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Race to cut risk of lethal obesity in Sussex
More than six people a week across Sussex are being treated in hospital for their obesity.
Latest figures show 323 patients needed to be admitted to the county’s hospitals in one year for help with a range of problems.
They included people with breathing difficulties, bedsores and heart conditions – all triggered by being dangerously overweight.
Hospitals also carried out 276 gastric-band and bypass operations.
Health bosses say the number of admissions and operations has fallen but work is continuing to help people around the county keep to a healthy weight without the need for surgery.
The figures have emerged after the Academy of Medical Doctors demanded urgent action to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis, including an increase in the price of sugary drinks.
Between 15% and 19% of Sussex ten and 11-year-olds are obese and 7% to 8% of children starting school are also dangerously overweight.
It is believed more than a quarter of the adult population will be overweight by next year if they don’t change their lifestyles.
Obesity is expected to cost Sussex more than £460 million per year by 2015 as medics deal with issues including high blood pressure, strokes, cancer and diabetes.
The figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre date from the period April 2011 to March 2012.
An NHS Sussex spokeswoman said: “Being overweight or obese is a significant risk to health. It can lead to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes and cancer which are not only life-threatening but also affect our quality of life and need to be taken seriously.
“Bariatric surgery is a major operation and is considered only after people have extensively tried other nonsurgical ways to lose weight and managed to maintain the weight loss.
“The best way to maintain a healthy weight is by making long-term lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.”
There are a number of key programmes working to help people to lead a healthier lifestyle and to reduce obesity, including Mend programmes, free swimming sessions, and a specialist health improvement service providing training to staff and volunteers in a pre-school setting, schools and colleges.