Record number of hospital admissions in Wigan due to obesity-related conditions

People are going to hospital with obesity-related conditions at record rates in Wigan, figures show.

Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 8:40 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 9:40 am
A Government minister said the figures highlight the devastating consequences of the condition for patients and the NHS

In the 12 months to March 2018, the rate was 2,793 people treated for obesity as a primary or secondary diagnosis for every 100,000 residents, according to the latest NHS data.

That’s up on the previous 12 months when it was 2,361, and higher than all comparable figures back to 2013.

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A Government minister said the figures highlight the “devastating consequences” of the condition for patients and the NHS.

In 2017-18, 8,915 patients were treated and 58 per cent were women. For 45 of those admitted to hospital, obesity was the primary cause.

There are many conditions where obesity is listed as the secondary cause of time in hospital.

The national figures show the most common are joint problems such as arthritis, or health issues in pregnancy where the woman was obese.

Gallstones, and heart disease contributed to by obesity, were also high on the list of secondary diagnoses.

Across England the number of obesity-related admission has jumped by 15 per cent. In 2017-18, there were around 711,000, up from 617,000 the year before. That’s a rate of 1,323 per 100,000 people.

There are very wide variations across the country. Wokingham has the lowest rate, 313 per 100,000 people, but in Wirral it’s 11 times higher.

The data also shows that 35 people in Wigan were admitted to hospital for weight loss (bariatric) surgery and nearly three-quarters of them were women.

Prof Kate Ardern, director of public health at Wigan Council said: “Obesity is extremely complex and rates can fluctuate for a number of reasons.

“We are committed to providing a solution to these challenges by working directly with schools, health partners and the community to provide advice and education opportunities to all residents.

“Our Lose Weight Feel Great and Lose Weight Feel Great for Men programmes have had a huge uptake since their inception, with more than 22,000 adults signing up to the schemes collectively.

“The programmes have also encouraged a number of individuals to be directed away from the possibility bariatric surgery due to gaining knowledge, skills and tools to manage their weight in a different way.

“Last year, the team responsible for keeping the borough’s streets and parks clean took part in the Lose Weight Feel Great for Men programme and in addition to raising £1,000 for charity, they shed more than eight stone between them, which is absolutely fantastic!

“We work closely with Inspiring healthy lifestyles to encourage those signed up to our weight loss schemes to take up activities they are comfortable with such as touch football, team fitness or one to one sessions.

“We understand that there is always room for improvement, but as part of The Deal for Health and Wellness, we are committed to ensuring residents of all ages lead active and healthy lives in a way that is suited to them.”

To find out more about Lose Weight Feel Great, visit

Public Health Minister Seema Kennedy said: “This data shines a light on the devastating consequences of obesity - both for individuals and for the NHS.

“Prevention is always better than a cure and we are already taking action to protect the health of our next generation, with plans to reduce children’s exposure to sugary and fatty foods and get them moving more in school each day.

“I am committed to reversing these worrying trends and we will be exploring other solutions through our prevention green paper later this year.”

Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community well-being board, said: “Obesity is one of our most serious public health challenges and these figures are a wake-up call on what is needed to help combat this epidemic.

“Councils are leading efforts to fight obesity but have seen their public health funding budgets fall by £700 million in real terms since 2015/16, which needs to be reversed in the upcoming spending review if they are to continue this cost-effective work and reduce health inequalities between different areas.