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Obesity surgery numbers rise 40%

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There was a 40% rise in the number of weight loss operations carried out on obese people last year, figures show.

The NHS Information Centre said the number of 'bariatric surgery' cases performed on the NHS in 2007/08 stood at 2,724. The number includes stomach stapling, gastric bypasses and sleeve gastrectomy.

There was also a 30% increase in overall hospital admissions for obesity compared with last year, at 5,018, while the number of NHS prescriptions dispensed on the NHS to treat obesity increased by 16% to 1.23 million between 2006 and 2007.

Weight loss can be achieved through the use of Sibutramine, which alters chemical messages to the brain controlling feelings and thoughts about food, and Orlistat, which prevents fat absorption in the intestine.

NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said: 'The report highlights the scale of the country's obesity problem and shows increasing NHS treatment using weight-loss surgery and medications.

'Obesity can pose major health risks by potentially increasing the likelihood of such diseases as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, and a range of other, often life-threatening, conditions.'

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