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Obesity hospital admissions triple in five years

WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

20th February 2013 - The number of patients admitted to hospitals in England because of obesity has tripled in the last five years, according to official figures released today.

There were 11,736 admissions with a primary diagnosis of obesity in 2011-12, 1% more than in the previous year and more than three times the 3,862 recorded in 2006-7.


A spokesman for the National Obesity Forum has described the findings - compiled by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) - as "tragic".

The number of females admitted because they are obese continues to outstrip males. There were 8,740 females admitted to hospital in 2011-12 compared with 2,990 males.

The North East of England saw the highest admission rate at 56 per 100,000 of the population, while the East of England saw the lowest rate at 12 per 100,000.

The report, 'Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England 2013', underlines warnings that we are becoming increasingly obese as a population. Between 1993 and 2011, the proportion of adults who are either overweight or obese has risen from 58% to 65% in men and from 49% to 58% in women.

During the same period the proportion of adults with a normal body mass index ( BMI) decreased from 41% to 34% in men and from 50% to 39% among women.

Among the other main findings:

  • There was a marked increase in the proportion of adults that were obese from 13% in 1993 to 24% in 2011 for men and from 16% in 1993 to 26% for women in 2011
  • The proportion of adults with a raised waist circumference increased from 20% to 34% among men and from 26% to 47% among women between 1993 and 2011
  • In 2011, around three in ten boys and girls (aged 2 to 15) were classed as either overweight or obese (31% and 28% respectively), which is very similar to the 2010 findings (31% for boys and 29% for girls)
  • In 2011/12, around one in ten pupils in Reception class (aged 4-5 years) were classified as obese (9.5%) which compares to around a fifth of pupils in year six (aged 10-11 years) (19.2%)

Fall in numbers of 'normal weight' adults

Tim Straughan, HSCIC chief executive, says in a statement: "It won’t have escaped the majority of people that obesity is a high profile issue in this country. This annual report is important in bringing clarity to how this actually affects people, patients and the NHS, from the weighing scales to the operating theatre.

"Based on the Body Mass Index measurement, the proportion of adults estimated to be of a normal weight has dropped substantially since this report’s time series began in 1993. This data, along with the breadth of other obesity related information in this report, will be of interest to the public as well as health professionals and policy makers."

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