Hospital admissions rise due to obesity

THERE has been a dramatic rise in the number of hospital admissions in Suffolk for problems caused by obesity, new figures show today.

Simon Tomlinson

THERE has been a dramatic rise in the number of hospital admissions in Suffolk for problems caused by obesity, new figures show today.

Over the last three years, the number of people needing care because they are overweight has more than doubled and has jumped by 80% in the last 12 months alone.

The figures relate to a primary diagnosis of obesity - for example, treatment for breathing problems, Type 2 diabetes, circulation, organ failure and heart disease.

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People admitted for weight-loss surgery such as stomach stapling are also included in the data.

The figures, released in a report by the NHS Information Centre, have been published a week after it emerged a 70-stone Ipswich man may be the world's heaviest.

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Paul Mason, 48, could have to make a 150-mile journey to hospital for specialist treatment in a private ambulance purpose-built for obese patients.

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said: “The obesity problem is like a tsunami - as it rolls across it gathers momentum and we are going to see more and more people in hospital. We are going to see more and more cases like Paul Mason.”

In Suffolk, there were 39 admissions for obesity in 2006-07, 49 in 2007-08 and 91 in 2008-09.

Last year, the EADT revealed that half of all people in Suffolk were overweight or obese, according to the East of England Strategic Health Authority.

The latest figures also come after the launch last November of the Healthy Ambitions campaign, which aims to make Suffolk the healthiest county by 2028.

Dr Andrew Hassan, medical director at NHS Suffolk, said: “Until we fully examine this data it is difficult to comment on the details.

“However, we do know that level of obesity in adults in Suffolk is not significantly higher than that in the East of England region.

“There are many health risks associated with obesity. For this reason, tackling it is one of our major priorities and why NHS Suffolk and more than 20 partner organisations in the county have launched Healthy Ambitions Suffolk.

“Working in partnership, we have in place a number of initiatives to help people lose weight and encourage them to make small lifestyle changes that could make a real difference to their wellbeing - such as the new child weight management service and Slimmer's' World on prescription.”

In England, there were 8,085 admissions for obesity in 2008/09 - a 60% rise on 2007/08 (5,056) and a 360% rise on 2003/04 (1,746).

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