Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Obesity Problem Is Getting Bigger; the North East's Growing Burden to Tackle Weight-Loss

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Obesity Problem Is Getting Bigger; the North East's Growing Burden to Tackle Weight-Loss

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Rowley

MORE people were taken to hospital with obesity-related illnesses in the North East last year than anywhere else in the country.

Despite efforts to tackle the epidemic, 40 in every 100,000 people in the region were admitted with a diagnosis relating to obesity last year.

This slightly outstripped the rate in the East Midlands and London. But the South West, South central and North West regions had a far lower rate. Nationwide, the number of people taken to hospital for obesity has risen almost ten-fold in a decade.

The figures, covering the 2010-11 financial year, have been released by the NHS Information Centre. They showed that 218 men and 834 women in the region were hospitalised by their obesity last year and a further 112 men and 437 women in the North East had to go under the knife for weight-loss surgery. The procedures, known as bariatric surgery, include stomach stapling and gastric bypasses. More people in the North East had the operations relative to the region's size than anywhere else in England, except the East Midlands and London.

And the NHS expects the number to double over the next few years.

The Journal launched its Great North Fitness Revolution campaign last year together with Nova International, organisers of the Great North Run, to encourage Northerners to live healthier lifestyles.

More than a quarter of people in the region are currently classed as obese.

Gemma Graham, 27, who works for Newcastle's O PR, lost two stone before her wedding last year. She shed the weight in months by going to a bootcamp for three "intensive" hours a week. She said she would recommend the regime to others looking to lose weight. Speaking about the statistics, she added: "You would think we would be a little more health conscious. It surprises me because as a region I think we are passionate about sport and are home to the Great North Run and other charity events. …

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