Four-fold rise in children treated for obesity-related conditions

June 12, 2013, Imperial College London

The number of children admitted to hospital for problems related to obesity in England and Wales quadrupled between 2000 and 2009, a study has found.

Nearly three quarters of these admissions were to deal with problems complicated by obesity such as asthma, during sleep, and complications of pregnancy, rather than obesity itself being the primary reason.

Researchers at Imperial College London looked at NHS statistics for children and young people aged five to 19 where obesity was recorded in the diagnosis.

In 2009 there were 3,806 children admitted to hospital for obesity-related conditions, compared with 872 in 2000. Teenage girls accounted for the biggest rises in obesity-related . In 2009, 198 teenage girls experienced complications of pregnancy where obesity was thought to be a factor.

The number of bariatric surgery procedures in children and young people also rose from one per year in 2000 to 31 in 2009. Three quarters of these were in . The findings are published in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

"The burden of obesity is usually thought to have its serious consequences in adulthood, but we now see it manifesting earlier, in childhood," said Dr Sonia Saxena, from the School of Public Health at Imperial, who led the study. "It's clear that rising obesity levels are causing more in children, but the rise we observed probably also reflects increasing awareness among , who have become better at recognising obesity."

National surveys in England suggest that around 30 per cent of children aged two to 15 are overweight and 14 to 20 per cent are obese. Children who are obese have a higher risk of health problems such as , asthma, and sleep apnoea.

Previous work by the Imperial team and the University of Southern Carolina found that adults in the US are six to eight times more likely to perceive they are overweight or obese if told by a doctor and five times more likely to try to do something about it. But only 45 per cent of overweight patients who visit a doctor recall having been told about their weight problem.

"It's important that doctors speak to patients about their weight, because any attempt to help their patients must begin by recognising the problem."

Explore further: Obesity may increase risk of MS in children and teens

More information: 1. J.D. Jones Nielsen et al. 'Rising obesity-related hospital admissions among children and young people in England: National time trends study' PLOS ONE (2013).

2. The earlier study referred to is: R.E. Post et al. 'The Influence of Physician Acknowledgment of Patients' Weight Status on Patient Perceptions of Overweight and Obesity in the United States' Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(4):316-321. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.549

Related Stories

Obesity may increase risk of MS in children and teens

January 30, 2013
Being obese may increase the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) in children and teenage girls, according to new research published in the January 30, 2013, online issue of Neurology.

Obese mums may pass health risks on to grandchildren

June 5, 2013
Health problems linked to obesity—like heart disease and diabetes—could skip an entire generation, a new study suggests.

Cultural differences in children's fight against fat

June 12, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—NSW primary school children from Middle-Eastern and Asian backgrounds are significantly more overweight than children from English-speaking backgrounds and have lower levels of physical activity and cardiovascular ...

Childhood obesity starts at home

May 4, 2013
As parents, physicians and policymakers look for ways to curb childhood obesity, they may need to look no further than a child's own backyard.

Risk of childhood obesity can be predicted at birth

November 28, 2012
A simple formula can predict at birth a baby's likelihood of becoming obese in childhood, according to a study published today in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

Research supports role of BMI in incident asthma in children

November 20, 2012
(HealthDay)—Overweight and obese children have a significantly increased risk of incident asthma, with evidence of a dose-response effect of elevated body mass index (BMI), according to a meta-analysis published online ...

Recommended for you

Where you live may influence whether you are overweight, study finds

January 23, 2018
The old real estate adage of "location, location, location" may also apply to obesity.

Evening hours may pose higher risk for overeating, especially when under stress, study finds

January 16, 2018
Experiments with a small group of overweight men and women have added to evidence that "hunger hormone" levels rise and "satiety (or fullness) hormone" levels decrease in the evening. The findings also suggest that stress ...

Bariatric surgery prolongs lifespan in obese

January 16, 2018
Obese, middle-age men and women who had bariatric surgery have half the death rate of those who had traditional medical treatment over a 10-year period, reports a study that answers questions about the long-term risk of the ...

Sugar-sweetened drinks linked to overweight and obesity in children, adults: Analysis of new studies

December 23, 2017
A new review of the latest evidence on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)- which includes 30 new studies published between 2013 and 2015 (and none of them industry sponsored) - concludes that SSB consumption is associated with ...

As income rises, women get slimmer—but not men

December 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—A comprehensive survey on the widening American waistline finds that as paychecks get bigger, women's average weight tends to drop.

Policy and early intervention can curb obesity rates

December 18, 2017
More information and emphasis on dietary lifestyle changes that prevent obesity, and its comorbidities, have not reduced the rise in obesity in U.S. adults and adolescents, according to a recent study in the New England Journal ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.