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Obesity-related hospital admissions

15 percent increase in obesity-related hospital admissions in England

The lowest levels of overweight and obesity were in London and the highest were in Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands

There were more than 700,000 obesity-related hospital admissions in England in 2017/18, an increase of 94,000 on the previous year, according to a report from NHS Digital. The ‘Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England, 2019’ report revealed that there were 10,660 admissions because of obesity directly, of which 6,627 were for bariatric surgery. Those numbers were not much different from the previous year, however there was a 15% rise in the number of admissions for obesity-related illnesses.

Admissions for obesity-related causes, such as pregnancy complications, gallstones or joint problems, increased from 617,000 in 2016 to 711,000 in 2017, although this maybe because obesity is now accepted and listed as a possible factor.

The report also showed:

  • The numbers of adults who have obesity continues to increase with a 3% increase (29% from 26%) on the previous year.
  • Morbid obesity has increased from fewer than 1% in 1993 to 4% in 2017.
  • Approximately, 67% of men and 62% of women are either obese or overweight. Men were more likely to be overweight (40%) than have obesity, while women were more evenly split with 31% overweight and 30% having obesity.
  • The lowest levels of overweight and obesity were in London and the highest were in Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands.
  • Among children leaving primary school, just over 20% are now obese, with the highest rates among those living in the most deprived communities.
  • There was a range from 11.4% in Richmond upon Thames to 29.7% in Barking and Dagenham.
  • Obesity in reception year children, starting school aged around four, ranged from 4.9% in Kingston upon Thames to 14.4% in Knowsley.

The number of items prescribed by primary care for obesity treatment decreased by 8% from 401,000 items in 2017 to 371,000 items in 2018, continuing a downward trend since a peak of 1.45 million items in 2009. The Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) increased for the first time in five years from £6.9m in 2017 to £8.1m in 2018.

"With almost 100,000 more hospitalisations in just one year, this is the latest evidence that obesity is causing deadly diseases including 13 types of cancer, heart attacks, strokes and type 2 diabetes, while putting increasing strain on NHS staff and services,” said NHS England's chief executive Simon Stevens. "The NHS is stepping up to treat these conditions, but it's clearly time for manufacturers and retailers to protect our children and young people by making further reductions in junk calories and excess sugar and salt that is quietly being added to processed food and drink."

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