Figures reveal that the year before the pandemic started, more than 1 million people in the UK were admitted to hospital for being obese.
The record number provides the clearest indication to date of the scale of the obesity problem as the coronavirus spreads across the UK.
Obesity is one of the most important risk factors for severe Covid.
Experts say the data should be a wake-up call to tackle obesity.
Figures released by NHS Digital show a 17% increase in hospital admissions for obesity from the previous year.
This equates to almost 150,000 additional cases of people hospitalized over the course of a year.
The number of admissions recorded as the leading cause of obesity increased from 11,117 in 2018-19 to 10,780 last year.
However, this is mainly due to a decrease in the number of bariatric surgeries (including gastric banding and bypass surgery) performed.
Women accounted for two-thirds (64%) of the exposures in which obesity was a factor.
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