A growing epidemic of people needing joint replacement because of their obesity could “bankrupt the NHS,” it has been claimed. According to newly released figures, surgeons are carrying out hip replacements on children as young as 10.
The number of people needing joint replacements increased by almost 60 percent to more than 37,000 in the past three years, according to figures from the National Health Service (NHS).
Ten children and teenagers aged between 10 and 19 have had hip replacements since 2014 because of the damage caused by their excessive weight. A further two in this age group had knee replacements.
Up to 86 people in their 20s had hip replacements, while 11 needed new knees.
Professor Philip James, past president of the World Obesity Federation, told the Sunday Express: “It is shocking. These figures also show doctors and surgeons are now waking up to the burden of obesity, which is steadily rising.”
“I predict this problem will continue to escalate. Obesity rates are rising and the first thing that develops is back and joint pain.
“The wear and tear on joints from obesity is phenomenal. The orthopedic world has to rethink how to cope with increased numbers of patients, including younger patients, who require hip or knee replacements.”
What is worse is that those who have undergone surgery are likely to need a new replacement at some later stage in their life, because synthetic joints do not last indefinitely.
NHS statistics for 2016-17 show that by the age of 10-11, 20 percent of kids are obese.
The issue of more people needing replacements because of obesity has become so concerning that a government-funded study has been launched to look into the growing trend.
Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said: “This is tragic. Teenagers are still growing and their growth plates are not fused, so a replacement is extremely serious for them. Without surgery they might be crippled.
“Obesity is not only causing an increased risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes but also serious weight-related joint damage. The cost of the obesity epidemic could bankrupt the NHS,” Fry told the Telegraph.