Spend on Obesity Rockets

4 June 2010, 06:00

The amount spent on obesity in Oxfordshire's shot up by more than 250% in 3 years.

Between 2007 -08, £88,000 was spent on the prevention and treatment of obesity. But in 2009 - 10, Oxfordshire's Heath Trust spent £314,000 on things like weight loss workshops and exercise programmes.

Matt Pierce, who works as a Health Improvement Practitioner at Oxfordshire's Health Trust told Heart you need to spend money to save money. He said:

"If we can invest in preventative public health interventions in the long term its going to be more cost effective but also you're going ot enable people to have a greater health in the future."

The NHS says obese and overweight people place a huge burden on their services, with costs amounting to around £4.2 billion. This is set to DOUBLE by 2050.

The health trust say people who are overweight are more likely to suffer mental health problems, be less mobile and have health problems, like high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. The life expectancy of an obese person can be 9 years less than a normal weight person.

At the moment, around 23% of men and 24% women are classified as obese using the body mass index (BMI). 23.3% of children in reception classes are either overweight or obese. In year 6, this figure rises to 30.2%.

Education is the main way the health trust say they'll spend the money. It includes a variety of weight loss programmes and exercise classes for children and adults who want to lose weight. For example, Oxfordshire Weight Loss Lifestyle Programme for very overweight people. Weight lost surgery is included in these figures, but is stressed as a final resort after every other option's been considered.

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