Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has highlighted the rising physical and financial costs of obesity across the region.
The party’s Highlands and Islands health spokesperson has released Scottish Government statistics which show a dramatic increase in the amount of anti-obesity drugs being prescribed over the past decade.
The cost of anti-obesity drugs prescribed in NHS Highland rose from £9,000 in 1998-99 to £307,000 in 2007-08, during which time there have also been big increases in.NHS Western Isles, NHS Orkney and NHS Shetland.
The drugs being prescribed are Orlistat, which helps people to lose weight, appetite suppressant Sibutramine, and Rimonabant, a drug with the role of keeping off weight once it has been lost.
Obesity also sharply increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, colon cancer and angina.
Mrs Grant told Hebrides today: “These stark figures are just one illustration of the escalation of obesity in the North in the past decade.
“The rising rate of obesity threatens to wipe out the health gains made by many years of work aimed at reducing heart disease and smoking.”
She added: “There are many worthwhile initiatives seeking to influence people to change to a healthier lifestyle through greater physical activity, and dietary changes away from high calorie, high carbohydrate consumption.
“However they all recognize that there are no quick simple solutions to obesity.
“It remains a major long-term public health problem which poses the threat of chronic illness and a shortened life expectancy for the individual and higher costs to the NHS and the economy.”
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