New data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows there were 22,7000 admissions to hospital for weight loss surgery in 2014-15, up from 9300 in 2005-06.
The increased need for surgical intervention, perhaps not that surprising given the prevalence of obesity, has almost doubled in the past 40 years, with two-thirds of Australian adults now considered either overweight or obese.
“In the 10 years to 2014-15, hospital admissions for weight loss surgery increased more than three-fold in public hospitals and over two-fold in private hospitals,” said AIHW spokesperson.
“Over this period the majority of procedures, around 89 percent were performed in private hospitals,” she said.
Earlier this month, a childhood obesity expert from the University of Sydney and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians called for more equitable access to bariatric surgery.
“We would like to see it as part of the overall management approach to obesity, that when we can see very obese people who would benefit from surgery it should be accessible, like other treatments for any other medical conditions are,” said RACP President.
The AIHW report also revealed that most weight loss surgery patients were female.
“Around 79 percent of weight loss surgery admissions were for women, and the highest number of admissions were among women aged between 35 and 44,” Ms. Hargreaves said.
There was significant variation across the states and territories, with Western Australia having the highest rate of weight loss surgery at over 17 admissions per 10,000 people, compared with the national average of about 10 admissions per 10,000.