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Obesity hospital admissions soar

The number of people being admitted to hospital for obesity related illnesses rose by more than 30% over the last year while the number of gastric band procedures being carried out increased by 70%, NHS figures have revealed.

According to the NHS Information Centre, there were 10,571 NHS hospital admissions for obesity related illnesses in 2009/10, which is more than 10 times the number in 1999/00 (979) and more than 30% higher than in 2008/09 (7,988).

The NHS Information Centre report also revealed more and more people are undergoing operations to help them lose weight and tens of thousands more people are taking prescribed weight-loss pills.

The number of bariatric surgery procedures in England totalled 7,214 in 2009/10, with women accounting for 80% of the total. This is up 70% on the figure for 2008/09 of just over 4,200.

Of the most recent procedures, 1,444 were for maintenance of an existing gastric band. More of these procedures were carried out in the East Midlands and London than any other region.

In 2009, the number of prescriptions dispensed for obesity treatment was 1.45 million, which is more than 11 times the number in 1999 (127,000) and up on the 1.28 million recorded in 2008.

There are, however, signs that obesity levels among adults may be stabilising, although it will take a few more years to see if this is a genuine downward trend.

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NHS Information Centre