THE RISING number of women with health issues relating to obesity is putting increasing pressure on the NHS in Bradford, a new report shows.

Hospital admissions – per 100,000 men and women – where obesity was a factor is a staggering 72 per cent above the national average and, although the gap is narrowing, the number is continuing to grow.

Women are far more likely to be admitted for treatment in such cases, with the latest available figures showing female admissions were 218 per cent higher than male ones.

The new data, from health statistics watchdog NHS Digital, shows that hospital admissions due to obesity have soared across the country and women are accounting for the lion’s share of hospital spells.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) of adults in England are obese – including two per cent of men and four per cent of women who are classed as “morbidly obese”, meaning they have a body mass index (BMI) score of more than 40.

The new report says that, across England, hospital admissions directly attributable to obesity rose by eight per cent between 2015/16 and 2016/17. There were 10,705 admissions where obesity was recorded as the main cause of admission, an increase on 9,929 admissions the previous year.

Almost three in every four patients (72 per cent) were female.

In the Bradford local authority area, the number of admissions directly attributed to obesity was below both the Yorkshire and the Humber and national average but the number of admissions where obesity was a factor tells a different story.

Bradford had 1,999 admissions per 100,000 in 2016/17, compared to 1,284 for Yorkshire and the Humber – where the district was second only to Wakefield – and 1,159 for the whole of England. But there were 2,737 female admissions per 100,000 compared to just 1,258 for men.

There were 617,000 admissions to English NHS hospitals in 2016/17 where obesity was recorded as either a primary or secondary diagnosis – an 18 per cent increase on 2015/16 when there were 525,000 admissions.

Two in every three patients (66 per cent) were female, according to the NHS Digital report.

There were 6,700 bariatric surgeries - a group of procedures which help people lose weight including stomach stapling, gastric bypasses and gastric band maintenance - conducted in hospitals across England in 2016/17 and 77 per cent of these procedures were carried out on women.

In England, 30 per cent of women are rated as overweight and 27 per cent are obese, while two in five men are overweight and 26 per cent are obese.

The increases in Bradford came despite a warning that year of the risks that obesity poses to women at every stage of their life by the Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

In July 2016, Dr Anne Connolly, the districts’ CCGs lead for maternity and women’s health, said: “Obesity is the biggest threat to women’s health and the health of future generations.

“Women need to look after their physical and mental health during pregnancy for the sake of their children and grandchildren. If a woman is obese during pregnancy, research indicates there is an increased chance of miscarriage and premature birth.

“For many women, their own health is less of a priority than the health of their children, parents or partner. Women should know that their health is just as important as the health of other family members, and how to get the advice and information they need to live a healthy life.”

Dr Connolly said there was a danger that children of mothers who are obese will be stillborn or grow up with health problems themselves, such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

“It’s a difficult message, but I believe that it can empower women to take positive steps like eating more healthily and taking more exercise,” said Dr Connolly. “It’s never too late to take action for a healthier lifestyle.”

The CCG warned that obesity can put women at risk of developing a number of conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer. A pregnant woman’s health affects the conditions inside the womb which in turn can have life-long consequences for the health of the child including the risk of obesity or Type 2 diabetes.

It advised women that to prevent obesity and maintain a healthy body weight, they should eat a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly.

Despite that warning, the NHS Digital report says that a third of men and 42 per cent of women did not meet the recommended weekly activity levels in 2016. And 21 per cent of men and a quarter of women were classed as “inactive”.

Meanwhile, only around a quarter of adults – 24 per cent of men and 28 per cent of women – consumed the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day in 2016.

The report did offer one small glimmer of hope for the future: 80 per cent of obese women (compared with 68 per cent of obese men) and 65 per cent of overweight women (44 per cent men) said they were trying to lose weight….