This guideline covers preventing children, young people and adults becoming overweight or obese. It outlines how the NHS, local authorities, early years’ settings, schools and workplaces can increase physical activity levels and make dietary improvements among their target populations.

The clinical management of obesity is covered by NICE’s guideline on obesity: identification, assessment and management.

NICE has also produced guidelines on preventing excess weight gain and weight management: lifestyle services for overweight or obese adults.  


This guideline includes recommendations on:

  • strategies for senior managers and budget holders in the NHS
  • interventions by healthcare professionals
  • strategies for senior managers and budget holders in local authorities
  • interventions by local authorities
  • interventions in early years’ settings and by teachers
  • strategies for head teachers and chairs of governors
  • inventions in workplaces

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Commissioners and providers
  • Employers
  • Local authorities
  • Primary care trusts
  • Head teachers and chairs of governors
  • Children, young people and adults, and their families and carers

Is this guideline up to date?

March 2017: We checked the public health recommendations in section 1.1 and the guideline will be partially updated. See the guideline in development page for progress on the update.

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

This guideline updates and replaces NICE technology appraisals 22, 31 and 46.

This guideline was previously called obesity: guidance on the prevention of overweight and obesity in adults and children.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.