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October 25, 2021updated 22 Oct 2021 4:04pm

Growing obesity problem in the UK and the rise of congestive heart failure

GlobalData epidemiologists forecast diagnosed incident cases of CHF in the UK will pass 33,000 cases by the end of the year.

By GlobalData Healthcare

Overweight and obesity are defined as the excessive accumulation of fat, which presents a great risk to health. A body mass index (BMI) above 25 is considered overweight, while more than 30 indicates obesity. This issue has grown to epidemic proportions. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease study, approximately four million individuals die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. In the latest 2018/2019 audit published by Cancer Research UK, 63% of UK adults, ages 18 years and older, are overweight or obese. This represents approximately 35 million adults in the UK who are overweight or obese. Furthermore, the nation is dealing with a major public health crisis, as around 31,000 heart and circulatory deaths are attributed to excess weight and obesity every year, according to a 2021 article published by the British Heart Foundation. Due to the alarming rise in obesity and overweight in the UK, GlobalData epidemiologists forecast that the diagnosed incident cases of hospitalisation for congestive heart failure (CHF) will likely continue to increase over the next five to ten years.

As one of the highest non-communicable disease threats in the UK, CHF has increased rapidly over the past decade. In the UK, GlobalData epidemiologists forecast the diagnosed incident cases of CHF in men and women of all ages to reach just more than 33,000 cases by the end of the year. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the UK is ranked third highest in cases of overweight/obese in Europe, and therefore the number of diagnosed incident cases will likely surpass the current forecast estimate. The recent rise in obesity in the UK will likely translate to the implementation of more targeted health campaigns and policies.

A 2021 study by Lyen and colleagues, published in ‘BMC Public Health’, investigated long-term BMI changes in overweight and obese adults and the risk of CHF, cardiovascular disease and mortality in the UK. A total of 264,230 individuals were followed up for ten years, and four BMI trajectories corresponding with WHO classifications for overweight, class one obesity, class two obesity, and class three obesity were identified. The study adjusted for age, sex and comorbidities. Results showed that those in the severely obese group had a 3.3-fold higher risk of CHF. Furthermore, participants from that group also had a 3.3-fold higher risk of cardiovascular disease-related mortality and 2.7- fold higher risk of all-cause mortality compared with overweight individuals.

Public Health England launched an obesity plan to significantly reduce the risk of obesity, ranging from marketing and promotional restrictions to new campaigns encouraging healthy, active lifestyles, such as apps and online guidance to help individuals make healthier choices when eating out. These are steps in the right direction as the rise in obesity in the UK remains a threat to the healthcare landscape. Minimising access to unhealthy foods and promoting the benefits of regular exercise will improve the nation’s dietary and behavioural choices to lessen the risk of developing CHF.

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