Obesity an increasing factor in hospital admissions

Admissions to NHS hospitals, where obesity was recorded as either a primary or secondary diagnosis, increased by 15% (94,000) in 2017/18 compared to 2016/17.

The Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England, 2019, an annual collection of new and previously published figures on obesity, includes hospital admissions, prescription items, and prevalence among adults and children as well as physical activity and diet.

Regarding new hospital admissions, the report shows that:

  • around two thirds of the admissions where obesity was recorded as either a primary or secondary diagnosis in 2017/18 were for women (66%)
  • of the 6,627 Finished Consultant Episodes (FCEs)5 for bariatric surgery in 2017/186, 79% of the patients were female.

The number of items prescribed by primary care for obesity treatment decreased by 8% from 401,000 items in 2017 to 371,000 items in 2018, continuing a downward trend since a peak of 1.45 million items in 2009.

The Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) saw an increase for the first time in five years, rising from £6.9m in 2017 to £8.1m in 2018.

Regarding obesity prevalence, figures demonstrated that:

  • adult obesity prevalence stood at 29% in 2017, an increase from 26% in 2016
  • prevalence of child obesity in both Reception and Year 6 was over twice as high in the most deprived areas than in the least deprived areas; 13% compared to 6% in reception year, and 27% compared to 12% in Year 6.

Data on physical activity and diet showed that:

  • 68% of men and 64% of women aged 19 and over met the government’s physical activity guidelines for adults in 2017/1813
  • 21% of men and 23% of women were classed as inactive in 2017/18
  • 20% of boys and 14% of girls were meeting the government’s physical activity guidelines for children
  • Women (32%) were more likely to consume the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, than men (26%)15
  • 18% of children consumed the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day in 2017.