The 2019 Health Survey for England estimated the prevalence of obesity in adults in England to be 28%, with overweight affecting a further 36%. It estimated the prevalence of obesity in children aged 2 to 15 to be 20% in boys and 13% in girls, with overweight affecting a further 12% of boys and 15% of girls. Government estimates indicate that the current costs of obesity in the UK are £6.1 billion to the NHS and £27 billion to wider society.

Currently, people who would benefit from weight management interventions are identified opportunistically. The lack of active case finding may mean that conditions such as type 2 diabetes are likely to be under-diagnosed in people of Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds whose risk is increased at a lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.

New evidence identified since this guideline was first published may help to refine weight management programmes that address diet, physical activity and behaviour change, and inform implementation of interventions in specific settings.

Bariatric surgery is a treatment option and is available on the NHS for people who meet certain criteria. During the scoping phase of this guideline, expert feedback indicated that there may be specific subgroups of people who would benefit from bariatric surgery and highlighted that there is new evidence to support this.

This guideline update covers the referral criteria for assessment for bariatric surgery. It updates the previous version of this guideline published in 2022.

Forthcoming updates will cover preventing and managing these conditions. They will produce a single guideline that will partially replace NICE's guideline on weight management before, during and after pregnancy (PH46; only the recommendations that apply before and after pregnancy) and will fully update and replace this guideline and NICE's guidelines on:

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)