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Obesity-related hospital admissions rise by nearly 20%

Extra 617,000 cases in 2016-17 compared with previous year; two thirds were among women

Caroline White

Wednesday, 04 April 2018

Hospital admissions in which obesity was either the primary or secondary diagnosis were 18% higher in 2016-17 than they were in 2015-16, reveal the latest figures from NHS Digital issued today.

Two thirds of the cases were among women.

In 2016-17 there were 617,000 obesity-related admissions to NHS hospitals in compared with 525,000 the previous year.

Of these, 10,705 admissions had obesity recorded as the main cause, an increase of 9,929 such admissions for 2015-16.

Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet; England, 2018 is an annual compendium of new and previously published figures on obesity, including hospital admissions, prescription items, prevalence among adults and children as well as physical activity and diet.

The latest figures from the Hospital Episodes Statistics dataset in the report show that around two thirds of the admissions where obesity was recorded as either a primary or secondary diagnosis in 2016-17 were among women (66%).

There were 6,760 Finished Consultant Episodes for bariatric surgery in 2016-17, an increase of 5% on 2015-16 when there were 6,438. Of these, more than three quarters (77%) of the patients were female.

The number of items prescribed in primary care for obesity treatment fell by 10% in 2017 (401,000 items) compared with the previous year (449,000). The Net Ingredient Cost also continues the same downward trend, falling from £9.9m in 2016 to £6.9m in 2017.

The prevalence of adult obesity stood at 26% in 2016, and has not budged since 2010. But prevalence continues to vary according to level of deprivation, although this was only true for women, among whom prevalence is almost twice as high among those living in the most deprived areas (38%) compared with those living in the least deprived (20%).

In 2016-17 one in 10 children in reception year and one in five in year six were obese, the figures show.

Too few people are meeting the government’s physical activity recommendations: two thirds of men and just over half (58%) of women aged 19 and over met the government’s aerobic guidelines in 2016.

And around one in five men (21%) and one in four women were classified as inactive in 2016.

The proportion of children meeting government physical activity guidelines rose from 21% in 2012 to 23% in 2015 for boys, and from 16% in 2012 to 20% in 2015 for girls.

But only one in four (24%) men and 28% of women managed the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day in 2016. The figures for children were even worse and indicate a downward trend: only 16% of children ate their five portions in 2016. This compares with nearly one in four (23%) in 2014.

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