Hospital admissions for obesity hit new high in Westminster

People are going to hospital with obesity-related conditions at record rates in Westminster, figures show.

In the 12 months to March 2018, the rate was 889 people treated for obesity as a primary or secondary diagnosis for every 100,000 residents, according to the latest NHS data.

That’s up on the previous 12 months when it was 647, and higher than all comparable figures back to 2013.

A Government minister said the figures highlight the “devastating consequences” of the condition for patients and the NHS.

In 2017-18, 1,870 patients were treated, and 62% were women.

For 90 of those admitted to hospital, obesity was the primary cause.

There are many conditions where obesity is listed as the secondary cause of time in hospital.

The national figures show the most common are joint problems such as arthritis, or health issues in pregnancy where the woman was obese.

Gallstones, and heart disease contributed to by obesity, were also high on the list of secondary diagnoses.

Across England the number of obesity-related admission has jumped by 15%. In 2017-18, there were around 711,000, up from 617,000 the year before. That’s a rate of 1,323 per 100,000 people.

There are very wide variations across the country. Wokingham has the lowest rate, 313 per 100,000 people, but in Wirral it’s 11 times higher.

The data also shows that 55 people in Westminster were admitted to hospital for weight loss (bariatric) surgery and nearly three-quarters of them were women.

Public Health Minister Seema Kennedy said: “This data shines a light on the devastating consequences of obesity – both for individuals and for the NHS.

“Prevention is always better than a cure and we are already taking action to protect the health of our next generation, with plans to reduce children’s exposure to sugary and fatty foods and get them moving more in school each day.

“I am committed to reversing these worrying trends and we will be exploring other solutions through our prevention Green Paper later this year.”

Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “Obesity is one of our most serious public health challenges and these figures are a wake-up call on what is needed to help combat this epidemic.

“Councils are leading efforts to fight obesity but have seen their public health funding budgets fall by £700 million in real terms since 2015/16, which needs to be reversed in the upcoming Spending Review if they are to continue this cost-effective work and reduce health inequalities between different areas.

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