A new international index launched online today has highlighted the UK’s worsening obesity problem.

The Better Life Index compares data for the 34 countries belonging to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development on 11 measures including income, housing standards, health, education and crime.

It found that Britons are likely to be happier with their lives, work shorter hours and earn more than their counterparts in other industrialised economies, but are also more overweight, and more prone to feeling unsafe on the streets after dark.

The index reports that the UK “performs very well in overall well-being”, ranking among the top countries for wealth, environment, good governance and community spirit.

But it highlights black spots like child poverty - where progress has “stalled” and figures are predicted to increase - and obesity, where the UK has the highest rates in Europe.

On the broadest and most subjective measure of life satisfaction, Britain ranked 15th out of 34. Denmark was happiest, followed by Canada, Norway and Switzerland.

Numbers of Britons saying they are satisfied with their lives have risen over the past decade to 68 per cent - compared with an OECD average of 59 per cent - with 79 per cent believing that their lives will be satisfying in five years’ time.

Some 76 per cent of people in the UK reported having more positive feelings - like rest, pride in accomplishment and enjoyment - over the course of an average day than negative ones - like pain, worry, sadness and boredom.

Life expectancy in the UK was 79.7 years, just above the OECD average of 79, but behind several major European countries such as Italy (81.5), Spain (81.2), France (81) and Germany (80.2).

The Better Life Index is being launched as part of OECD Week.