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?  
Admissions Admissions per 100,000 of population
All persons Male Female ALL PERSONS Male Female
ENGLAND 875,663 305,073 570,568 1,615 1,193 2,042
NORTH EAST 31,855 11,540 20,315 1,206 906 1,503
Darlington 940 340 600 892 662 1,113
County Durham 6,535 2,510 4,025 1,230 963 1,493
Gateshead 1,990 525 1,465 979 544 1,415
Hartlepool 1,660 545 1,115 1,832 1,251 2,399
Middlesbrough 940 350 590 731 571 886
Newcastle upon Tyne 2,150 620 1,530 780 533 1,048
North Tyneside 2,815 995 1,815 1,343 983 1,678
Northumberland 4,580 1,670 2,910 1,381 977 1,776
Redcar and Cleveland 895 320 575 661 479 830
South Tyneside 1,550 635 915 1,023 877 1,173
Stockton-on-Tees 3,035 1,130 1,900 1,586 1,238 1,932
Sunderland 4,770 1,895 2,875 1,709 1,426 1,994
NORTH WEST 130,705 48,565 82,135 1,842 1,434 2,253
Blackburn with Darwen 3,710 1,190 2,515 2,782 1,892 3,680
Blackpool 3,300 1,250 2,050 2,387 1,797 2,985
Bolton 2,425 1,105 1,320 907 851 963
Bury 2,350 845 1,505 1,278 963 1,589
Cheshire East 6,800 2,305 4,490 1,823 1,176 2,464
Cheshire West and Chester 5,600 1,775 3,825 1,669 1,044 2,275
Cumbria 6,710 2,625 4,080 1,299 972 1,637
Halton 2,215 875 1,340 1,764 1,442 2,075
Knowsley 2,205 745 1,460 1,510 1,102 1,866
Lancashire 22,045 8,470 13,570 1,831 1,432 2,229
Liverpool 6,350 2,130 4,220 1,389 1,066 1,744
Manchester 8,815 2,745 6,065 2,094 1,600 2,623
Oldham 2,865 995 1,870 1,327 991 1,661
Rochdale 2,955 1,035 1,920 1,429 1,079 1,781
Salford 6,420 2,345 4,075 2,853 2,247 3,476
Sefton 3,685 1,395 2,290 1,316 1,004 1,635
St. Helens 2,595 1,070 1,530 1,443 1,209 1,683
Stockport 7,385 2,935 4,450 2,560 2,097 2,995
Tameside 2,475 1,080 1,395 1,135 1,014 1,249
Trafford 4,220 1,620 2,600 1,905 1,560 2,250
Warrington 2,655 980 1,675 1,288 979 1,606
Wigan 10,665 4,495 6,170 3,318 2,863 3,781
Wirral 12,270 4,545 7,725 3,804 2,884 4,706
YORKSHIRE AND THE HUMBER 91,745 31,625 60,120 1,719 1,250 2,192
Barnsley 2,760 1,030 1,730 1,126 848 1,397
Calderdale 3,310 1,060 2,245 1,625 1,062 2,180
Bradford 13,940 4,905 9,040 2,936 2,228 3,640
Doncaster 5,310 1,715 3,595 1,731 1,147 2,339
East Riding of Yorkshire 6,075 2,415 3,660 1,683 1,274 2,105
Kingston upon Hull, City of 3,220 905 2,315 1,272 814 1,752
Kirklees 7,030 1,960 5,070 1,663 977 2,356
Leeds 6,205 2,025 4,180 859 629 1,085
North East Lincolnshire 2,220 780 1,440 1,401 1,009 1,801
North Lincolnshire 1,695 565 1,125 972 642 1,304
North Yorkshire 13,085 5,205 7,885 2,034 1,582 2,522
Rotherham 6,330 2,090 4,240 2,430 1,636 3,202
Sheffield 5,890 2,140 3,750 1,099 852 1,344
Wakefield 8,035 2,350 5,685 2,356 1,410 3,265
York 6,640 2,475 4,160 3,321 2,743 3,946
EAST MIDLANDS 110,605 37,815 72,785 2,343 1,661 3,030
Derby 6,495 1,715 4,780 2,679 1,605 3,768
Derbyshire 19,025 6,395 12,630 2,375 1,564 3,171
Leicester 5,230 1,445 3,785 1,756 1,116 2,396
Leicestershire 12,915 4,530 8,380 1,861 1,320 2,394
Lincolnshire 12,035 4,195 7,840 1,567 1,073 2,061
Northamptonshire 21,080 7,640 13,440 2,959 2,231 3,702
Nottingham 8,805 2,570 6,235 3,205 2,274 4,216
Nottinghamshire 24,545 9,150 15,390 2,971 2,244 3,699
Rutland 480 175 300 1,167 817 1,591
WEST MIDLANDS 120,970 38,155 82,815 2,121 1,416 2,835
Birmingham 15,390 3,615 11,775 1,514 868 2,148
Coventry 8,555 2,855 5,700 2,814 2,115 3,533
Dudley 6,910 1,825 5,085 2,210 1,182 3,205
Herefordshire, County of 2,520 820 1,700 1,305 794 1,850
Sandwell 4,430 1,315 3,110 1,465 963 1,970
Shropshire 6,135 2,355 3,780 1,808 1,354 2,295
Solihull 2,745 715 2,030 1,336 692 1,968
Staffordshire 22,985 7,830 15,160 2,595 1,759 3,465
Stoke-on-Trent 8,040 1,780 6,260 3,154 1,526 4,872
Telford and Wrekin 4,050 1,380 2,670 2,404 1,753 3,091
Walsall 6,150 1,795 4,355 2,291 1,428 3,124
Warwickshire 12,080 4,485 7,595 2,117 1,593 2,646
Wolverhampton 6,975 2,035 4,940 2,806 1,805 3,839
Worcestershire 14,010 5,355 8,655 2,308 1,762 2,847
EAST OF ENGLAND 82,555 29,415 53,140 1,361 1,000 1,721
Bedford 2,090 850 1,240 1,296 1,103 1,486
Cambridgeshire 7,750 3,120 4,630 1,224 1,014 1,452
Central Bedfordshire 4,270 1,465 2,805 1,547 1,107 1,980
Essex 14,765 5,480 9,285 1,010 765 1,250
Hertfordshire 17,165 5,950 11,215 1,543 1,144 1,923
Luton 4,280 1,310 2,970 2,264 1,588 2,997
Norfolk 14,020 4,815 9,205 1,522 1,032 2,016
Peterborough 2,060 655 1,410 1,105 774 1,461
Southend-on-Sea 1,480 540 940 827 626 1,027
Suffolk 13,265 4,775 8,490 1,732 1,235 2,247
Thurrock 1,405 460 950 891 636 1,126
LONDON 107,675 35,865 71,805 1,418 1,105 1,738
City of London 80 40 40 919 803 1,064
Barking and Dagenham 2,875 860 2,015 1,680 1,234 2,121
Barnet 3,240 1,050 2,190 926 698 1,159
Bexley 3,225 1,235 1,990 1,407 1,201 1,606
Brent 6,145 2,080 4,065 2,161 1,635 2,726
Bromley 3,815 1,200 2,615 1,203 839 1,538
Camden 1,580 560 1,020 765 614 921
Croydon 3,720 1,120 2,600 1,048 714 1,358
Ealing 6,590 2,180 4,410 2,222 1,668 2,797
Enfield 3,095 1,045 2,050 1,073 820 1,307
Greenwich 3,265 1,045 2,220 1,331 1,038 1,648
Hackney 4,895 1,235 3,655 2,470 1,656 3,256
Hammersmith and Fulham 3,135 995 2,135 2,220 1,760 2,674
Haringey 2,285 710 1,575 1,085 793 1,374
Harrow 4,010 1,355 2,655 1,742 1,275 2,223
Havering 3,175 1,230 1,945 1,293 1,094 1,485
Hillingdon 3,610 1,315 2,295 1,320 1,074 1,577
Hounslow 2,980 1,095 1,885 1,269 1,025 1,531
Islington 1,980 660 1,320 1,245 955 1,535
Lambeth 6,170 1,890 4,280 2,606 1,946 3,268
Lewisham 3,870 1,125 2,745 1,544 1,127 1,952
Merton 1,655 660 995 963 870 1,062
Newham 4,200 1,360 2,840 1,771 1,351 2,236
Redbridge 3,085 1,090 1,995 1,181 930 1,449
Richmond upon Thames 1,290 510 785 730 621 828
Southwark 7,005 2,280 4,725 2,912 2,363 3,484
Sutton 1,735 610 1,125 913 699 1,109
Tower Hamlets 3,215 1,045 2,170 1,640 1,191 2,119
Waltham Forest 3,100 975 2,125 1,363 1,031 1,707
Wandsworth 2,550 995 1,555 1,116 1,037 1,193
Kensington and Chelsea 1,495 580 920 1,023 883 1,181
Kingston upon Thames 1,495 580 915 968 866 1,082
Westminster 3,110 1,155 1,955 1,437 1,182 1,724
SOUTH EAST 104,425 38,855 65,565 1,176 907 1,446
Bracknell Forest 900 315 585 793 602 985
Brighton and Hove 2,120 825 1,295 841 709 982
Buckinghamshire 6,220 2,455 3,760 1,206 980 1,427
East Sussex 6,865 2,775 4,085 1,180 961 1,395
Hampshire 15,270 5,535 9,730 1,106 811 1,395
Isle of Wight 2,675 1,105 1,570 1,729 1,373 2,093
Kent 20,280 8,015 12,260 1,315 1,070 1,558
Medway 4,745 1,650 3,095 1,819 1,361 2,275
Milton Keynes 3,590 1,290 2,300 1,503 1,178 1,828
Oxfordshire 4,790 1,570 3,220 728 502 961
Portsmouth 2,775 900 1,875 1,469 1,034 1,918
Reading 775 300 475 588 474 704
Windsor and Maidenhead 2,420 1,025 1,395 1,678 1,474 1,881
Slough 3,260 1,165 2,095 2,857 2,250 3,474
Southampton 5,325 1,815 3,510 2,506 1,926 3,148
Surrey 9,380 3,230 6,150 828 583 1,068
West Berkshire 725 310 415 466 406 526
West Sussex 11,655 4,315 7,340 1,347 1,003 1,687
Wokingham 660 255 405 413 328 497
SOUTH WEST 94,905 33,095 61,805 1,687 1,183 2,205
Bath and North East Somerset 2,260 835 1,425 1,258 986 1,548
Poole 2,345 785 1,560 1,529 1,030 2,025
Bournemouth 4,060 1,780 2,280 2,263 2,095 2,479
Bristol, City of 9,185 2,430 6,755 2,168 1,441 2,940
Cornwall 14,525 5,250 9,270 2,515 1,749 3,271
Devon 7,705 2,925 4,780 924 683 1,173
Dorset 5,650 2,405 3,245 1,175 967 1,397
Gloucestershire 13,620 4,935 8,685 2,175 1,562 2,798
Isles of Scilly 45 20 25 1,940 1,495 2,388
North Somerset 3,605 1,075 2,530 1,748 974 2,496
Plymouth 4,270 1,465 2,805 1,705 1,244 2,183
Somerset 8,560 2,965 5,595 1,537 1,010 2,063
South Gloucestershire 6,205 1,710 4,495 2,233 1,292 3,184
Swindon 2,800 945 1,855 1,334 939 1,725
Torbay 2,740 925 1,815 2,009 1,255 2,772
Wiltshire 7,340 2,650 4,685 1,483 1,062 1,924
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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