High obesity rates alert

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DOCTORS have repeated their warnings about the dangers of obesity after figures revealed hospital staff see more patients in Doncaster with conditions related to the condition than almost anywhere else.

Figures released by the NHS Information Centre for Social for Health and Social Care reveal Doncaster to have the worst figures for admissions to hospital due to obesity in the North of England, with only one area faring worse in the whole of England.

The report reveals 2011/12 saw 8,206 patients admitted to hospital in the Doncaster Primary Care Trust area due to obesity.

Most of those - 5,227 - were female, while 2,979 were male.

The figures represent both primary and secondary diagnoses of obesity.

The Doncaster figure dwarfs the statistics for the neighbouring Rotherham - 1,928 people - and Barnsley, with 1,142.

Only Hertfordshire saw a higher figure with 8,516.

Senior doctors said they were aware of the problem in the borough, and warned obesity could have serious effects on health.

But NHS bosses stressed they are working to deal with the problem.

Dr Shivani Dewan, a consultant physician with a special interest in diabetes for Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Unfortunately, we do have a high percentage of people in our local community who are classed as obese. This means they have a body mass index of over 30.

“These people are at increased risk of developing a range of other medical conditions because of their weight. These include type two diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

“They can also develop respiratory conditions, for example sleep apnoea and asthma.

“Arthritis also becomes an issue, and women can develop problems with their menstrual cycle which can affect their fertility. There are also associated cancer risks in people with a BMI of over 30.

“For people who are concerned about their weight, there is a free service called Healthy Weight Solutions commissioned by the Primary Care Trust and led by the trust’s nutrition and dietetic department.”

The Healthy Weight Solutions service is a free specialist weight management service for anyone in the Doncaster area who wants to have a healthier lifestyle.

The service is led by Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals’ nutrition and dietetics department and commissioned by NHS Doncaster.

People can be referred into the service by their GP or self-refer by calling 0800 917 6264.

There are two options available - group support led by trained dietetic assistants, or individual support from a team of dietitians, physiotherapists, physical activity advisors and cognitive behaviour therapists.

Since the service first started three years ago, more than 3,000 people have been referred into it.

A hospital spokesman said: “The benefit of this service is the support given from the different professionals. We have found the vast majority of people lose weight in the service, and are pleased with their outcome.”

A spokesman for NHS Doncaster said: “We are surprised by the figures. We do know that Doncaster has high rates of obesity but it is unusual to see that they’re four times higher than our neighbours. We need to investigate this further to get a better understanding as it could be that different areas record their data in different ways.”