Suffolk NHS counts cost of obesity

WEIGHT problems in Suffolk will cost the NHS £162.5million a year in less than a decade, it emerged today.The Department of Health has warned that the costs of diseases related to obesity and being overweight are spiralling.

WEIGHT problems in Suffolk will cost the NHS £162.5million a year in less than a decade, it emerged today.

The Department of Health has warned that the costs of diseases related to obesity and being overweight are spiralling.

Last year, obesity cost the NHS in Suffolk £76m, in 2010 it is estimated it will cost £82.3m and by 2015 £94.5m.

When the costs of being overweight are added to the figure it becomes £146.4m, £152m and £162.5m respectively.

Sally Hogg, head of health improvement partnerships at NHS Suffolk, the county's primary care trust, said the figures showed drastic and urgent action was needed to tackle to problem.

She said: “It is a lot of money. We have to look at it in terms of what it is going to cost but you can't measure the impact on people's lives.

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“Drastic measures are needed.

“We're starting off with childhood obesity which is going to be one of our top targets.

“We're getting data from weighing and measuring children in reception and year six. That will give an indication of what parts of the county have most prevalence.

“That will enable us to put the services, like the MEND programme which is proven to work, in the right place.

“Everybody needs to do more. This problem is everybody's business which is why we need to do more.

“Tackling obesity is a high priority for us and we hope the costs won't be as high as have been predicted.

“But obviously it is a long-term problem and you can't reverse it incredibly quickly.”

The latest data in Suffolk shows that 8.5per cent of five-year-olds and 18pc of 11-year-olds are obese.

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