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Cost of obesity treatment in East Lancashire set to double

10:11am Tuesday 26th July 2011

THE cost of treating East Lancashire’s well-documented obesity problem is set to double by 2050.

But experts have said a reduction in obesity could free funds to pay for thousands more hip, knee and eye operations.

More than one in four adults in East Lancs are obese, according to the NHS.

NHS East Lancashire said the cost to treat obesity-related conditions was an estimated £30m per year – and expected to rise to £60m by 2050.

That is nearly eight times more than the combined cost of all the hip and knee replacement operations and cataract treatments paid for by the primary care trust in the last year.

Hip replacement surgery costs around £5,000 and in the last year 565 people were treated.

The estimated cost of obesity by 2050 could fund a further 11,500 hip operations.

Cataracts, which can lead to blindness, cost just over £700 to remove. Nearly 2,000 procedures were carried out in the past year.

The money spent on treating obesity could fund cataract surgery for the next 42 years and restore the sight of around 85,000 residents.

Brierfield GP Dr Mike Ions said: “Aside from the money spent on treating people with obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and immobility, the emotional effect will be devastating, as obese people will generally have a poorer quality of life.”

He urged people to use NHS part-funded Healthy Lifestyles services, which include weight management and exercise, at a reduced rate.