In 2009 the NHS spent nearly £50 million on prescriptions for slimming drugs. Prescriptions for one drug, Orlistat, reached over a million.
According to the Daily Mail, the cost for this drug has increased to over £35 million and accounts for three quarters of the NHS spending on slimming pills.
Last year the NHS spent £47 million on anti-obesity pills. This is a 13% increase on the 2008 figures and a 55% increase from 2005.
In August the Daily Mail reported that anti-obesity surgery could cost the NHS as much as £32 million and the cost for treating obesity to the NHS is £4.2 billion a year.
When Professor John Speakman spoke recently at the British Science Festival in Birmingham he said that obesity has nothing to do with our sedentary lifestyles but is more to do with what we eat.
According to the Telegraph he said:
"What has changed is that calorie intake has increased by at least a third to on average 3,500 calories a day,"
"Over the past 25 years, during which time obesity levels have increased enormously, there has actually been no change in our levels of physical activity."
"The idea that small changes in life style are enough to offset obesity is wrong. In fact enormous changes in energy balance are needed and that can only realistically be achieved through changes in diet."
Experts have warned of an obesity epidemic in the UK. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, joint problems and some types of cancers.