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High obesity rates put children in Hounslow at higher risk of diabetes

27 June 2016

In the London Borough of Hounslow, nearly a quarter of children (23.9%) in Year 6 are classified obese, worse than the average in England, and nearly 22% of adults in Hounslow are obese. Comparing obesity data in Hounslow to the national picture and neighbouring Richmond Upon Thames, it is apparent that there is a continued increase in obesity in Hounslow.

In the London Borough of Hounslow, nearly a quarter of children (23.9%) in Year 6 are classified obese, worse than the average in England, and nearly 22% of adults in Hounslow are obese. Comparing obesity data in Hounslow to the national picture and neighbouring Richmond Upon Thames, it is apparent that there is a continued increase in obesity in Hounslow.  

Tackling obesity in children and adults is a national priority as it increases the risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke as well as depression and anxiety. According to Public Health England, we are all consuming too much sugar, with children in England consuming three times more sugar than they should be which is leading to weight gain and obesity. Earlier this year Change4Life launched a Sugar Smart app to enable parents to see how much added sugar is in food and drink products simply by scanning the barcodes. 

Estimates suggest that treating obesity and its consequences cost the NHS £5.1bn each year.  In Hounslow, the number of admissions to hospital where obesity was mentioned as a diagnosis (although not necessarily the main diagnosis) has steadily increased each year, with the total cost of treating admissions for obesity amounting to £1,276.200 in 2010/11.

Rising obesity rates, especially among children, is particularly concerning in Hounslow as the number of people with diagnosed diabetes is higher than the average in England.

Hounslow has a high risk population for incidence of diabetes with one in five expectant mothers at West Middlesex University Hospital presenting with gestational diabetes. This is a type of diabetes that affects women during pregnancy whereby their body becomes insulin-resistant, so they develop higher than normal levels of glucose in their blood.

Consultant Endocrinologist Dr Rashmi Kaushal said: “If a mother develops gestational diabetes during pregnancy, it not only increases her risk of developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy but also means that the baby may be at risk of developing diabetes and obesity later in life.

“The good news is we can all make small changes to reduce our risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. It is important for all of us, but especially pregnant women, to eat a balanced, healthy diet where sugar is not the main energy source. We should try to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables day, starchy carbohydrates such as brown rice and wholemeal pasta, and healthy snacks like nuts.”

On Tuesday 28 June Dr Kaushal and colleagues will be hosting a health education event—Diabetes: Introduction and update—for Foundation Trust members to learn about the condition including how to prevent type 2 diabetes through simple lifestyle and dietary changes.

This talk part of the ‘Your Health’ series of health education sessions especially for Foundation Trust members.

The event takes place on:
Tuesday 28 June, 5.30–6.30pm

West Middlesex University Hospital
Education Centre, Conference Room
Twickenham Road
Isleworth
Middlesex
TW7 6AF