The number of people seeking treatment for obesity has risen significantly over the past year, newly-published figures show.
According to the latest data from the NHS Information Centre, the number of Britons being admitted to hospital as a direct result of being obese in 2008-2009 was 60 per cent higher than the previous year, at 7,990.
The number of weight-loss operations, such as stomach stapling, gastric bypasses and sleeve gastrectomies, carried out in the period was 4,220, up 55 per cent on the number in 2007-2008.
Meanwhile, the number of prescriptions handed out to dangerously overweight individuals stood at 1.28 million in 2008.
Should the UK's need for weight-loss treatment continue to rise, the private healthcare sector could face greater demand.
The Royal College of Surgeons said the NHS figures indicate that the health service is not carrying out enough surgical procedures to tackle the nation's "severe, life-threatening obesity" problem.
Although the number of procedures carried out has risen, it said "many thousands of patients who qualify for surgery are being denied access to life-saving operations by NHS commissioners".