Fat-related hospital admissions soaring in the Black Country and Staffordshire
The number of hospital admissions due to obesity in the Black Country and Staffordshire has increased by more than 30 per cent, new figures show.
There was a total of 360 admissions to the region's hospitals in 2014/15 where obesity was the main reason for a person being admitted or was a secondary factor.
This was up from 270 during the previous 12 months — an increase of around 33 per cent— according to the report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
It is mirroring the national picture which has seen a record number of admissions due to obesity, a situation which has been branded 'extremely worrying'.
In the Black Country, Sandwell saw the highest number of people admitted because of their weight in 2014/15 with 73 cases recorded. There were 41 in Wolverhampton, 36 in Walsall and 34 in Dudley. While there were 106 patients admitted in Staffordshire during the 12-month period.
Across the country there were 440,288 admissions to England's hospitals in 2014/15. Of these, 3,357 were for children aged under 16 compared with just 1,506 in 2004/05.
Izzi Seccombe, community well-being spokeswoman for the Local Government Association, which represents councils that have a responsibility for public health, said: "These are extremely worrying figures that illustrate the scale of the challenge we face in the fight against obesity.
"But the problem will only get worse unless we take urgent action, with the number of obese adults in the country forecast to soar by a staggering 73 per cent to 26 million people over the next 20 years.
"The fact that the number of admissions for children has more than doubled since 2004/5 underlines why it is vital that the Government uses its forthcoming childhood obesity strategy to address what is now one of the major health dangers of the 21st century.
"Obesity leads to serious health conditions later on in life, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and is costing the NHS around £5 billion a year.
"Councils have long been calling for action to tackle obesity, such as clearer labelling of sugar content, calorie counts on menus, and sugar reduction in soft drinks. We cannot delay tackling this issue any longer."
Figures released in January showed that more than a third of children leaving primary school in the West Midlands are obese or overweight.
Figures from the National Child Measurement Programme revealed around 36 per cent – around 23,500 – of Year 6 children in the region are obese or overweight, which is above the national average of 33.2 per cent.
In Wolverhampton, 26.3 per cent of Year 6 children were classed as obese. Sandwell, Walsall and Dudley were slightly lower with 24.5, 24.4 and 24.3 per cent respectively.
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