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Rise in obese hospital patients

17th November 2011

Welsh hospitals are faced with having to deal with a rising number of obese patients, according to new figures.


The number of cases where obesity is considered a significant factor has gone up every year since at least 2006 and the age of those with obesity-related conditions is getting lower.

In 2007, obesity was a factor in fewer than 3,000 cases but this had risen to more than 4,500 by 2010 and looks likely to increase again in 2011.

The 2010 Welsh health survey showed that 57% of adults in the country were overweight or obese.

Wales’ chief medical officer Dr Tony Jewell said: “The message is that obesity is a big public health problem and it's not good that we have got over half the adult population that's obese or overweight.”

While the Welsh government is targeting different age groups Dr Jewell said that it is a problem that cannot be tackled by the NHS on its own.

“It has to be tackled through the food industry and legislation as well as people taking their own action,” he said.

NHS dietician Sioned Quirke said there were now cases of patients in their 30s being treated for the effects of heart disease, while knee and hip replacement operations were now carried out on patients in their 40s.

A Welsh government-commissioned study by Swansea University calculated that obesity was costing the NHS in Wales £73m each year.

Ceri Phillips, professor of health economics at Swansea University, said government, schools and parents - needed to work together to tackle the problem.


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