01/11/2018

Rise In Obesity Related Deaths In NI

Deaths involving obesity have almost doubled in Northern Ireland over an eight-year period, according to new statistics.

The Department of Health figures showed being overweight was listed on 64 death certificates in 2016.

The figure has increased from the 33 mentions recorded in 2008.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the number of death certificate references, however, failed to fully represent the full impact of the problem on society.

Dr Paul Darragh said: "Generally about 63% of the population here are overweight, around 25% are obese.

"This can lead to a whole range of lifelong health conditions including hypertension, diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer.
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"There is a need to take effective action. Around one in five children are obese, that's a burden that will impact their health for the rest of their lives."

Around 14,500 deaths are recorded annually in Northern Ireland, and obesity was mentioned on 487 certificates between 2008 and 2016.

Dr Darragh called for measures to tackle the growing epidemic, including more easily understood labels on food, restrictions on the marketing of foods higher in sugar, fat and salt, and better education on making informed dietary choices.

The Institute of Public Health in Ireland estimated in 2015 that of all the children in Northern Ireland, more than 30,000 are expected to die prematurely as a result of childhood obesity.

"The lifetime burden of childhood obesity is huge and, if unaddressed, will pose a burden for future generations, the economy and our healthcare system," said spokesman Kevin Balanda.



(JG/CM)

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