Obese women 'placing increasing burden on NHS'

Obese women are placing an increasing burden on the NHS, new figures show.

Hospital admissions due to obesity have soared and women are accounting for the lion's share of hospital spells, according to new data from NHS Digital.

More than a quarter (26%) of English adults are obese - including 2% of men and 4% of women who are classed as "morbidly obese", meaning they have a body mass index (BMI) score of over 40.

New figures from the health service data watchdog show that across England, hospital admissions directly attributable to obesity rose by 8% between 2015/16 and 2016/17.

There were 10,705 admissions where obesity was recorded as the main cause of admission, an increase on 9,929 admissions the previous year.

Almost three in every four patients (72%) were female.

Meanwhile, the number of hospital admissions where obesity was listed as a factor also increased significantly.

There were 617,000 admissions to English NHS hospitals in 2016/17 where obesity was recorded as either a primary or secondary diagnosis -  an 18% rise from 2015/16 when there were 525,000 admissions.

Two in every three patients (66%) were female, according to NHS Digital's latest report.

There were 6,700 bariatric surgeries conducted in hospitals across England in 2016/17 - 77% of these procedures were carried out on women.

Bariatric surgery is an umbrella term for a group of procedures which help a person lose weight - including stomach stapling, gastric bypasses and gastric band maintenance.

In England, 30% of women are overweight and 27% are obese.

Two in five men (40%) are overweight and 26% are obese.

The figures also provide data on physical activity levels and diet.

According to NHS Digital, a third of men and 42% of women did not meet the recommended weekly activity levels in 2016.

And 21% of men and a quarter of women were classed as "inactive".

Meanwhile, only around a quarter of adults - 24% of men and 28% of women - consumed the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day in 2016.

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