SEVENTY children under 16 have been admitted to Hereford County Hospital with obesity related conditions - or with obesity in their diagnosis - over the past five years.

Wye Valley NHS Trust (WVT) says that during the period 2009-2013  figures for such admissions have fallen “slightly.”

The admissions were to allow tests to be carried out. Obesity was listed as the “primary reason” for admission in 13% of cases.

WVT was responding to figures out last week that put the county’s obesity rates amongst the worst in the West Midlands.

Hereford County Hospital is not commissioned to offer the fitting of gastric bands, nor gastric sleeve/gastrectomy for weight loss. WVT does,  however, occasionally carry out maintenance to gastric bands as an emergency procedure.

During that 2009-2013 period there have been a total of 11 related procedures, but only two were for gastric band tightening and both on the same patient.

Over the same five years 1,114 people aged 16 and over were admitted with obesity as part of their diagnosis. However, only 11 had obesity as the primary reason, and, again, these admissions were to allow diagnostic tests to be carried out.

Nearly 70% of adults in Herefordshire are either overweight or obese according to new figures published by Public Health England (PHE). That percentage  puts the county amongst the worst in the West Midlands.

Herefordshire Council's public health team says cutting the percentage is now of "vital importance" and its  researchers are analysing the PHE data to determine the county's exact position.

Referring to local authority areas, the PHE statistics show 66.8% of adults in Herefordshire can currently be classed as either overweight or obese.

As a county, Herefordshire comes second only to Staffordshire on 67.9%.

By contrast, the figure for Worcestershire is 65.5% and Shropshire's 62.5% is the second lowest overall.

The urban areas of Dudley (70.25), Telford and Wrekin (70.2%), Wolverhampton (69.8%), Walsall (68.9%) weigh in at the top.

The data, by local authority, is based on adjusted, self-reported height and weight and collected through the Sport England Active People survey since January  2012.

Up to now, only modelled estimates of adult obesity were available at local authority level, and dated from 2006-2008.

Unlike the previous modelled estimates, the new data will enable local authorities to examine annual trends in excess weight  in their 16 and over (adult) population.

In 2010, the county's then health bosses thought obesity rates to be far higher than available figures could show.

While feedback from GP practices alone indicated around 15,100 obese adults, the council's then  health scrutiny heard  that the actual number could be about 35,000.