Obesity figures on the rise
STAGGERING figures of obesity is putting an enormous toll on the NHS, a Suffolk health chief has warned.The alarm was sounded as new figures showed people in East Anglia were typically heavier for their height compared to the national average.
STAGGERING figures of obesity is putting an enormous toll on the NHS, a Suffolk health chief has warned.
The alarm was sounded as new figures showed people in East Anglia were typically heavier for their height compared to the national average.
Now Dr Tony Jewell, Director of Public Health at Suffolk Strategic Health Authority (SHA), has spoken out about the alarming new figures which confirm that, despite moves to encourage people into healthier lifestyles, childhood obesity levels are still rising.
Mr Jewell said: "The obesity epidemic risks reversing all the gains we have made in reducing circulatory diseases in the last 30 years.
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"The causes of obesity are a society-wide problem, but it is the NHS which will have to pick up the bill.
"Over the coming months and years we will be looking to work more closely with local government and other partners to develop prevention strategies, especially aimed at young people."
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New figures have revealed that the average body mass index (BMI) for men and women in East Anglia has increased between 1994 and 2002.
The index calculates whether people are a healthy weight for their height, with a figure of more than 25 indicating they are overweight and more than 30 showing they are obese.
The average BMI for men in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire in 2002 to 2002 was 26.9 - higher than the 26.8 average for England.
For women the figures were even higher with an average BMI of 27 compared to 26.6.
One of the risks associated with obesity is the onset of diabetes.
There are an estimated 1.4 million people in the UK with diabetes and another one million undiagnosed.
It is also estimated that diabetes treatment, often due to obesity, now accounts for around five per cent of the NHS budget, a figure estimated to rise to ten pc by 2010.
Dr Gareth Richards, president of the Suffolk division of the British Medical Association said: "Being obese does increase your chance of heart disease, arthritis and diabetes and we are particularly alarmed by the increase in type two diabetes in children which is entirely related to obesity."
The region's SHA is leading the drive to tackle the problem by supporting the delivery of the National Service Framework (NSF) across the county, working mainly through primary care trusts.
The NSF aims to improve diabetes detection, identify at risk patients and provide advice on diet, smoking and physical activity.
A full copy of the national report can be found at: