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Huge growth in surgery for obesity

The number of obese people in England who are undergoing stomach surgery has soared by 41% in one year, new figures have shown.

This rise is based on 3,459 gastric bypass operations which were performed in 2006/07, up from 2,448 in the year before. The region with the highest number of procedures was Hull and East Yorkshire where 207 operations were carried out.

NHS figures released in February showed that more than a million prescriptions for obesity drugs were given out to patients in 2006. There were 1.06 million prescription items for obesity drugs - more than eight times the 127,000 figure for 1999.

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley who revealed the figures said: "These figures reflect the human and financial cost of obesity. Gastric bypass surgery is a last-ditch solution and the number of operations will continue to rise sharply in the future unless we do a lot more to encourage people to be more active and eat more healthily.

"The government is failing on reducing obesity, which is sadly unsurprising given that public health budgets and dedicated staff have been cut by Labour."

The new data was placed in the House of Commons library in response to a written parliamentary question.

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