6:00am Wednesday 2nd October 2013
By Alex Bysouth
A STAGGERING number of obese patients treated at Mid-Cheshire Hospitals has risen by almost 300 per cent in only three years.
Figures gathered in a Freedom of Information request showed in 2010 that 480 adults across Mid-Cheshire Hospitals had obesity included in their diagnosis. By the end of 2012 this figure had risen to 1,845 – an increase of 284 per cent.
And figures for 2013 do not read much better. At the beginning of September 1,000 patients already had obesity included in their diagnosis at hospitals across Northwich, Winsford and Crewe.
A spokesperson from NHS Vale Royal Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Obesity can contribute to other health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
“NHS Vale Royal CCG is working to tackle an increasing level of obesity in Northwich and Winsford and our priority is to provide education and local specialist staff to help people manage their health conditions.
“By promoting healthy and active lifestyles, we hope that we can reduce the number of people who are becoming obese, which will in turn, improve their overall health.”
A statement from Mid-Cheshire Hospitals echoed this view, urging patients to eat and drink more healthily alongside increased activity.
Cheshire West and Chester released figures earlier this year showing 15.7 per cent of school reception children examined in the last two years were overweight and almost 10 per cent obese.
In year six, the number of obese children was a worrying 20.3 per cent.
“There are many reasons for this worrying situation, including bad diet and inactivity,” said Councillor Brenda Dowding, Cheshire West and Chester executive member for adult social care and health.
“The figures for childhood obesity in Cheshire West – slightly higher than the national average – only too clearly emphasise why the council has made its reduction a major public health target.”
Dr Adrian Heald, a consultant at Leighton Hospital, has, however, linked the increase to health professionals becoming more aware of the risks of obesity.
“As a health issue it is of growing significance as obesity predisposes to many, many other health problems,” he explained.
“Overweight and obesity are major issues, but particularly in relatively disadvantaged areas like Crewe and Winsford.
“With these records, we have to look at whether there has been this change in the awareness or if there has been a genuine change in incidents.”
Shaun Thomas, of LA Fitness Northwich, believes there is a stigma attached to keeping fit and using gyms that should not exist.
“The biggest worry is walking into a gym of super fit people,” he explained.
“We are trying to get people away from thinking that exercise is just about hard work, it’s there to enjoy.
“People are 66 per cent more likely to achieve results if they’re training with a friend as their energy levels increase and they feel good – it’s addictive.”
LA Fitness encourages new members to try their facilities with a free three-day pass, for more information visit the gym on Leicester Street.
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