Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Capital Loses [Pounds Sterling]900m a Year to Obesity. and Bill Is Rising Fast

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Capital Loses [Pounds Sterling]900m a Year to Obesity. and Bill Is Rising Fast

Article excerpt

Byline: Kiran Randhawa Health Correspondent

OBESITY is costing London nearly [pounds sterling]900 million a year in treatment costs and loss of earnings, figures reveal today.

In the first report exposing the financial toll of the problem in the capital, it also emerged that the growing number of dangerously overweight children could rapidly take the bill above [pounds sterling]1 billion.

Obese adults are costing the NHS in London [pounds sterling]883.6 million each year, based on the cost of treatment and loss of earnings due to illness and early deaths. Treating childhood obesity costs a further [pounds sterling]7.1 million annually, but experts say obese children will cost London's economy [pounds sterling]111 million each year if they remain obese into adulthood.

The cost of treatment, based on GP consultations, hospitals admissions and medicines prescribed for conditions caused by obesity, was calculated for the London Assembly. Primary care trusts in the capital spend [pounds sterling]13 billion a year on health services, but face increasing demand and a squeeze on their finances.

The Assembly today called on Boris Johnson to step in to tackle the problem of obesity.

James Cleverly, chairman of the health and public services committee, which published the findings, said: "We know now that treating childhood obesity already costs London millions of pounds, so something must be done to stop today's young people becoming obese adults."

The report says strategies such as encouraging walking, cycling, food growing and sports participation are not co-ordinated, and few focus exclusively on obesity-reduction.

Mr Cleverly said: "There is a strong case for the Mayor to intervene on this issue and we want to see a new obesity strategy for the capital.

"This will ensure action is taken in a co-ordinated way to address the different factors that set children on a path which has such damaging implications for them and society as a whole."

Childhood obesity levels in the capital are higher than the national average, with one in five youngsters classed as obese. …

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