Obesity ‘will bankrupt NHS’: 13-year-olds given gastric bands
Today calls are being made to tackle Britain’s obesity problem
Figures uncovered by the Sunday Express show how children as young as 13 and pensioners as old as 80 have needed weight loss surgery.
Numbers undergoing gastric band surgery or similar have shot up 16-fold in 10 years and new guidelines will pave the way for a million more to be eligible, doubling the previous total.
Experts said it was a stark picture of obesity in the UK today, with one warning that left unchecked the epidemic “will bankrupt the NHS”.
The number of patients being offered surgery to reduce their stomach size has risen from 509 people in 2003 to 24,440 over the past three years, Government figures show.
Among them were 570 people under the age of 25, including 13 and 14-year-old boys and 17 morbidly obese children under 16.
In total 62 children and teenagers had the surgery when aged 18 or under.
In the 1950s, the average UK woman weighed just 8½ stone. Now 32 per cent are overweight
Urgent action is needed and unless it happens the problem of obesity and related health costs will bankrupt the NHS
In addition to this, 233 pensioners aged 70 to 79 had surgery to reduce their weight, as well an 80?year?old.
The controversial operation, reducing the size of a patient’s stomach so they physically cannot overeat, costs the NHS about £6,000 a time.
The figures are in line with the huge rise in numbers of people being classed as obese, now as many as a quarter of Britons.
Three million also suffer from Type 2 diabetes which is linked to weight gain.
Professor Philip James, founder of the International Obesity Task Force, said: “The fact that children so young and pensioners of 80 are given such surgery is scandalous.
“Successive governments have failed to tackle the serious and costly obesity time bomb.
“Urgent action is needed and unless it happens the problem of obesity and related health costs will bankrupt the NHS.”
The research compiled from the Government’s Health and Social Care Information Service and the National Bariatric Surgery Registry shows that 2,246 people between 60 and 69 underwent the surgery in the past three years.