Among a total of 1,016 young children or babies, 534 boys and 430 girls of the same age were diagnosed obese after being admitted with other issues. Primary admissions were slightly higher than 2018 but secondary admissions – where obesity was diagnosed after admission – almost doubled. Last year 3,188 obese children aged five to 11 admitted to hospitals in England – 227 of them directly because of their weight problems.
In the same year 5,033 obese children aged 12-16 were admitted, 403 as a direct result of being overweight.
Serious obesity-related conditions in children that can lead to a hospital admission include diabetes, breathing problems such as asthma and sleep apnoea, joint issues, fatty liver disease and high blood pressure.
The figures come weeks after Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the country’s biggest anti-obesity crackdown.
It includes GPs prescribing exercise like cycling and restaurants and takeaways publishing calories in every meal or drink.
The Better Health campaign, which aims to target 35 million overweight people, is designed to get the nation fit after lockdown. It follows Mr Johnson’s Covid-19 hospital admission in April.
National Obesity Forum chairman Tam Fry said: “I’m furious with 20 years of inaction over obesity. I hope the new Government campaign will be the start of a solution.
“We’ve lit the touch paper and now we must see it expand into a good strategy.” Mr Fry said although it was “tragic” to see obese children treated in hospital, they were the “lucky” ones.
He said: “Many thousands like them may not be receiving any care but have been left at risk of developing not only heart disease but diabetes and cancers.
“They could acquire all these together before they are 30 and die before their parents.
“They are the victims of two decades of inept obesity policies by successive UK governments and Boris Johnson’s current war on fat may be too late to help them.”