These four charts show the obesity crisis in Norfolk and Suffolk

Overweight and obese people are far more likely to need NHS treatment, putting strain on hospitals.

Overweight and obese people are far more likely to need NHS treatment, putting strain on hospitals. Photo: Clara Molden/PA Wire - Credit: PA

'Obesity is the new smoking... piling on the pounds around our children's waistlines is piling on billions in future NHS costs. We now spend more on obesity than on the police and fire service combined.'

Healthy food is mostly cheaper than junk food. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Healthy food is mostly cheaper than junk food. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Those were the words last year of NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens.

Health leaders have long struggled to stem the tide of obesity and the problems the NHS faces because of it have gone under the radar.

A Norfolk County Council report into obesity in 2015 warned obesity levels, currently around 25pc, were likely to increase in the coming years due to Norfolk's ageing population.

The NHS gives advice about weight loss. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The NHS gives advice about weight loss. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire - Credit: PA

These four charts, put together using data released by NHS Digital last week, show what is happening in Norfolk and Suffolk.


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•The rise in obesity admissions

https://infogr.am/obesity_figures-3

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This table shows just how much the strain obesity puts on the NHS is exploding. The total number of hospital admissions for obesity in Norfolk and Suffolk has gone up by 62pc in three years from 10,356 to 16,790 in 2015/16.

The numbers have gone up everywhere, but are particularly sharp in Ipswich and East Suffolk as well as West Suffolk.

•Which areas have the most hospital admissions?

https://infogr.am/copy_obesity_figures

This table uses the same figures as above but takes into account population sizes, so it shows how many people per 100,000 went to hospital because of obesity in 2015/16. Some areas do not have separate numbers for men and women but the problem is far more common in women than in men.

The figures are for Clinical Commissioning Group areas in 2015/16. Women in West Norfolk are the most likely to be admitted to hospital with obesity as one of the two main diagnoses, while Norwich and North Norfolk have the lowest rates.

•The extreme solution

https://infogr.am/bariatric_surgery

This chart shows how many full consultations were carried out for bariatric surgery where the patient was obese - the most extreme solution for dealing with it. Bariatric surgery includes stomach stapling and gastric bypasses. They are done in a very small number of cases, as the numbers show, with all areas in Norfolk and Suffolk below the English average.

Yarmouth and Waveney had the highest number per 100,000 of population.

•Taking the medicine

https://infogr.am/prescription-2198

There are less extreme ways than surgery to treat obesity. This chart shows the number of prescriptions given for treating obesity by Clinical Commissioning Group area for every 1,000 people. Every item written on a prescription form counts as a prescription item in these numbers.

North Norfolk has the highest number of prescriptions items per 1,000 people, despite having lower obesity levels than other places in Norfolk. This could be because it has an older population than other areas of Norfolk and Suffolk.

•Get weight loss help from the NHS here

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