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Newham facing 'epidemic' with rising obesity, NHS shock figures reveal

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 May 2019

Obesity 'epidemic' hits Newham with 3,500 new cases diagnosed in just 12 months. Picture: Clara Molden/PA

Obesity 'epidemic' hits Newham with 3,500 new cases diagnosed in just 12 months. Picture: Clara Molden/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

People are going to hospital with obese conditions at "epidemic" rates in east London, NHS figures for Newham reveal.

As many as 1,000 were diagnosed for obesity for every 100,000 of the population in just 12 months up to March last year.

That means an estimated 3,500 diagnosed during that period in a population totalling 348,000.

That's a rise of more than 40 new patients than the previous 12 months when the rate was 961-in-10,000 and higher than all comparable figures over the past six years.

There were 2,235 patients treated between April 2017 and the following March, seven out of 10 of them women. Obesity was the primary cause for 70 of those admitted to hospital.

"These figures are a wake-up call on what is needed to combat this epidemic," the Local Government Association's Ian Hudspeth said.

"Obesity is one of our most serious public health challenges. Local authorities are making efforts to fight obesity, but their public health budgets have fallen by £700m in real terms since 2015—that needs to be reversed if they are to reduce health inequalities between different areas."

There are many conditions where obesity is listed as the secondary cause of having to go into hospital.

The national figures show the most common causes are joint problems such as arthritis, or health issues in pregnancy where a woman is obese.

Gallstones, and heart disease contributing to obesity were also high on the list of secondary diagnoses.

Hospital admissions across the country for obesity-related conditions jumped by 15pc last year. There were 711,000 in 2017-18, a rise of 617,000 from the year before.

Public Health Minister Seema Kennedy said: "This data shows the devastating consequences of obesity for the patients and for the NHS.

"Prevention is always better than a cure and we are already taking action to protect the health of our next generation with plans to reduce children's exposure to sugary and fatty foods and to get them moving more in school each day."

The Newham data also shows that 50 people admitted to hospital for bariatric weight loss surgery, more than three-quarters of them were women.

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