Surge in hospital admissions in the city linked to obesity

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The number of people admitted to hospital for obesity-related reasons has surged among the city’s population, latest figures show.

An increase in hospital spells where obesity was recorded as a factor has raised fears of a health timebomb and rising strain on NHS services.

Figures released yesterday by NHS Digital show that in 2016-17, there were 8,862 admissions linked to obesity, up by almost 1,000 on the previous year.

Admissions where obesity was the direct cause of hospital admission also rose, from 45 in 2015-16 to 67 in the latest year for which figures are available.

Nationally, there was an 18 per cent rise in overall admissions, up to almost 617,000 in 2016-17 around England.

Health experts have warned of the long-term consequences of obesity. Dr Ian Cameron, Leeds City Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We know that maintaining a healthy weight is important for our overall health. It helps lower our risk of heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.

“By just making some small, realistic changes to our diet, we can make an important and positive impact on our weight.

“As we improve our obesity rates, we can help lower the pressures obesity-related ill health adds to health services, and more importantly help people to live healthier, longer lives.”

Leeds City Council said it signed up to a Child Healthy Weight Plan which sets out how health organisations will help families maintain a healthy weight. Dr Cameron added: “There is a range of excellent free support and advice available from the healthy living service, One You Leeds.”

More than a quarter of English adults are obese - including two per cent of men and four per cent of women who are classed as “morbidly obese”, meaning they have a body mass index (BMI) score of more than 40. Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity, at NHS England said: “We have been clear that the growing obesity crisis sweeping the country is a public health crisis and the evidence backs it up. Obesity is associated with heart attacks, cancer, Type 2 diabetes and a number of other illnesses – causing personal suffering and costing the health service and in turn the taxpayer, billions every year.”