Soaring cost to treat obesity problems in Wigan

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Obesity could have cost the Wigan borough almost half a million pounds on surgery alone last year, new figures have revealed,

In 2016, more than 4,700 Wigan residents were seen by medical professionals for problems relating to obesity.

At a rate of 1.505 people per 100,000 in the population, this far exceeds the national average of 995.

Data released from NHS England, recorded the number of bariatric procedures- which includes gastric bands, bypasses and balloons, showing that 30 patients in 2015/16 underwent surgery as a result of their weight.

Wigan women represented 80 per cent of those requiring surgery, with 24 out of the 30 operations performed throughout the 12 month period compared to just eight on men.

Bariatric procedures can range anywhere from £4.000 to £15,000 with gastric balloons coming in cheapest and gastric bypasses proving the most costly.

Wigan council has pledged to continue its commitment to obesity in the borough, with a focus on targeting people at a younger age to prevent complications later in life.

Prof Kate Ardern, director of public health, said: “ Wigan Council commits to supporting residents to lead healthy lifestyles and tackle obesity issues through a comprehensive weight management system across children and adults services, which includes Lose Weight Feel Great and Let’s get Movin’. We continue to work hard to reduce obesity figures and the need for bariatric surgery through these services.

“We strongly believe that through the Deal for Health and Wellness, prevention and early intervention work with children and young people is the best way to promote healthier lifestyles long term. We work with children and young people from birth to 17 years in through our Let’s Get Movin’ programme provided by Inspiring healthy lifestyles, supporting early years providers, primary schools and secondary schools. We also have 52 schools signed up to the Daily Mile, with over 9,000 children completed physical activity every day across the borough.”

Despite the growing obesity crisis across the UK, the number of prescriptions being handed out for obesity-related issues has declined over a two-year period in the borough.

Prof Ardern added: “We’re very pleased that obesity levels continue to fall across Wigan Borough.”

As part of the council’s Lose Weight Feel Great, the borough’s total weight loss since 2009 is more than 14,285st.