New figures show that a growing number of people are turning to obesity surgery to help them lose excess weight.
Figures from the NHS Information Centre show that the number of obesity surgery procedures rose by 40 per cent in 2007/08, up from 1,951 to 2,724.
There was also a 16 per cent rise in the number of prescription items dispensed to treat obesity, with a total of 1.23 million handed out in 2007.
Tim Straughan, chief executive of the NHS Information Centre, said that the report highlights the scale of the country's obesity problem and the increasing use of obesity surgery and medications.
"Obesity can pose major health risks by potentially increasing the likelihood of such diseases as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, and a range of other, often life-threatening, conditions," he revealed.
"Our report shows measures such as weight-loss surgery and medication are being used increasingly."
However, public health minister Dawn Primarolo emphasised that obesity surgery and drugs should only be used as a "last resort" after patients have failed to lose weight through diet and exercise.