FIFTY per cent more women are being admitted to hospital with obesity problems than men in Swindon, according to new figures.

For the tenth year running, data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show national obesity admissions for women in 2012-13 were much higher than those for men.

In Swindon, there was a total of 834 admissions with a primary and secondary diagnosis of obesity in 2012-13. A total of 501 of these were female, and 333 were male.

Fiona Dickens, Community Dietitian for Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said there is a lot of work being done in the town to reduce obesity levels.

She said: “Obesity is a problem in Swindon as in other parts of the UK as it increases the chances of developing a number of diseases.

“The Great Western Hospital provide a specialist intensive weight management clinic for obese patients to support them to lose weight, which is run by specialist dieticians.

“The Dietetic Department also see patients with a number of health conditions and give advice on weight management.

“The report doesn’t detail why there is this difference between inpatient admissions for men and women, but possible explanations include that morbid or severe obesity is more common amongst women (3.1 per cent in 2012) than among men (1.7 per cent in 2012).

“Nationally, more women than men go for bariatric surgery appointments in the NHS, with around eight in ten recorded finished consultant episodes involving female patients.

“It is likely that there are other factors involved, such as gender differences in developing disease due to obesity.

“For example, it is estimated that an obese woman is almost 13 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than a woman who is not obese. For men it is five times greater. There is also some evidence that men seek help with illness less readily than women.”

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.”