Treatment in England for obesity or conditions caused or complicated by obesity rose by 18% last year.
The toll taken by obesity on the NHS is increasing, as more people are admitted to hospital with heart conditions, gallstones or needing hip and knee replacements related to their weight.
Data from NHS Digital shows an 18% increase in admissions in the last year either for obesity treatment – usually stomach-reducing surgery – or conditions caused or complicated by obesity, such as heart disease or pregnancy.
There were 617,000 obesity-related admissions in total in England, of which 10,705 were directly for obesity treatment such as bariatric surgery. The most common problem caused or worsened by obesity was wear and tear of the knee joints, followed by the admission of women where the pregnancy had become risky because of weight.
Childhood obesity has not shifted very much since the school measurement programme was introduced in 2006-7. Last year 10% of children starting school in the reception year were classed as obese, a slight decrease over time. But theproportion for those leaving in Year 6 for secondary school was 20%, which is a small increase.
The data shows that few people eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – 26% of adults and 16% of children. Two-thirds of men (66%) and 58% of women take enough exercise, while a fifth of men and a quarter of women are classed as inactive.
“These latest figures reinforce the urgency with which we need to tackle obesity in childhood in order to reduce the strain on an individual’s health, as well as health services, later in life,” said Prof Russell Viner, the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
“We know that obese children are likely to go on to be obese in adulthood, which can result in serious conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The increase in hospital admissions directly attributed to obesity is an indicator that this impact is already being seen.