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Obesity-related admissions in Cambridgeshire soar over three years

By Gemma Gardner

Addenbrookes front entrance. Picture: Keith Heppell
Addenbrookes front entrance. Picture: Keith Heppell

Obesity-related hospital admissions in Cambridgeshire have more than doubled over the past three years, latest figures show.

More patients are being admitted for knee and hip replacements due to their weight, as well as other obesity-related conditions.

There were 7,022 admissions in 2016-17 where obesity was the main or secondary diagnosis – an increase of 3,625 from 2013-14, when NHS Digital first started compiling the data for local authorities.

Examples of obesity being the main cause for a hospital admission include weight-related knee replacements, while secondary diagnoses – where obesity is a contributing factor – can be forms of cancer and heart conditions.

Caroline Cerny, Obesity Health Alliance lead, said the figures were “very concerning”.

“As weight increases, so do the chances of developing serious life-threatening conditions like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer,” she explained.

“Dealing with rising levels of disease is putting an unsustainable strain on our already over-stretched health service.”

More women were admitted than men in 2016-17. There were 3,986 admissions for women with obesity-related health problems, compared to 3,036 for men.

Miss Cerny continued: “This data is a stark reminder of exactly why we need measures like the forthcoming Soft Drinks Levy.

“But it’s clear that this alone won’t be enough to tackle rising obesity levels so we need the government to take further action to create a healthier environment for all, starting with tougher new rules to limit junk food advertising.”

There were 23 operations for bariatric surgery in Cambridgeshire in 2016-17, which is the most extreme weight loss treatment – 10 women underwen the surgery and 13 men.

This includes stomach stapling and gastric bypasses. Recent evidence has shown bariatric surgery is very effective and could save the NHS money in the long term.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “There’s no doubt that obesity fuels disease and puts pressure on the NHS.

“That’s why we’re working with industry to make food healthier and funding research into the root causes of obesity, but we have not ruled out doing more in the future if the right results aren’t seen.”


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