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Obesity fuelling record youth diabetes rates

26 November 2018 11:42

Active lifestyles can help reduce the risk of obesity

Active lifestyles can help reduce the risk of obesity

Rising obesity levels have led to a record number of youngsters being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, a leading charity has warned.

According to data collected from GP surgeries by Diabetes UK, 6,836 children and young adults have Type 2 diabetes, with obesity the main driver behind the figures.

Other factors, such as family history and ethnic background, could also play a significant part in diagnosis, the charity said.


Type 2 diabetes is much more aggressive in youngsters, and complications of the disease - which can include blindness, amputations, heart disease and kidney failure - can appear earlier.

Diabetes UK warned that thousands more children and young people could be diagnosed with the condition over the coming years, as the latest childhood obesity figures show more than a third of children in England will be overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.

It has called for better specialist support for youngsters with the condition to help manage their illness and reduce the risk of serious complications.

Meanwhile, it backed proposals for a ban on junk food TV advertising aimed at children before 9pm, and to restrict supermarket price promotions for unhealthy foods.

'Encourage healthy living'

Bridget Turner, director of policy and campaigns at Diabetes UK, said: "Type 2 diabetes can be devastating for children and young people.

"To help shape a future where fewer children develop the condition, we need continued commitment across society to create an environment that reduces obesity.

"We need to encourage healthy living by providing clear and easy-to-understand nutritional information about the products we are all buying and protect children from adverts for foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.

"At the same time, we must look after those who already have the condition so they can avoid serious complications such as amputations, sight loss, stroke and kidney failure.

"Children and young people with Type 2 diabetes should have access to expert treatment by healthcare professionals trained to manage and research the condition and the challenges it presents."

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