THE North-East has recorded the highest obesity-related hospital admission rate in the country, figures have revealed.

In 2011/12, 11,740 people were admitted to hospitals in England with a primary diagnosis of obesity - triple the number recorded five years earlier.

According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), female admissions were almost three times the number of male admissions.

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The North-East Strategic Health Authority (SHA) recorded the highest admission rate with 56 of every 100,000 people in the region admitted. The East of England recorded the lowest admission rates at 12 per 100,000.

The data also shows a sharp increase in the number of bariatric procedures conducted.

In 2011/12, 8,790 people across the country underwent a procedure to help them lose weight - such as stomach stapling or a gastric bypass - over four times more than the number conducted in 2006/07.

The figures show that England’s obesity epidemic has got progressively worse over the last two decades.

In 1993, 13 per cent of men and 16 per cent of women were obese and the figures soared to 24 per cent and 26 per cent respectively by 2011.

One in ten children are obese when they start school. In 2011/12, 9.5 per cent of children in Reception class - who are aged just four and five - were classed as clinically obese.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: “It won’t have escaped the majority of people that obesity is a high profile issue in this country.

“Based on the Body Mass Index measurement, the proportion of adults estimated to be of a normal weight has dropped substantially since this reports time series began in 1993.”