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Obesity pill prescriptions total one million

More than one million NHS prescriptions were made out for obesity drugs in England last year, eight times the amount made in 1999, Information Centre figures show.

Most prescriptions were made for either Sibustramine that controls feelings about food or Orlistat that prevents fat being absorbed in the intestine.

The Health Survey for England 2006 found that obesity figures are also on the increase.

The number of children aged 11 to 15 years who are obese has risen from 11% to 16% since 1995.

Based on waist circumference and body mass index measurements, 21% and 23% of men and women have a very high risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).

People on low incomes were more likely than others to develop CVD as they ate less fruit and vegetables and exercised less.

Yet on the whole more adults achieved government recommended levels of physical activity and fruit and veg consumption last year compared with 1995.

Tim Straughan, chief executive of the Information Centre, said: "Information such as the large rise in obesity prescriptions paints an indicative picture of the population today and will help policy makers and healthcare professionals plan for tomorrow."

The Information Centre

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