Obesity and excess weight are responsible for one in eight admissions to hospital for middle-aged women in the UK, new research has shown. This correlates to around two million hospital days.
The research was carried out as part of the Oxford University headed Million Women Study, which is a national study of women’s health, involving more than one million UK women aged 50 and over. It is a collaborative project that aims to answer questions about the factors that affect women’s health in this age group. The main focus of the study relates to the effects of hormone replacement therapy use, but the large size of the study means that a very broad range of health issues can be addressed.
The research looked at the relationship between BMI and rates of hospital admission in middle-aged women. The more excess weight women put on, the more time they were likely to spend in hospital, the study found. Even moderately overweight women were more likely to be admitted to hospital than those of normal weight.
The lead author of the study was statistical epidemiologist GillianReeves. She said that by focussing on specific diseases such as diabetes and breast cancer previous studies may have under- estimated the impact of BMI.
The study was published in the journal BMC Medicine.