Obesity sparks rise in Sunderland health problems
More people in Sunderland are needing hospital treatment as a result of being overweight, new figures show.
NHS England medical director Professor Stephen Powis said the latest "shocking" figures – which show obesity-related admissions have risen by 17% nationally – are a sign that a weight-related health crisis is sweeping the nation.
NHS Digital data shows that in Sunderland there were 8,585 hospital admissions where obesity was a primary or secondary factor in 2019-20.
That represents 2,325 in every 100,000 residents – the highest rate in the North East and up from the previous year's figure of 1,709.
Three years earlier, the rate was 541.
Nationally, there were just over a million admissions due to obesity in 2019-20 – up 17% from 2018-19.
The North East was the seventh-worst affected of the country's nine regions, with a rate of 1,748 per 100,000 population.
Professor Powis said the nation's "obesity crisis" is putting hundreds of thousands of people at greater risk of becoming severely ill with Covid, as well as heart attacks, stroke, cancer and other deadly diseases.
He added: "Carrying extra pounds not only puts a strain on your physical health, but also on the health service. As lockdown restrictions start to ease, there has never been a better time to take steps to live a healthier lifestyle."
Helen Kirrane, Diabetes UK head of policy, campaigns and mobilisation, said: "Obesity is the single greatest risk factor for type 2 diabetes. There are an estimated 13.6 million people at increased risk of developing the condition in the UK.