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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced clinically obese patients could take part in a £40million two-year trial to lose up to 15 percent of their body weight.
The move is believed to cut NHS waiting times by reducing pressures on services caused by obesity-related health conditions.
Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer are all linked to obesity, which is estimated to cost the health service £6.5billion a year.
Rishi Sunak said: “Obesity puts huge pressure on the NHS. Using the latest drugs to support people to lose weight will be a game-changer.”
Earlier in the year, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended the use of Semaglutide for adults who have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more.
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The Prime Minister said the use of such drugs will help to tackle obesity-related health conditions and reduce the pressure on hospitals.
Under the pilot scheme, more adults will have access to Semaglutide via a specialist weight management service.
The latest research suggested 12 million adults in the UK are currently considered obese, which is 28 percent of the population in England.
Rishi Sunak said this initiative will help support people to “live healthier and longer lives”.
The NHS clarifies: “The term obese describes a person who has excess body fat.”
You can use the BMI healthy weight calculator to see if you are currently overweight or obese.
For most adults, if your BMI is:
- below 18.5 – you’re in the underweight range
- 18.5 to 24.9 – you’re in the healthy weight range
- 25 to 29.9 – you’re in the overweight range
- 30 to 39.9 – you’re in the obese range
- 40 or above – you’re in the severely obese range.
There are, however, limitations to utilising the BMI measurement, as muscular people can weigh more without having too much fat.
“Another measure of excess fat is waist to height ratio, which can be used as an additional measure in adults who have a BMI under 35,” the NHS adds.
To calculate your waist-to-height ratio, you should first measure your waist above your belly button.
Then divide this figure by your height, measured in the same units (such as inches).
The NHS says: “A waist-to-height ratio of 0.5 or higher means you may have increased health risks.”