Figures published by NHS Digital have revealed that there were more than 1 million people admitted to hospital for obesity-related treatment in the year leading up to the global pandemic, the highest number ever.
This is a 17% increase when compared to the year before, or 150,000 more people. Women accounted for 64% of the total figure.
Obesity is one of the most significant risk factors for severe COVID symptoms and experts say this should be a wake-up call for tackling the epidemic in the UK.
Although it is clear that the obesity problem is getting worse, the pandemic has meant that NHS waiting lists have reached their highest ever level and fewer bariatric procedures are being performed.
Not only is obesity a risk factor for severe COVID symptoms, but there are also several other weight-related health conditions including type II diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnoea that can be fatal if left untreated.
What is being done?
With these figures rising at an alarming rate as well as NHS waiting lists reaching their highest ever level, pressure is piling on the government to address the obesity problem.
A landmark government proposal has been introduced to ban junk-food advertising online and on social media, and the prime minister has been urged by doctors and academics to stick to it. The government also plans to introduce a ban on junk-food ads on TV before 9 pm.
The damage done by the pandemic will inevitably take some time to recover from and it is unclear whether we will see a rise in bariatric procedures on the NHS in the coming years to tackle the obesity problem. We have published on this topic extensively, you can read an article about your chances of having weight loss surgery on the NHS below.
What’s clear is that government must put in place initiatives to educate people from an early age about the complications of obesity. We need to prevent the problem rather than react to it.
Weight loss surgery remains the best long-term solution to obesity, and has been proved to reduce and even reverse weight-related health conditions such as type II diabetes. If you’re daunted by the NHS waiting list for elective surgery, why not give our team a call or fill in the form below to get your quote?