Forest Fields mum's gastric band: 'I tried really hard to lose weight but nothing worked'
MOTHER-of-three Tracey Smalley is very proud of the weight she has lost since she was fitted with a gastric band.
She used to weigh 27 stone and tried every diet she had heard of in an effort to be thinner.
"But nothing worked," said the primary school chef. "And I really did try."
Ms Smalley said she started to put on weight after she had three children, now aged 28, 27 and 13.
" I'm not a lazy person, I've always tried to keep active," said Ms Smalley, of Laurie Close, Forest Fields.
"But I'm not going to say that I've never eaten chocolate or fatty foods, because I have."
The 46-year-old lost 15 stone since having the gastric band fitted, and now needs excess skin cutting off her legs so that she can suit her new shape.
New statistics reveal that Tracey's story is not unique in Notts. They show there are more residents admitted to hospital because of obesity problems in the area covered by NHS Notts County – the part of Notts outside the city boundary – than in any other area of the country.
In the NHS Notts County area, 374 people arrived at hospital in 2011-12 because of obesity problems. In Nottingham city, there were 153 cases over the same period.
But Anne Pridgeon, senior public health manager for NHS Notts County, said: "Estimated adult obesity rates in most Notts districts are not significantly higher than the England average and local authorities are working together on a wide variety of projects to reduce the problem.
"We will be carrying out more work to reduce the number of local children becoming overweight and improve weight management programmes for families and obese adults."
The figures also show that 138 weight-loss operations, known as bariatric surgery, were carried out on the NHS for residents of the city in 2011-12, and a further 353 on people in the rest of the county.
According to the Department of Health, a gastric banding – where a band is used to reduce the size of the stomach – can cost anywhere between £5,000 and £8,000, and a gastric bypass – where your digestive system is re-routed past most of your stomach – between £9,500 and £15,000.
Health officials said they could not reveal how much these operations were costing the public purse in time for this article. But even taking the lowest figure, the cost for these operations tops £2.5m.
Health minister Anna Soubry said that obesity as a whole was costing the country £5.2 billion a year.
The Broxtowe MP caused controversy earlier in the year by suggesting that you could tell a person's social background from their weight.
Speaking to the Post, Ms Soubry said she was not meaning to "have a pop at anybody" but rather to explain statistical truth that weight problems in children were often found in those from a poorer background.
She said: "What I said at the time was misconstrued. It is statistically true to say from the research that has been done there is a higher percentage of obese people from poorer backgrounds when compared to the more affluent.
"And I believe that food manufacturers need to help families from all backgrounds in being up front and honest about what's actually in the foods that people are eating in terms of calories, salts and sugars, etc.
"Obesity is a problem in this country and, pardon the pun, it's getting bigger."
Although the figures say more people in Notts are going to hospital because they're fat than anywhere else in England and Wales, in proportion to its size the county doesn't fare as badly.
Ms Pridgeon said the NHS Notts County obesity admission rate (56 per 100,000) was above the national average but was not the highest, which was 89 per 100,000 for Sunderland Teaching PCT.
She also said that about a third of ten to 11-year-olds in the health authority's area were classed as overweight, and that only one in four adults ate the recommended five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
A spokesman for the authority added: "There are a wide variety of projects under way across the county which aim to combat the problem and local statistics suggests that obesity levels are not increasing.
"However, we recognise more can be done to reduce the problem, particularly in areas with higher levels of obesity."
Tim Straughan, chief executive of the Health and Social Care Information Centre, which released the figures, said: "It won't have escaped the majority of people that obesity is a high-profile issue in this country.
"This annual report is important in bringing clarity to how this actually affects people, patients and the NHS."
A spokesman for Nottingham City Council's public health department said: "We take obesity seriously as an issue in the city.
"There are a number of services available that can help support people to make the lifestyle changes necessary to lose weight and become more active.
"We would recommend that anyone in the city looking to lose weight talks to their GP surgery. GPs may be able to refer them on to services via Healthy Change – a referral hub which will offer telephone support and can arrange for people to attend a selection of the services, often for free depending on the individual's circumstances."