Britain’s fattest regions include Wirral, Wigan, Stoke and Nottingham

The people of Wirral are officially the fattest in Britain with more hospital admissions for obesity-related illnesses than anywhere else in the country. 

Hot on their heels are those who live in Wigan, York, Stoke-on-Trent and Nottingham.

The five regions all recorded admission rates of over 3,000 per 100,000 population.

However, Wokingham and West Berkshire both recorded admission rates below 500 per 100,000 population, according to NHS figures for England (2018/19). 

In London, Southwark had the highest number of admissions (2,912), while the lowest in the capital was recorded for Richmond upon Thames, with 730 cases. 

With Britain in the grip of a second wave of coronavirus, the issue of obesity is of more concern than ever. 

Overweight people are more than three times as likely to die of Covid-19 than those of a healthy weight, a Public Health England report revealed in July. 

SCROLL DOWN TO SEE HOW YOUR REGION FARED

The people of Wirral are officially the fattest in Britain with more hospital admissions for obesity-related illnesses than anywhere else in the country

Local Authority (LA) data from NHS England showing the number of hospital admissions for obesity-related illnesses for 2018-19

Local Authority (LA) data from NHS England showing the number of hospital admissions for obesity-related illnesses for 2018-19

There were 3,804 hospital admissions where obesity was a factor for inhabitants of the Wirral, a metropolitan borough of Merseyside, in north-west England

There were 3,804 hospital admissions where obesity was a factor for inhabitants of the Wirral, a metropolitan borough of Merseyside, in north-west England

The figures were also very high for York. With Britain in the grip of a second wave of coronavirus, the issue of obesity is of more concern than ever

The figures were also very high for York. With Britain in the grip of a second wave of coronavirus, the issue of obesity is of more concern than ever

Above, the data for Wigan. Admission rates overall for the country ranged from 413 to 3,804 per 100,000 population, with the highest admission rate over nine times greater than the lowest rate

Above, the data for Wigan. Admission rates overall for the country ranged from 413 to 3,804 per 100,000 population, with the highest admission rate over nine times greater than the lowest rate

The national rate was 1,615 per 100,000 population. Obesity-related admission figures for Nottingham in 2018-19 stood at 3,205

The national rate was 1,615 per 100,000 population. Obesity-related admission figures for Nottingham in 2018-19 stood at 3,205

Stoke-on-Trent did also not fare well - with admission numbers standing at 3,154

Stoke-on-Trent did also not fare well – with admission numbers standing at 3,154

People who have extra weight, defined as a body mass index of over 25, are also at higher odds of needing ventilation when ill with Covid-19 by seven-fold.

The report said excess weight does not seem to increase people’s chances of contracting Covid-19, but said excess fat can affect the respiratory system and is likely to affect immune function.

Meanwhile, the 2018/19 obesity-admissions NHS report found that across Britain, around three in every four patients admitted were female (74%).

There were 3,804 hospital admissions where obesity was a factor for inhabitants of the Wirral, a metropolitan borough of Merseyside, in north-west England. 

HOW DOES YOUR REGION RANK IN HOSPITAL OBESITY-RELATED ADMISSION?  
AdmissionsAdmissions per 100,000 of population
All personsMaleFemaleALL PERSONSMaleFemale
ENGLAND875,663305,073570,5681,6151,1932,042
NORTH EAST31,85511,54020,3151,2069061,503
Darlington9403406008926621,113
County Durham6,5352,5104,0251,2309631,493
Gateshead1,9905251,4659795441,415
Hartlepool1,6605451,1151,8321,2512,399
Middlesbrough940350590731571886
Newcastle upon Tyne2,1506201,5307805331,048
North Tyneside2,8159951,8151,3439831,678
Northumberland4,5801,6702,9101,3819771,776
Redcar and Cleveland895320575661479830
South Tyneside1,5506359151,0238771,173
Stockton-on-Tees3,0351,1301,9001,5861,2381,932
Sunderland4,7701,8952,8751,7091,4261,994
NORTH WEST130,70548,56582,1351,8421,4342,253
Blackburn with Darwen3,7101,1902,5152,7821,8923,680
Blackpool3,3001,2502,0502,3871,7972,985
Bolton2,4251,1051,320907851963
Bury2,3508451,5051,2789631,589
Cheshire East6,8002,3054,4901,8231,1762,464
Cheshire West and Chester5,6001,7753,8251,6691,0442,275
Cumbria6,7102,6254,0801,2999721,637
Halton2,2158751,3401,7641,4422,075
Knowsley2,2057451,4601,5101,1021,866
Lancashire22,0458,47013,5701,8311,4322,229
Liverpool6,3502,1304,2201,3891,0661,744
Manchester8,8152,7456,0652,0941,6002,623
Oldham2,8659951,8701,3279911,661
Rochdale2,9551,0351,9201,4291,0791,781
Salford6,4202,3454,0752,8532,2473,476
Sefton3,6851,3952,2901,3161,0041,635
St. Helens2,5951,0701,5301,4431,2091,683
Stockport7,3852,9354,4502,5602,0972,995
Tameside2,4751,0801,3951,1351,0141,249
Trafford4,2201,6202,6001,9051,5602,250
Warrington2,6559801,6751,2889791,606
Wigan10,6654,4956,1703,3182,8633,781
Wirral12,2704,5457,7253,8042,8844,706
YORKSHIRE AND THE HUMBER91,74531,62560,1201,7191,2502,192
Barnsley2,7601,0301,7301,1268481,397
Calderdale3,3101,0602,2451,6251,0622,180
Bradford13,9404,9059,0402,9362,2283,640
Doncaster5,3101,7153,5951,7311,1472,339
East Riding of Yorkshire6,0752,4153,6601,6831,2742,105
Kingston upon Hull, City of3,2209052,3151,2728141,752
Kirklees7,0301,9605,0701,6639772,356
Leeds6,2052,0254,1808596291,085
North East Lincolnshire2,2207801,4401,4011,0091,801
North Lincolnshire1,6955651,1259726421,304
North Yorkshire13,0855,2057,8852,0341,5822,522
Rotherham6,3302,0904,2402,4301,6363,202
Sheffield5,8902,1403,7501,0998521,344
Wakefield8,0352,3505,6852,3561,4103,265
York6,6402,4754,1603,3212,7433,946
EAST MIDLANDS110,60537,81572,7852,3431,6613,030
Derby6,4951,7154,7802,6791,6053,768
Derbyshire19,0256,39512,6302,3751,5643,171
Leicester5,2301,4453,7851,7561,1162,396
Leicestershire12,9154,5308,3801,8611,3202,394
Lincolnshire12,0354,1957,8401,5671,0732,061
Northamptonshire21,0807,64013,4402,9592,2313,702
Nottingham8,8052,5706,2353,2052,2744,216
Nottinghamshire24,5459,15015,3902,9712,2443,699
Rutland4801753001,1678171,591
WEST MIDLANDS120,97038,15582,8152,1211,4162,835
Birmingham15,3903,61511,7751,5148682,148
Coventry8,5552,8555,7002,8142,1153,533
Dudley6,9101,8255,0852,2101,1823,205
Herefordshire, County of2,5208201,7001,3057941,850
Sandwell4,4301,3153,1101,4659631,970
Shropshire6,1352,3553,7801,8081,3542,295
Solihull2,7457152,0301,3366921,968
Staffordshire22,9857,83015,1602,5951,7593,465
Stoke-on-Trent8,0401,7806,2603,1541,5264,872
Telford and Wrekin4,0501,3802,6702,4041,7533,091
Walsall6,1501,7954,3552,2911,4283,124
Warwickshire12,0804,4857,5952,1171,5932,646
Wolverhampton6,9752,0354,9402,8061,8053,839
Worcestershire14,0105,3558,6552,3081,7622,847
EAST OF ENGLAND82,55529,41553,1401,3611,0001,721
Bedford2,0908501,2401,2961,1031,486
Cambridgeshire7,7503,1204,6301,2241,0141,452
Central Bedfordshire4,2701,4652,8051,5471,1071,980
Essex14,7655,4809,2851,0107651,250
Hertfordshire17,1655,95011,2151,5431,1441,923
Luton4,2801,3102,9702,2641,5882,997
Norfolk14,0204,8159,2051,5221,0322,016
Peterborough2,0606551,4101,1057741,461
Southend-on-Sea1,4805409408276261,027
Suffolk13,2654,7758,4901,7321,2352,247
Thurrock1,4054609508916361,126
LONDON107,67535,86571,8051,4181,1051,738
City of London8040409198031,064
Barking and Dagenham2,8758602,0151,6801,2342,121
Barnet3,2401,0502,1909266981,159
Bexley3,2251,2351,9901,4071,2011,606
Brent6,1452,0804,0652,1611,6352,726
Bromley3,8151,2002,6151,2038391,538
Camden1,5805601,020765614921
Croydon3,7201,1202,6001,0487141,358
Ealing6,5902,1804,4102,2221,6682,797
Enfield3,0951,0452,0501,0738201,307
Greenwich3,2651,0452,2201,3311,0381,648
Hackney4,8951,2353,6552,4701,6563,256
Hammersmith and Fulham3,1359952,1352,2201,7602,674
Haringey2,2857101,5751,0857931,374
Harrow4,0101,3552,6551,7421,2752,223
Havering3,1751,2301,9451,2931,0941,485
Hillingdon3,6101,3152,2951,3201,0741,577
Hounslow2,9801,0951,8851,2691,0251,531
Islington1,9806601,3201,2459551,535
Lambeth6,1701,8904,2802,6061,9463,268
Lewisham3,8701,1252,7451,5441,1271,952
Merton1,6556609959638701,062
Newham4,2001,3602,8401,7711,3512,236
Redbridge3,0851,0901,9951,1819301,449
Richmond upon Thames1,290510785730621828
Southwark7,0052,2804,7252,9122,3633,484
Sutton1,7356101,1259136991,109
Tower Hamlets3,2151,0452,1701,6401,1912,119
Waltham Forest3,1009752,1251,3631,0311,707
Wandsworth2,5509951,5551,1161,0371,193
Kensington and Chelsea1,4955809201,0238831,181
Kingston upon Thames1,4955809159688661,082
Westminster3,1101,1551,9551,4371,1821,724
SOUTH EAST104,42538,85565,5651,1769071,446
Bracknell Forest900315585793602985
Brighton and Hove2,1208251,295841709982
Buckinghamshire6,2202,4553,7601,2069801,427
East Sussex6,8652,7754,0851,1809611,395
Hampshire15,2705,5359,7301,1068111,395
Isle of Wight2,6751,1051,5701,7291,3732,093
Kent20,2808,01512,2601,3151,0701,558
Medway4,7451,6503,0951,8191,3612,275
Milton Keynes3,5901,2902,3001,5031,1781,828
Oxfordshire4,7901,5703,220728502961
Portsmouth2,7759001,8751,4691,0341,918
Reading775300475588474704
Windsor and Maidenhead2,4201,0251,3951,6781,4741,881
Slough3,2601,1652,0952,8572,2503,474
Southampton5,3251,8153,5102,5061,9263,148
Surrey9,3803,2306,1508285831,068
West Berkshire725310415466406526
West Sussex11,6554,3157,3401,3471,0031,687
Wokingham660255405413328497
SOUTH WEST94,90533,09561,8051,6871,1832,205
Bath and North East Somerset2,2608351,4251,2589861,548
Poole2,3457851,5601,5291,0302,025
Bournemouth4,0601,7802,2802,2632,0952,479
Bristol, City of9,1852,4306,7552,1681,4412,940
Cornwall14,5255,2509,2702,5151,7493,271
Devon7,7052,9254,7809246831,173
Dorset5,6502,4053,2451,1759671,397
Gloucestershire13,6204,9358,6852,1751,5622,798
Isles of Scilly4520251,9401,4952,388
North Somerset3,6051,0752,5301,7489742,496
Plymouth4,2701,4652,8051,7051,2442,183
Somerset8,5602,9655,5951,5371,0102,063
South Gloucestershire6,2051,7104,4952,2331,2923,184
Swindon2,8009451,8551,3349391,725
Torbay2,7409251,8152,0091,2552,772
Wiltshire7,3402,6504,6851,4831,0621,924
Finished Admission Episodes with a primary or secondary diagnosis of obesity, by region and Local Authority of residence, and gender. Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES); NHS Digital

Admission rates overall for the country ranged from 413 to 3,804 per 100,000 population, with the highest admission rate over nine times greater than the lowest rate. 

The national rate was 1,615 per 100,000 population.

For admissions directly attributable to obesity, the number increases to middle age, peaking at 45 and 54, before declining in older age groups. 

Seventy percent of patients were aged between 35 and 64.

NHS figures for England reveal there were 876,000 admissions last year linked to obesity, with women making up two in three patients. 

And nearly 700 children required hospital treatment because of their weight – the second highest number on record.

Health officials have warned the crisis is likely to have worsened during the Covid pandemic, with millions of children stuck at home and doing less exercise. 

NHS figures for England reveal there were 876,000 admissions last year linked to obesity, with women making up two in three patients. (File image)

NHS figures for England reveal there were 876,000 admissions last year linked to obesity, with women making up two in three patients. (File image)

Meanwhile, Wokingham and West Berkshire both recorded admission rates below 500 per 100,000 population

Meanwhile, Wokingham and West Berkshire both recorded admission rates below 500 per 100,000 population

There were over 11,000 hospital admissions directly attributable to obesity in 2018-19 – up 4% on the previous year.

An increase in gastric band surgery is one of the reasons behind the rise.

Those from deprived areas were more likely to be admitted to hospital because of obesity, the data suggests.

A third of children and two thirds of adults in Britain are overweight. 

Meanwhile, another study has found that obese people may suffer more from Covid-19 because their weight damages their immune system.

The researchers, from the University of Michigan, found that people who are seriously overweight are more likely to suffer from severe coronavirus symptoms.

And this could be because their excess weight means their immune systems are constantly under strain and running at a higher baseline than people of a healthy weight. 

High levels of fat and sugar in the blood can trigger swelling inside the blood vessels and organs. 

As a result, when someone gets an infection, their already-running immune system is closer to tipping over the edge into over-reaction than a healthy person’s is.

The body’s own overreaction, which can cause sepsis and deadly organ damage, has been seen repeatedly in the sickest patients with Covid-19.

And it could go some way to explaining why overweight people face a higher risk of dying if they catch the illness, which is borne out in official hospital data around the world.

Why obese people may be more at risk of becoming very ill from Covid

Studies have shown obese people are more likely to suffer serious complications or die from infections, such as the flu. 

Doctors say the immune systems of fat people are constantly ramped up as they try to protect and repair the damage inflammation causes to cells. 

Using all its energy fending off inflammation means the body’s defence system has few resources left to defend against a new infection like Covid-19. 

Dr Dyan Sellayah, a lecturer in cellular and organismal metabolism, University of Reading, said obese people tend to have dysfunctional immune systems.

‘Their fat tissue for example becomes a reservoir for immune cells known as macrophages. While these cells reside in our fat under normal circumstances, in obesity they are at higher frequency and become more troublesome (they start to secrete inflammatory cytokines) and negatively impact on immune and metabolic health.’ 

Obese people might eat a diet with very little fibre and antioxidants – which keep the immune system healthy – such as fruit and vegetables.  

Most patients with a BMI of over 40 suffer from breathing problems that range from simple shortness of breath to a potentially life-threatening condition known as obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS).

Public Health England (PHE) has previously suggested that obesity leads to fatty tissue around the upper airway, and a heavy chest can directly reduce lung function. 

Excess weight may make it more difficult for the diaphragm and lungs to expand and inhale oxygen. Starved of oxygen, organs will begin to fail.  

But other experts have disagreed with this theory, saying severely ill Covid-19 patients end up on ventilators anyway and still end up with worse outcomes. 

There are several other factors that may increase an obese person’s chance of falling seriously ill with coronavirus, including a lack of exercise.

Studies have shown that physical activity increases the numbers of certain immune cells that help to bolster immune activity.  

Clogged-up arteries also make it hard for blood carrying immune cells to pass through and repair cells around the body.  

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