More obese people than ever are having to be rescued by firefighters

EXCLUSIVE: More severely obese people than ever before are having to be rescued by firefighters because they are too big too move on their own with number of call outs up 33% last year to 2,181

  • Dramatic increase in number of obese people becoming trapped in their homes 
  • Incident in January involved as many as 29 firefighters and took up to four hours
  • Chairman of the National Obesity Forum warned figures would continue to rise 

The number of severely obese people having to be rescued by firefighters has surged by a third in a year and is now four times higher than a decade ago, new figures revealed today. 

Fire services in England are being called to free a growing number of people who are becoming trapped in their homes due to their size, with some incidents requiring as many as 29 firefighters or six fire engines. 

There were 2181 ‘bariatric assists’ in 2021/22, according to Home Office data seen by MailOnline. That is 33 per cent more than the year before, when there were 1642, and is 408 per cent higher than when records began in 2012. 

Many are having to be rescued with lifting equipment, special slings and even through the removal of windows, walls and banisters. One incident in Avon in January took up to four hours and involved as many as 29 firefighters.  

Fire services in England are being called to free a growing number of people who are becoming trapped in their homes due to their size

Across the country, more than 450 incidents in 2021/22 had between 10 and 19 firefighters in attendance and 16 required between four and six fire engines. 

Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, warned the figures will continue to rise in the future. 

He told MailOnline: ‘These figures are horrendous, appalling. If governments had actually taken obesity seriously most of this wouldn’t have happened. 

‘But they didn’t and concentrated on blaming people for being fat rather than helping them to live a healthier life.’ 

Mr Fry suggested Covid is partly to blame for the particularly large number of incidents over the last year.

‘People had less exercise during lockdown and were snacking more, which is a real problem,’ he explained. 

More than a quarter of adults are now obese, The Health Survey for England 2021 found. 

A total of 69 per cent of men are now overweight or obese compared to 59 per cent of women – with people aged 45 to 74 worst affected.

Firefighters in London using an aerial ladder to remove an obese patient with suspected coronavirus from a block of flats in April 2020 

The patient was loaded onto the aerial ladder before being carried to ambulance workers on the ground 

Britain’s fattest man, 32, who weighs 47 stone complains that his human rights are being infringed by new calorie-controlled diet 

 

 

Meanwhile, the proportion of Britons who are overweight or obese set to rise to eight in 10 by 2060, according to the World Obesity Forum.   

It comes amid controversy over comments by Britain’s top food tsar which suggested bringing cake into work was as harmful to colleagues as secondhand smoking. 

Professor Susan Jebb, chairwoman of the Food Standards Agency, also slammed ministers over a decision to delay a watershed for junk food advertising.

She said the move has led to a ‘complete market failure’ that has squeezed out healthy foods.

Professor Jebb, who teaches diet and population health at the University of Oxford, told the Times: ‘If nobody brought in cakes into the office, I would not eat cakes in the day – but because people do bring cakes in, I eat them.

‘Now, okay, I have made a choice, but people were making a choice to go into a smoky pub.’

She added: ‘With smoking, after a very long time, we have got to a place where we understand that individuals have to make some effort but that we can make their efforts more successful by having a supportive environment. But we still don’t feel like that about food.’

Rishi Sunak flatly dismissed the warning, with Downing Street saying he was committed to ‘personal choice’ and himself ‘very partial’ to carrot cake.  

More than a quarter of adults in England are now obese, The Health Survey for England 2021 found

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