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Hospitals record over twice as many obesity admissions for women than men

February 26, 2014: For the tenth year running, obesity admissions for women in 2012-13 were much higher than those for men.

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

*Regional figures are available

Today's report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show obesity admissions3 for women were more than twice as high (8,010) as those for men (2,950)4. 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

The new figures show that hospitals recorded 7 per cent fewer admissions with a primary diagnosis of obesity (10,960) compared to the previous 12 months (11,740). Despite this fall, the 2012-13 figure is more than eight times the 2002-03 figure for admissions with a primary diagnosis of obesity (1,280).5,6

In 2012-13, obesity admissions3 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).

Today's report: Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England 2014 brings together new analyses and several sources of recently published information to provide a comprehensive picture of obesity related issues and shows in 2012-2013:

  • Bariatric surgery procedures7 were over three times as common in women (6,080) than in men (1,940), and this has been the pattern for the last ten years, as presented in the report.
  • North East Strategic Health Authority (SHA)8 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).
  • Prescriptions for orlistat (the most commonly prescribed drug item for treating obesity) were highest per 100,000 of population in North West SHA and Yorkshire and the Humber SHA (970 and 920) and lowest in South Central SHA (400).
  • In 2012, approximately a quarter of the adult population was obese (24 per cent of men and 25 per cent of women).9

Alan Perkins, CEO of the HSCIC, said: "Obesity has been a public health issue for many years and can increase the risk of disease and long-term illness. Despite a recorded fall in admissions, hospitals still admitted over 10,000 cases with a primary diagnosis of obesity last year.

The past 10 years of data show hospitals have dealt with considerably more women for obesity than men and it will be interesting to see if this pattern changes in coming years."

Read the full report


Notes to editors

1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 220 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.

2. Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) are compiled from data sent by almost 300 NHS trusts and other NHS organisations and over 300 independent sector organisations for activity commissioned by the English NHS. The HSCIC liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies. While this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain. Figures refer to recorded admissions and are reliant upon the accurate and complete recording of cause of hospital admission. Submissions from the independent sector in particular have improved significantly in recent years.

3. Each HES episode has one primary diagnosis and may have up to 19 secondary diagnoses recorded. The primary diagnosis is the main reason the patient is receiving care in hospital, while the secondary diagnoses are relevant co-morbidities and external causes if these have been identified. For example, a patient being treated for a broken leg may have diabetes which would be relevant to their care.
Admission figures for obesity quoted in this press release relate to the primary diagnosis.

4. HES data have been rounded to the nearest 10.

5. HES data of this sort can be traced back to 1996-1997 however the time series in this report covers the last 10 years of data.

6. The data presented in this report are for inpatients only, so does 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. OPCS-4.5 introduced a specific code for maintenance of gastric band. OPCS-4.5 was introduced in 2009/10. Inconsistencies in the use of this code may have contributed to the decrease seen this year and the increases seen from 2009/10.

7. Bariatric surgery procedures are performed to help weight loss; including stomach stapling and gastric bypass.

8. Figures by Government Office Region (GOR), Strategic Health Authority (SHA) and Primary Care Trust (PCT) are by GOR, SHA or PCT of residence.

9. Health Survey for England, 2012 (see and

10. For media enquiries please contact or 0300 303 3888.

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