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Obesity-related hospital admissions rise by 15%

There has been a 15% jump in the number of obesity-related hospital admissions in England, the latest figures from NHS Digital show. 

Around 711,000 hospital admissions had obesity recorded as the primary or secondary diagnosis in 2017/18, an increase from 617,000 the year before.  

Of the 10,660 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of obesity, around three in every four (74%) patients were female.  

The new report showed that the national obesity-related admission rate was 1,323 per 100,000 population, with the peak age for admission at 45 to 54 before declining in older age groups. 

Some of the increase in reported obesity-related admissions may be due to hospitals being more likely to record obesity as a secondary diagnosis, according to NHS Digital.  

Where obesity was a factor but not a primary reason for admission, the most common diagnoses related to maternity and joint issues, such as arthritis of the knee or hip.  

Almost one third (29%) of all adults are reported to be obese in the UK, up from 26% In 2016.  

In year 6 (aged 10-11) children, 20% are classified as obese. The prevalence is over twice as high in the most deprived areas than the least deprived areas.  

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘With almost 100,000 more hospitalisations in just one year, this is the latest evidence that obesity is causing deadly diseases including 13 types of cancer, heart attacks, strokes and type 2 diabetes, while putting increasing strain on NHS staff and services. 

‘The NHS is stepping up to treat these conditions, but it’s clearly time for manufacturers and retailers to protect our children and young people by making further reductions in junk calories and excess sugar and salt that is quietly being added to processed food and drink.’