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Doctors accused over obese drugs

PUBLISHED: 09:53 10 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:58 03 July 2010

Doctors today stood accused of taking the "easy option" as it emerged the number of drugs dished out to obese patients in Norfolk has doubled in just a few years.

Doctors today stood accused of taking the “easy option” as it emerged the number of drugs dished out to obese patients in Norfolk has doubled in just a few years.

The full scale of the obesity crisis we face was laid bare as new figures show there were more than 27,000 people in the area taking some form of drug to tackle a weight problem last year - leading to criticism that GPs are prescribing pills to deal with weight problems instead of encouraging a healthier alternative.

NHS Norfolk wrote 22,220 prescriptions for anti-obesity drugs in 2008 to 2009, compared to just over 15,000 in 2005 to 2006.

It was a similar picture for the county's other primary care trust, NHS Yarmouth and Waveney, which gave out 2,614 anti-obesity drugs in 2004/05, rising to 5,068 in 2008/09.

Health bosses claim there are numerous measures in place to stem the growing problem, including encouraging healthier lifestyles, more exercise and improved diets but campaigners say there is a danger that, not only are we getting bigger, we could become hooked on pills.

It heaps further criticism on health bosses in Norfolk as it was once dubbed the country's “pill popping capital” due to the high number of anti-depressants given to patients.

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