Published on 10 May 2019

New NHS report finds a 15% rise in people being treated in hospital for obesity-related illness.

The number of people admitted to hospital in England in 2017-18 were obesity was a factor was recorded as 711,000 – almost three quarters of a million.

The figures were revealed in the recently published NHS England report Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England, 2019.

The study recorded cases where obesity was the main or secondary reason for admission to hospital.

The report added that the number of people admitted to hospital for obesity had increased by 15% (94,000) from the previous year (2016-17).

People who are obese can be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and other health conditions, though the risks of further complications can be reduced with a healthy diet and physical activity.

The report added that around two thirds of the hospital admissions where obesity was recorded were for women (66%).

In addition, of the 6,627 weight loss surgery operations recorded in 2017/18, 79% of the patients were female.

While hospital admissions for obesity were up the report found that the number of treatments prescribed by primary care for obesity decreased by 8% from 401,000 items in 2017 to 371,000 items in 2018.

This represents the continuation of a downward trend since a peak of 1.45 million items was prescribed in 2009.

However, the cost of prescribing treatments recorded an increase for the first time in five years, rising from £6.9m in 2017 to £8.1m in 2018.

The prevalence of obese adults was recorded at 29% in 2017, an increase from 26% in 2016.

The prevalence of obesity in children in both Reception and Year 6 year groups was found to be more than twice as high in the most deprived areas than in the least deprived areas; 13% compared to 6% in reception year, and 27% compared to 12% in Year 6.

The report also included figures for physical activity and diet in line with the government's physical activity guidelines for adults.

The guidelines recommend that adults (aged 19 and over) should aim to be active daily.

Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity spread across the week.

The report found that 68% of men and 64% of women met the government's physical activity guidelines for adults in 2017/18.

However, 21% of men and 23% of women were classed as inactive in 2017/18.

For children and young people (aged 5 to 18) the physical activity recommendations are to take part in moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity for at least 60 minutes and up to several hours every day.

One fifth (20%) of boys and 14% of girls were meeting the government’s physical activity guidelines for children.

As part of a healthy diet it is recommended to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables daily.

The report found that women (32%) were more likely to meet this target than men (26%).

In 2017 it was recorded that 18% of children consumed the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

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