done to reduce its prevalence.

Despite appreciating some of the health risks, people tend not to recognise obesity when it does exist – and especially so in men.

Key findings:

  • People tend to overestimate what obesity means in terms of body size.
  • There is widespread understanding of some, but not all, of the health risks.
  • People who are obese are often the object of stigmatising attitudes.

Obesity is frequently regarded as a problem for individuals and health care professionals rather than society more generally, and those who are obese are often stigmatised. There is significant support for actions aimed at reducing levels of obesity.