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Tuesday 25th June 2019

Obesity and drinking costs £140m a year

31st March 2011

New research has shown that obesity and excessive drinking cost the NHS in Wales more than £140m each year.


And the study from Swansea University warned that excessive drinking and obesity needed to be tackled at a time of budgetary constraints.

Chief medical officer for Wales Dr Tony Jewell said both were preventable health issues and people had to take responsibility for their own actions.

The study, commissioned by the Welsh assembly government, revealed that obesity costs the NHS in Wales £73m (equivalent to £25-£29 person) and excessive alcohol consumption costs between £69.9m and £73.3m (£24 per person).

Dr Jewell said: “In addition to legislation and pricing mechanisms people need to understand the health and social risks that come from the choices they make and take responsibility for their own health and making informed lifestyle choices.

“People rightly expect the NHS to be there when they get ill, but we need to reinforce the message that they also need to help the NHS by taking responsibility for their own actions.”

Prof Ceri Phillips, from the study team, said some 3% of NHS Wales spending, increasing to 10% if smoking is included, could be attributed to people’s “lifestyle behaviours.”

“Wales continues to have high levels of alcohol abuse, obesity and other lifestyle behaviours relative to other countries, despite the efforts and successes of organisations to address behaviours that have major implications for people’s health,” he said.

The Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs said there was a need to look at the underlying problems of why people drink.


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