Friday, May 30, 2008

Weighty Problem Costs NHS Lothian £60,000 Each Day

“Health chiefs in the Lothians [Scotland] are spending the equivalent of £60,000 a day treating people who are overweight. The cost to the health service emerged as separate figures estimated that 150,000 adults in the Lothians are now classed as ‘clinically obese’. NHS Lothian is now set to launch a new drive to tackle the problem and attempt to trim the annual £22 million bill. Those classed as clinically obese are putting themselves at risk of diabetes and potentially damaging their hearts, livers and kidneys, but hospitals and GPs only currently get the opportunity to help people when their weight has actually affected their health. NHS Lothian wants to help prevent people from reaching that point, and will draw up an action plan to work alongside local authorities, businesses and other groups to help people eat more healthily and get more exercise. Dr Alison McCallum, director of public health at NHS Lothian, said: ‘The Healthy Weight Strategy is about improving the quality of life for people in Lothian and helping people lead long and healthy lives.’ ‘By promoting healthy eating and regular physical activity, NHS Lothian can help people avoid some of the debilitating and occasionally fatal conditions associated with being severely overweight.’”

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