§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many obese people there are in the UK population; and what evaluation he has made of the average resultant cost to the NHS per individual. 
§ Ms Blears
[holding answer 19 March 2003]: The Health Survey for England 2001 shows that the prevalence of obesity continues to rise and that 21 per cent. of men and 23.5 per cent. of women were obese. Analysis of the Health Survey for England 1999 showed the prevalence of obesity in children was 10 per cent. at age six rising to 17 per cent. at age 15.
Information is not available on the direct cost for each individual to the national health service of treating obesity. However, the National Audit Office report "Tackling Obesity in England", published in February 2001, estimated that the direct cost to the NHS of treating obesity in 1998 was £9.4 million. Treating the consequences of obesity cost the NHS approximately £480 million per year, or about 1.5 per cent. of the total NHS expenditure for that year.206W
The Government are committed to halting the current trend of increasing overweight and obesity in both children and adults through cross-government work on diet and physical activity.
§ Nick Harvey
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children were diagnosed in each region as being clinically obese in each of the last 10 years. 
§ Ms Blears
The prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing in children in England. Information is not collected centrally on how many children are diagnosed as being clinically obese in each region. However, analysis of the Health Survey for England 1999 estimated the prevalence of obesity to be 10 per cent. at age six rising to 17 per cent. at age 15.