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England and obesity

Bariatric surgery procedures decline in England by 8.8%

Hospitals record over twice as many obesity admissions for women than men
292,404 admissions with a mention of obesity (i.e. a primary or a secondary diagnosis)

In 2012-2013, bariatric surgery procedures declined by 8.8% compared with 2011-12, according to the latest report from the English Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). There were 8,024 procedures against 8,794 the year before. Bariatric surgery was over three times as common in women (6,080) than in men (1,944).

The "Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet: England 2014" report,showed that there were 7% fewer hospitals admissions with a primary diagnosis of obesity (10,957) compared to the previous 12 months (11,740).

Data on finished admission episodes and finished consultant episodes related to a diagnosis of obesity are presented using the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) databank produced by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. The data presented in this report are for inpatients only, so do not reflect all hospital activity. This should be considered when interpreting the data as practice may vary over time and between regions. In particular, practices vary between hospitals as to whether some bariatric procedures are carried out in outpatient or inpatient settings. This may particularly be the case for maintenance procedures.

During the year 2012-13, obesity admissions for women (Figure 1) were more than twice as high (8,007) as those for men (2,950). The figures for 2012-13 are similar to those in 2011-12 where there were 8,740 admissions for women and 2,990 admissions for men and compares to 850 women and 430 men in 2002-03.5.

Figure 1: Finished Admission Episodes with a primary diagnosis of obesity, by gender, 2002/03 to 2012/13

North East Strategic Health Authority (SHA) had the highest admission rate for bariatric surgery procedures (39 per 100,000 population); lowest rates were in South Central SHA and East of England SHA (6 per 100,000 of the population).

During the year 2012-13, obesity admissions were lower than in 2011-12 in each age group except for those aged under 16 (560 from 500 in 2011-12, a rise of 12 per cent), and those aged 65 and over (590 from 560 in 2011-12, a rise of 6 per cent).

Figure 2: Finished Admission Episodes with a primary diagnosis of obesity, by age, 2012/13

During the year 2012/13, there were 292,404 admissions with a mention of obesity (i.e. a primary or a secondary diagnosis). The data shows that obesity is far more likely to be recorded as a secondary than a primary diagnosis. Females are more likely than males to be admitted to hospital with either a primary or secondary diagnosis of obesity (Figure 3) with 192,795 female admissions with a mention of obesity compared to 99,579 male admissions.

Figure 3: Finished Admission Episodes with a primary or secondary diagnosis of obesity, by gender, 2002/03 to 2012/13

During the year 2012/13, adults aged 55 to 64 had the highest number of recorded hospital admissions with either a primary or secondary diagnosis of obesity (55,676), followed by those aged 45 to 54 years (51,364) and 65 to 74 years (50,262). This pattern differs from that for admissions with a primary diagnosis only, where it was shown that the highest number of admissions occurred in those aged 45 to 54.

The most commonly prescribed drug for the treatment of obesity by GP practices, in England, was Orlistat (Figure 4).  Drug items prescribed for treating obesity in 2012 (392,000) fell by 56 per cent from 2011 (898,000) and a decrease of 47% on 2002 (737,000).

Figure 4: Number of prescription items for the main drugs used for the treatment of obesity dispensed in primary care, 2002 to 2012

Pharmaceuticals

The Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) is the basic cost of a drug, not taking into account discounts, dispensing costs, fees or prescription charges income. The total NIC for drugs for the treatment of obesity decreased from £31.2 million in 2002 to £13.3 million in 2012, reaching its peak in 2007 at £51.6 million. The NIC per item decreased from £42 in 2002 to £34 in 2012. Almost all of the total number of prescription items in 2012 for obesity drugs were for Orlistat.

The North West SHA had the largest number of admissions with either a primary or secondary diagnosis of obesity (41,358) and West Midlands SHA had the highest admission rate (720 per 100,000 population). North East SHA reported the least number of admissions (17,409) and South East Coast reported the lowest admission rate (398 per 100,000 of the population).

The North West SHA also had the greatest number of prescription items in total (68 thousand) and the greatest number of prescription items dispensed per head of population (970 items per 100,000) followed by Yorkshire and the Humber SHA (920 items per 100,000). South Central SHA had the lowest with 17 thousand items and also the lowest per head of population at 400 items per 100,000 population.

To access the report and find out more about "Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet: England 2014", please click here

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