Fat Britain: NHS figures show obesity-related hospital admissions have risen 15% in a year

The number of people taken to hospital because of fat-related conditions shot up by 15 per cent last year.

More than 700,000 people seen in hospitals in England needed help for a problem which was either caused or made worse by the fact they were obese.

This was almost 100,000 more people than in 2017 and nine times as many as in 2008.

Women are almost twice as likely to end up in hospital because of their weight, and last year more fat women were hospitalised than people in total in 2014-15. 

The NHS blames people’s junk food habits for adding to a growing obesity problem which has led to more than a quarter of all adults becoming dangerously overweight.

Experts said the ‘frightening’ increase meant hospital beds were ‘jammed up by fat people’ as the obesity epidemic plunged the overstretched Health Service into deeper crisis. 

The number of hospital admissions in England in which obesity was listed as a main or contributing cause of someone's illness rose by nearly 800 per cent between 2008 and 2018, with more than 700,000 such visits last year

The number of hospital admissions in England in which obesity was listed as a main or contributing cause of someone's illness rose by nearly 800 per cent between 2008 and 2018, with more than 700,000 such visits last year

The number of hospital admissions in England in which obesity was listed as a main or contributing cause of someone’s illness rose by nearly 800 per cent between 2008 and 2018, with more than 700,000 such visits last year

Figures released today by NHS Digital showed there were 710,562 hospital admissions in 2017-18 in which obesity was a primary or secondary cause.

This was a 15.2 per cent rise from 616,961 in 2016-17, and a 778 per cent rise from 80,914 a decade ago in 2007-08.

Arthritis in the knees and hips, pregnancy complications, gallstones and heart disease were the most common obesity-related illnesses.

Issues during pregnancy may partly explain a gender gap in the hospital admissions – last year there were 466,978 women admitted and 243,565 men.

Out of 710,562 hospital admissions, obesity was the main diagnosis for 10,660, of whom three quarters were women.

Carrying excess weight during pregnancy was linked to 86,269 admissions, with obese women at higher risk of foetal problems, miscarriage and prolonged labour. Almost half of women attending their first GP appointment during pregnancy are deemed too fat.

Women who are obese when pregnant are more likely to develop gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia, or to have a miscarriage.

Past data combined in the report show more than a quarter of adults in England (29 per cent) are obese as well as one in five (20.1 per cent) of children in school year six – around 11 years old.

‘These are tragic numbers which are escalating quickly,’ Tam Fry, chair of the National Obesity Forum, told MailOnline.

‘A real problem for women who have had children is not reverting back to their pre-pregnancy weight.

‘Men care less about their weight so are less likely to seek hospital treatment, whereas women are more likely to present.’

The most common conditions with which obese people are admitted to hospital include arthritis of the knee and hip, pregnancy complications, heart disease and gallstones

The most common conditions with which obese people are admitted to hospital include arthritis of the knee and hip, pregnancy complications, heart disease and gallstones

The most common conditions with which obese people are admitted to hospital include arthritis of the knee and hip, pregnancy complications, heart disease and gallstones

And although the NHS attributes some of the rise to improved recording, hospitalisations have increased alongside obesity rates.

Mr Fry added: ‘We have experienced a rise in obesity because we fail, in this country, to take obesity seriously.

‘The Government has never taken obesity seriously and we have a dearth of courses like Weight Watchers and Slimming World where people can lose weight. 

‘They do exist but not in the numbers we’re seeing here.’

Mr Fry suggested rising obesity is caused by more people on low incomes relying on cheap, convenient foods, which are often the least health.

And the same people are less likely to be able to afford to join a gym or slimming club, he said.

Dr Giota Mitrou, director of research at the World Cancer Research Fund, said: ‘This new data is frightening. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of different types of cancer, so this data serves as a reminder that the Government should be doing more to tackle our obesity crisis.

‘We call on governments to introduce policies that make our environments healthier, such as restrictions on junk food marketing and subsidies on healthy foods, to help people make healthier choices.’

Women are more likely to be admitted to hospital because of obesity-related health problems than men, and the gender gap has widened over the past 10 years, NHS figures show

Women are more likely to be admitted to hospital because of obesity-related health problems than men, and the gender gap has widened over the past 10 years, NHS figures show

Women are more likely to be admitted to hospital because of obesity-related health problems than men, and the gender gap has widened over the past 10 years, NHS figures show

The number of people taken to hospital because of fat-related conditions shot up by 15 per cent last year

The number of people taken to hospital because of fat-related conditions shot up by 15 per cent last year

The number of people taken to hospital because of fat-related conditions shot up by 15 per cent last year

The NHS today called on food and drink companies to do their part to crack down on obesity in England.

‘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 Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England.

‘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.’

Wirral has the highest rate of people being admitted to hospital because of health issues related to obesity. In 2017-18, there were 3,516 hospitalisations per 1,000 people – approximately one for every 28 members of the population

Wirral has the highest rate of people being admitted to hospital because of health issues related to obesity. In 2017-18, there were 3,516 hospitalisations per 1,000 people – approximately one for every 28 members of the population

Wirral has the highest rate of people being admitted to hospital because of health issues related to obesity. In 2017-18, there were 3,516 hospitalisations per 1,000 people – approximately one for every 28 members of the population

Although improved recording by the NHS may contribute to higher obesity admission figures, they are increasing in line with obesity rates in England – 29 per cent of adults are now dangerously overweight, up from around 15 per cent in 1993

Although improved recording by the NHS may contribute to higher obesity admission figures, they are increasing in line with obesity rates in England – 29 per cent of adults are now dangerously overweight, up from around 15 per cent in 1993

Although improved recording by the NHS may contribute to higher obesity admission figures, they are increasing in line with obesity rates in England – 29 per cent of adults are now dangerously overweight, up from around 15 per cent in 1993

WHERE ARE THE MOST OBESITY-RELATED HOSPITALISATIONS IN ENGLAND? 

  1. Wirral (3,516)
  2. Nottingham (3,099)
  3. Salford (2,819)
  4. Wigan (2,793)
  5. Nottinghamshire (2,758)
  6. Slough (2,644)
  7. Wolverhampton (2,597)
  8. York (2,573)
  9. Blackburn (2,538)
  10. Southampton (2,457)

Source: NHS Digital, 2017-18

(Figures are per 100,000 people) 

WHERE ARE THE FEWEST OBESITY-RELATED HOSPITALISATIONS? 

  1. Wokingham (313)
  2. Reading (425)
  3. West Berkshire (432)
  4. Richmond upon Thames (491)
  5. City of London (591)
  6. Darlington (614)
  7. Redcar & Cleveland (641)
  8. Camden (641)
  9. Oxfordshire (656)
  10. Surrey (664)

Source: NHS Digital, 2017-18

(Figures are per 100,000 people) 

Katharine Jenner, a nutritionist at health campaign group Action on Sugar, said: ‘These figures are truly shocking and should be a stark reminder to the government that the UK’s obesity crisis is at breaking point and costing the NHS billions of pounds, much of which could be prevented.

‘Too much sugar and calories leads to obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and tooth decay. 

‘Yet again we are calling on the government and the food industry to take immediate action and prevent all these unnecessary hospital admissions and deaths.’

Overall in England there was approximately one hospital spell caused by obesity for every 75 people.

In some areas, however, this was more than doubled. The worst affected, Wirral, had one for every 28 people.

While in the best off area, Wokingham, it was more like one in 319. 

The 29 per cent of English adults now obese is almost double the approximately 15 per cent in 1993. Some 64 per cent are overweight to some degree. 

And morbid obesity – in which someone’s weight is a serious health condition that limits their daily life – has increased from one in 100 people to four in 100 over the same period.  

WHAT IS OBESITY? AND WHAT ARE ITS HEALTH RISKS?

Obesity is defined as an adult having a BMI of 30 or over.

A healthy person’s BMI – calculated by dividing weight in kg by height in metres, and the answer by the height again – is between 18.5 and 24.9. 

Among children, obesity is defined as being in the 95th percentile.

Percentiles compare youngsters to others their same age. 

For example, if a three-month-old is in the 40th percentile for weight, that means that 40 per cent of three-month-olds weigh the same or less than that baby.

Around 58 per cent of women and 68 per cent of men in the UK are overweight or obese. 

The condition costs the NHS around £6.1billion, out of its approximate £124.7 billion budget, every year.

This is due to obesity increasing a person’s risk of a number of life-threatening conditions.

Such conditions include type 2 diabetes, which can cause kidney disease, blindness and even limb amputations.

Research suggests that at least one in six hospital beds in the UK are taken up by a diabetes patient.

Obesity also raises the risk of heart disease, which kills 315,000 people every year in the UK – making it the number one cause of death.

Carrying dangerous amounts of weight has also been linked to 12 different cancers. 

This includes breast, which affects one in eight women at some point in their lives.

Among children, research suggests that 70 per cent of obese youngsters have high blood pressure or raised cholesterol, which puts them at risk of heart disease.

Obese children are also significantly more likely to become obese adults. 

And if children are overweight, their obesity in adulthood is often more severe.  

As many as one in five children start school in the UK being overweight or obese, which rises to one in three by the time they turn 10.  

AREAS OF ENGLAND RANKED BY THE RATE OF OBESITY-RELATED HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS PER 100,000 PEOPLE  IN 2017-18 (Source: NHS Digital)
Area All admissions Admissions per 100,000 people Area All admissions Admissions per 100,000 people
Wirral 11,300 3,516 Norfolk 11,200 1,227
Nottingham 8,510 3,099 Lincolnshire 9,325 1,217
Salford 6,215 2,819 Havering 2,975 1,216
Wigan 8,915 2,793 East Riding of Yorkshire 4,260 1,211
Nottinghamshire 22,540 2,758 Islington 1,885 1,173
Slough 2,960 2,644 Plymouth 2,905 1,170
Wolverhampton 6,440 2,597 Dorset 5,480 1,155
York 5,125 2,573 Stockton-on-Tees 2,120 1,119
Blackburn with Darwen 3,390 2,538 Luton 2,080 1,117
Southampton 5,200 2,457 Sefton 3,105 1,113
Cornwall 13,210 2,350 Bury 2,015 1,105
Wakefield 7,600 2,258 Tameside 2,390 1,101
Bournemouth 3,975 2,224 Cambridgeshire 6,830 1,092
Stockport 6,225 2,171 Bath and North East Somerset 1,940 1,091
Coventry 6,515 2,166 Isles of Scilly 25 1,091
Dudley 6,680 2,153 Isle of Wight 1,725 1,077
Bradford 9,980 2,080 Tower Hamlets 1,875 1,066
Stoke-on-Trent 5,110 2,076 Peterborough 1,945 1,060
Worcestershire 12,285 2,054 North East Lincolnshire 1,680 1,060
Staffordshire 18,025 2,045 Cumbria 5,245 1,034
Derbyshire 16,090 2,034 Kent 15,460 1,014
Telford and Wrekin 3,385 2,018 Hillingdon 2,765 1,005
Warwickshire 11,295 2,009 Newham 2,235 1,003
Bristol, City of 8,460 2,009 Sunderland 2,800 1,000
Walsall 5,285 1,986 Brighton and Hove 2,435 992
Hackney 3,685 1,936 Haringey 2,100 988
Northamptonshire 13,465 1,908 Enfield 2,780 986
South Gloucestershire 5,140 1,881 Bexley 2,270 983
Torbay 2,485 1,865 Sheffield 5,295 974
Derby 4,455 1,815 Greenwich 2,485 973
Blackpool 2,425 1,750 Warrington 2,000 971
Manchester 7,055 1,645 Hampshire 13,255 968
Medway 4,320 1,645 Leeds 6,810 965
Kirklees 6,660 1,591 Kingston upon Hull, City of 2,415 951
Ealing 4,575 1,588 Redbridge 2,435 944
Brent 4,335 1,569 Rutland 380 942
Shropshire 5,200 1,567 Gateshead 1,915 941
Doncaster 4,775 1,561 Herefordshire, County of 1,785 925
Milton Keynes 3,645 1,540 Hounslow 2,030 898
North Somerset 3,160 1,539 Buckinghamshire 4,590 896
Lancashire 18,185 1,528 Westminster 1,870 889
Cheshire West and Chester 5,080 1,526 Lewisham 2,355 886
Barking and Dagenham 2,595 1,520 Waltham Forest 1,985 879
Rotherham 3,910 1,508 Croydon 3,075 874
Cheshire East 5,605 1,502 Bromley 2,730 863
North Yorkshire 9,475 1,492 Central Bedfordshire 2,330 856
Knowsley 2,135 1,477 Essex 12,160 840
Trafford 3,225 1,464 Bedford 1,340 837
Southwark 3,690 1,453 Bolton 2,170 810
Halton 1,815 1,444 Gloucestershire 5,140 806
Suffolk 10,895 1,434 Devon 6,505 800
Poole 2,170 1,428 Wandsworth 1,710 787
Leicestershire 9,705 1,420 Southend-on-Sea 1,370 767
Harrow 3,140 1,411 Newcastle upon Tyne 1,985 754
Leicester 4,040 1,402 Kensington and Chelsea 1,055 741
Birmingham 14,265 1,398 Kingston upon Thames 1,090 705
Calderdale 2,810 1,390 County Durham 3,700 702
Windsor and Maidenhead 1,955 1,364 Merton 1,170 697
Northumberland 4,500 1,362 Middlesbrough 880 692
Hertfordshire 15,025 1,361 Bracknell Forest 765 692
Lambeth 3,375 1,357 Barnet 2,290 685
St. Helens 2,430 1,353 Thurrock 1,040 685
Hartlepool 1,220 1,351 South Tyneside 1,025 684
Swindon 2,805 1,337 Barnsley 1,630 673
North Tyneside 2,745 1,336 Sutton 1,280 672
Liverpool 5,990 1,334 North Lincolnshire 1,150 669
Oldham 2,790 1,322 Surrey 7,490 664
Rochdale 2,670 1,321 Oxfordshire 4,290 656
Hammersmith and Fulham 1,810 1,314 Camden 1,265 641
Somerset 7,075 1,290 Redcar and Cleveland 875 641
Sandwell 3,910 1,288 Darlington 645 614
Wiltshire 6,230 1,270 City of London 45 591
East Sussex 7,155 1,260 Richmond upon Thames 860 491
Portsmouth 2,390 1,258 West Berkshire 675 432
West Sussex 10,670 1,257 Reading 565 425
Solihull 2,505 1,243 Wokingham 490 313

Cycling… on prescription 

 NHS patients will be prescribed free bike rental to cut the risk of death from heart disease.

In the first scheme of its kind in Britain, GPs in Cardiff will test the bike-share scheme.

The pilot scheme, launched yesterday, will allow doctors at two surgeries to prescribe patients free 30-minute hire sessions for six months with bike share provider Nextbike, which is funding the trial.

The firm, which has 500 bikes for hire in Cardiff, also operates in Bath, Milton Keynes, Glasgow, Exeter, Belfast, Stirling and the University of Warwick.

NHS patients will be prescribed free bike rental to cut the risk of death from heart disease

NHS patients will be prescribed free bike rental to cut the risk of death from heart disease

NHS patients will be prescribed free bike rental to cut the risk of death from heart disease

Dr Tom Porter, a consultant with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Public Health Wales, said regular cycling could halve the risk of dying from heart disease.

He added: ‘It’s also a great way to get around the city without using your car – making it good for you and helping to keep the air clean for everyone while reducing carbon emissions.’

Cardiff GP Dr Karen Pardy said: ‘Whilst we are aware of the many benefits of exercise, people are sometimes reluctant to engage. Nextbike on prescription allows people to have a go at cycling and realise how this can support their wellbeing.’

 

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