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Weight loss operations up by 12%

The number of weight loss operations has risen 12% while hospital admissions for obesity have also jumped.

In 2010/11, there were 8,087 weight loss stomach operations in England's hospitals, up from 7,214 in 2009/10, according to data from the NHS Information Centre.

The report highlights around a 30-fold increase in the number of people going under the knife in the last decade, from just 261 weight loss operations in 2000/01.

Recent figures include operations to adjust an existing gastric band rather than fit a new one. Of the 8,087 procedures in 2010/11, 1,444 were for maintenance of an existing band. Bariatric weight loss surgery includes stomach stapling, gastric bypasses and a procedure called sleeve gastrectomy.

The report also found a dramatic rise in the number of hospital admissions for patients whose main diagnosis was obesity.

Over the last decade, these admissions have risen from 1,054 in 2000/01 to 11,574 in 2010/11. Admissions among women are almost three times higher than for men - 8,654 in 2010/11 compared with 2,919 for men.

The North East has the highest rate of admissions with a primary diagnosis of obesity (40 per 100,000 of the population), followed by the East Midlands (36 per 100,000) and London (35 per 100,000). The South West, south central and North West have the lowest rates, with 14 admissions for every 100,000 people.

Weight loss surgery was most common in the East Midlands (32 procedures for every 100,000 people) and least common in the North West (six per 100,000). The figure in the east of England and south central regions was nine procedures for every 100,000 population.

Chief executive of the NHS Information Centre Tim Straughan said: "The report charts the growing impact of obesity on both people's health and NHS resources. It also examines changes in physical activity and diet. Those working in this field may want to examine closely the findings of the report, including the significant regional variations that appear to exist in both the admissions for obesity and those for weight loss stomach surgery."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We want people to live healthier lives so they do not need to resort to surgery. We are working with charities, local government and industry to make it easier for people to make better choices. This year a third of meals and takeaways served from popular high street chains will contain calorie information and over a million families are involved in our Change4Life campaign - helping people to eat well and move more."

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