December 9 2013 Latest news:
Lizzie Parry, health reporter
Thursday, September 5, 2013
More must be done to combat the spiralling problem of obesity, a health minister warned today.
Dr Dan Poulter spoke out after shock figures uncovered by The Star found that increasing numbers of patients are being treated at Ipswich Hospital for extreme obesity.
Our investigation found that the number of patients admitted to the Health Road hospital for treatment where their weight was recorded as a significant factor has rocketed by 183% in only five years. The Freedom of Information figures show that in 2008/09, 683 patients were admitted with obesity recorded in their notes – compared with a staggering 1,936 last year.
Dr Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said: “These figures must act as a warning shot across the bows of a growing problem.
“Even though this is a small percentage of the total number of patients admitted at the hospital each year, it may be that there is under-reporting in the number of patients who are recorded as being obese.
“It is very alarming that for nearly 2,000 patients a primary health problem relating to their hospital admission is obesity.”
Patients who are obese or severely overweight – a fact determined by their Body Mass Index (BMI) – face a greater risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, suffering increased blood pressure putting them at risk of heart attacks and stroke, as well as a greater recovery period after surgery.
Dr Alan Murray, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for health, said: “Obesity is unlikely to be the primary diagnosis and reason for admission.
“But obesity will be a complicating factor in a patient’s admission, their treatment and their length of stay and recovery time.
“People who are overweight or obese are more prone to chest infections, they are more likely to have diabetes, their mobility is likely to be restricted and they are more likely to suffer deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism (a blockage of the main artery of the lung).
“People will often shrug off their weight until they suffer a severe health problem and end up in hospital.”
Dr Poulter added: “Clearly there is work to be done throughout Suffolk in helping to encourage people to make better lifestyle choices, to encourage people to eat and drink sensibly and ensure that they take regular exercise.
“The county council now has primary responsibility and the budget for public health to help, among other things, develop a long-term strategic view to reduce obesity in Suffolk.
“And I know they will be working closely with the hospital to achieve that.”
Are you surprised at the figures? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich. IP4 1A or email firstname.lastname@example.org