Overweight EU population by sex (2019); Credit: Eurostat

According to Eurostat, more than half of adults in the European Union (EU) were considered overweight in 2019; in Luxembourg, there were more overweight men than overweight women.

While figures showed that 45% of adults living in the EU had a normal weight in 2019, slightly more than half (53%) were considered overweight (36% pre-obese and 17% obese) and almost 3% were considered underweight, according to their body mass index (BMI). 

With the exception of those aged 75 or over, the older the age group, the higher the share of overweight people: the lowest share was recorded among those aged 18 to 24 (25%), while those aged 65 to 74 had the highest share (66%). A similar trend was observed for the obesity rate (6% of 18-24 year-olds compared to 22% of 65-74 year-olds).

In addition, the proportion of overweight people fell as the level of education rose. For instance, while the percentage of overweight adults among those with a low education level stood at 59% in 2019, this fell to 54% for those with a medium education level and to 44% for those with a high education level. The obesity rate also decreased with the education level: from 20% of adults with a low level to 17% of those with a medium level and 11% of those with a high level of education. 

The proportion of overweight adults varied across EU Member States, with the highest shares recorded in Croatia and Malta, where 65% of adults were considered overweight in 2019. In contrast, the lowest shares were recorded in Italy (46%), France (47%) and Luxembourg (48%). 

In all EU Member States, a higher share of men than women were overweight in 2019, with the largest gaps recorded in Luxembourg (59% of men compared to 38% of women), Czechia (70% compared to 51%) and Cyprus (59% compared to 41%).