Obesity kills more than 1,000 every year

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

Obesity is killing more than 1,100 people a year, and in five years has gone up by a third as a cause of death.

Obesity is killing more than 1,100 people a year, and in five years has gone up by a third as a cause of death.

The number of people who died because they were obese rose from 762 in 1999 to 1,104 in 2003 in England and Wales - more than the number of people dying each year from the hospital superbug MRSA, according to figures released by the Department of Health.

The Tories said the figures showed obesity was now a "killer disease" and called for a public awareness campaign similar to that used to highlight the dangers of HIV/Aids.

They urged the Government to carry out public advertising campaigns to persuade obese people to slim.

"Obesity is rocketing in Britain and 1,000 people a day are passing over the threshold into clinical obesity. If these trends continue the future burden on the health service is going to be unthinkable," said Chris Grayling, the Conservatives' health spokesman.

At least 21 per cent of people in England and Wales are clinically obese and there has been a huge rise in incidence of diabetes, including in children. The number of children needing hospital treatment because of their weight has doubled in eight years, with one in 10 six-year-olds classified as significantly overweight.

Yesterday an all-party committee of MPs called for all packaged foods to include the fat, calorie and salt content in a "tabular format" and for recommended daily amounts of fat, sugars and salt to be printed on food labels.

Figures released by Melanie Johnson, the Public Health Minister, in a parliamentary answer show obesity is now a serious cause of death in Britain. There were 1,104 deaths linked to obesity in 2003 - more than the 955 for patients who died from MRSA. The Office for National Statistics showed that obesity was the underlying cause of death for 219 people, and a contributory cause of death for 885 people.

In 1999, obesity was the underlying cause of death of 165 people and a contributory cause for 597 people.

Ms Johnson said that although obesity was not often listed on death certificates, "data on deaths where the underlying cause was certified as obesity or where this condition contributed to the death is collected.

"Obesity carries additional risks of high blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin resistance. People who are chronically overweight also have problems with their joints and suffer from heart problems."

The Government has promised to tighten the rules on junk food advertising. But ministers have been sharply criticised for failing to increase the budget for school meals in England and Wales. The issue received widespread publicity because of a campaign by the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to improve the standard of food in schools. There has been a national outcry over the standard of school lunches after it emerged that children are being fed on chips and other junk food, costing an average of 37p a day - less than the budget for prison meals.

A DEADLY DISEASE

* At least 21 per cent of people in England and Wales are clinically obese

* One in 10 six-year-olds is obese

* The number of children requiring hospital treatment for obesity has doubled from 849 in 1996-97 to 1,898 in 2003-04

* The British eat 10 billion bags of crisps a year - more than is eaten in every other country in western Europe combined

* The average person eats 372 snacks a year

* There were 1,104 deaths linked to obesity in 2003 compared to 762 in 1999

Comments