HEALTH chiefs have warned that a feared obesity epidemic would dramatically increase the number of Wiganers with kidney disease.
One in four adults in Wigan are currently classed as clinically obese, with that figure predicted to jump to around half the population by the year 2050.
Around 100 Wiganers currently require dialysis - an artificial replacement for lost kidney function, a figure which, health professionals say, will soar should obesity continue to rise at its current rate.
Now Prof Kate Arden, director of public health for Wigan, is urging local people to make themselves aware of the risks associated with being very overweight.
She said: “We have a significant obesity issue here in Wigan borough with one in four adults classed as clinically obese.
“That’s down slightly but still high. Obesity can have a huge health impact and is associated with many serious medical conditions.
“We’re working hard to encourage people to take action if they are obese and support them in losing weight.
“There are many weight loss schemes available and I’d encourage people to sign up if they are worried about their weight. They can find out more from their GP.
“Eating a variety of foods can help you manage your weight, improve general wellbeing and reduce the risk of conditions including heart disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes and osteoporosis (thin bones). All you need to do is eat sensibly, choosing a range of foods in the correct proportions. Locally levels of healthy eating have improved over the last few years but rates are still well below the national average.”
As part of National Obesity Week which runs all this week, experts have warned that by 2050 up to half the UK population could be obese which could leave the country in the grip of a kidney health crisis.
Although kidney disease can affect anyone, its leading causes are high blood pressure and diabetes.
The chances of developing high blood pressure and type two diabetes increase if somebody is overweight or obese.
As a result, 10 per cent to 40 per cent of people with type two diabetes will eventually suffer kidney failure.
The NHS spends £1.45bn treating kidney disease in England, the equivalent of £1 in every £77 spent.