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Shock rise in obesity-related admissions to region's hospitals

PUBLISHED: 20:12 28 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:45 06 July 2010

The number of people admitted to hospital in East Anglia with obesity has almost trebled over the past five years, new figures have revealed.

Some 352 people were taken to the region's hospitals with an illness or injury related to obesity in 2007/2008, compared to 100 fives years before.

The number of people admitted to hospital in East Anglia with obesity has almost trebled over the past five years, new figures have revealed.

Some 352 people were taken to the region's hospitals with an illness or injury related to obesity in 2007/2008, compared to 100 fives years before.

The latest figures, uncovered by the Liberal Democrats show a staggering 100 people are admitted to hospital every day in the UK because of their weight.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said: “The failure to tackle the shocking levels of adult and childhood obesity is deeply depressing.

“The fact that the number of people admitted to hospital because of obesity has nearly tripled makes it clear that initiatives are just not working.

“These figures are staggering and it is really worrying that we are not managing to tackle obesity related problems.”

The worrying statistics back up previous studies which appear to indicate that anti-obesity initiatives are not working. Last month a report by NHS Norfolk showed that 18.3pc of 10 and 11 year olds (year 6) are classed as obese - a rise from 16.2pc last year.

And the problem is spreading to younger children with nearly one in 10 four to five year olds also suffering from obesity - a rise from 8.2pc last year to 9.4pc this year.

Obesity is calculated using a formula known as the Body Mass Index (BMI) which is based on height and weight. If it is higher than 25 someone is considered overweight and above 30 is considered obese.

Experts now believe obesity is responsible for more ill health than smoking and can lead to a range of problems including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes as well as some cancers.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has had to deal with an increasing number of large patients in recent years and buy and lease more equipment to cope with a weight of more than 30 or even 40 stone, such as beds, hoists, commodes, chairs, through to larger fridges in the mortuary.

A spokesman said: “On average we will have one or perhaps two in-patients at any one time who are classed as bariatric (obese). “Some 10 years ago it would have been relatively unusual to have a bariatric patient but now it is part of our everyday work, albeit in relatively small numbers.”

Since 2005 government MEND (Mind Exercise Nutrition Do it!) programmes have been rolled out in Norfolk to reduce family obesity and earlier this year a Change4Life project was launched in East Anglia by the Department of Health to encourage children to be more active and eat healthily to help them live longer.

Lucy Macleod, a consultant in public health for NHS Norfolk, said: “NHS Norfolk is concerned by the current obesity levels but we are working hard to lower this. However, reducing obesity levels across the population is a long-term project and cannot be achieved overnight.

“The main causes of obesity are known to be a lack of exercise and a high calorie diet, so NHS Norfolk is committed to working with our partners to encourage members of the public to become more active and facilitate their move towards healthier diets.

“Obesity is one of our top public health priorities in Norfolk and we will continue to promote lifestyle change in both adults and children.”


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