Obesity costs the NHS millions of pounds each year
22nd June 2012
More news has emerged this week that demonstrates just how bad the obesity epidemic is within the UK. Statistics show that there are approximately over 110,000 people in England alone, who have a Body Mass Index of over 50. To put this into context, a person who has a BMI score that falls between 25 and 29.9 is classed as ‘obese’. There are an ever-growing number of overweight people with sky-high BMIs that are over 50 and these people are apparently costing the NHS over £450million each year. The figures emerge less than a month after Medical Specialists Pharmacy reported how Welsh teenager Gemma Davis had to be removed from her house and hospitalised due to complications arising from her obesity. Gemma’s weight was last noted as 63stone, with a staggering BMI of 142.3 Claims also arose last month that suggested there are at least 200 morbidly obese people in the UK who are draining the NHS of £16million annually because they are too big to leave their home. In addition, it is believed there are 11million people in England alone with a BMI of at least 30. The epidemic clearly needs rectifying by the government as soon as possible. Even worse, it is expected that by the year 2025, nearly half of men and over a third of women will be obese. This has been calculated using The Foresight report, a scientific model that is used to aid government policies. According to figures published back in 2009, nearly a quarter of adults (22% of men and 24% of women) in England were in the ‘obese’ category. The problems sometimes start at an early age. This is shown in new research from experts at Newcastle University, who electronically monitored 508 schoolchildren who were all aged between 8 and 10 years of age. The children were tracked on just how active they were during the time they were actually awake and on average across both sexes, only 4% of their time (about 20 minutes) was actually because of physical activity. However, the boys in the study were shown to be more active than the girls. One main reason for the shocking inactivity in the children has been identified as the growing number of children these days that prefer to sit indoors and play computer games instead of playing out with their friends. Dr Mark Pearce was lead researcher and he spoke out on their findings, “Given the importance of physical activity in maintaining good health, we know we need to get our kids more active. What we hadn’t known until now is how young we need to be catching them.” According to the Department of Health, children who are aged between 5 and 19 years of age should ideally participate in at least an hour of moderate to vigorous activity every day. Within all this, they also should engage in sports and exercise than strengthens their core muscles and bones, including gymnastics, skipping and dancing. Obesity experts have warned that factors such as increasing demands for junk food from children are not helping matters. Also many older fathers may have more responsibility at work and working longer hours, which then leads to less time for their children and simple things like playing football with them, etc. Tam Fry, a member of the National Obesity Forum, gave his opinion on the crisis, “Exercise alone won’t bring down obesity levels but it is desperately important to the health of the child and it will make them concentrate better in the classroom and improve their behaviour.”