Surgery to help obese patients lose weight is becoming more common in the West Midlands.
The number of patients offered treatment such as stomach stapling operations is growing rapidly, the Department of Health has revealed.
A fifth of adults and almost one in six children are officially classed as obese, leading to conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure. But consultants are increasingly diagnosing obesity itself as the primary condition, allowing patients to receive operations to help them slim.
Figures released by Health Ministers show obesity was the primary diagnosis for 111 patients in Birmingham and the Black Country last year, up from 72 in 2003.
Patients diagnosed with obesity can receive bariatric surgery, which is designed to help them lose weight.
A number of procedures are available, but they usually involve sealing off most of the stomach to decrease the amount of food that can be eaten.
Surgery is usually only offered to patients who are " morbidly obese", which means their body mass index - their weight in kilogrammes divided by their height in metres - is 40 or higher.
Health Minister Caroline Flint said: "Better services to help people, including those in disadvantaged areas, to lose weight and then maintain a more healthy weight are among the key issues covered in the Government White Paper Choosing Health: Making Healthy Choices Easier. The Government's plans include introducing a "traffic light" colour coding system on food packaging, to clearly identify unhealthy products.
It will also tighten up the rules on the advertising and promotion of food products to children.