Children are getting fatter - report

Children in this region are continuing to get fatter, while dozens of adults had to have surgery for weight loss this year.Nationally, NHS cases of bariatric surgery - which includes stomach stapling, gastric bypasses and sleeve gastrectomy - were up 40pc to 2,724 in 2007-8.

Children in this region are continuing to get fatter, while dozens of adults had to have surgery for weight loss this year.

Nationally, NHS cases of bariatric surgery - which includes stomach stapling, gastric bypasses and sleeve gastrectomy - were up 40pc to 2,724 in 2007-8. In the East of England 118 people had NHS surgery for obesity, of which 89 were women. The region had one of the lowest rates for these procedures in the country - in Yorkshire and the Humber they were five times higher, but this is partly because of easier access to surgery, not just because people there are fatter.

In the East of England and across the south-east people can only have the surgery at seven specialist hospital centres - seven in London plus Luton and Dunstable. It is not carried out in Norfolk on the NHS.

Michael Rhodes, a consultant surgeon at the N&N and at Spire Hospital in Norwich, does 60-70 weight loss operations a year through his private work. He said it was difficult to get the surgery on the NHS, but there was rising demand for it, partly because people are getting fatter.


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He said: 'People are getting fatter, people are getting sicker. There is also more awareness of the surgery because of television and people like Fern Britton who have had gastric bands.'

North Norfolk MP and Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: 'This is yet more frightening evidence of the dramatic impact of the obesity crisis, both in terms of the impact on individuals and the cost to the NHS. Effective action to tackle obesity is long overdue.'

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Yesterday's report from the NHS Information Centre also shows that boys have been getting steadily fatter over the last decade, although this trend has slowed for girls. In the East of England in 2005-7, 30pc of boys aged two to 15 were overweight or obese, just over half of whom were obese. There has been a steady rise since 1996-98 when 26pc were overweight or obsess. But among girls, 25pc on the region were overweight or obese in 2005-7, just over half of which were obese. This is down from 27pc in 96-98 and 28pc in 2002-4. In general this is neither the slimmest not the fattest region in the country. Nationally 59pc of people in this region were overweight or obese in 2007, compared to 61pc nationally.

Tim Straughan, chief executive of the NHS Information Centre, said: 'The report highlights the scale of the country's obesity problem and shows increasing NHS treatment using weight-loss surgery and medications.'

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