Hundreds More Under-25s Have Type 2 Diabetes Than Official Stats

Nicky Broyd

November 22, 2018

Type 2 diabetes used to be known as an adult onset condition, so it was already a concern that 715 under-25s were diagnosed with the condition in official Paediatric Diabetes Unit figures. Now an analysis from Diabetes UK puts the figure for children and young people at 6836 after taking those treated in primary care into account.

The charity is warning the figure is likely to rise in future due to 34% of children in England being classed as overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.

It wants urgent action from the Government and its childhood obesity plan.

It also stresses the need for appropriate NHS specialist services to support children and young people to manage their type 2 diabetes and avoid complications.

'Worrying but Not Surprising'

As well as preventative measures, Bridget Turner, director of policy and campaigns at Diabetes UK, said in a statement: "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."

Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), commented: "When the RCPCH’s paediatric diabetes audit launched in the summer, we were concerned then that the numbers of children we were seeing with type 2 diabetes was an underestimate. This latest analysis, which takes primary care contacts into consideration, shows these concerns were justified and emphasises the need to act.

“For many children, the development of type 2 diabetes can be prevented with lifestyle changes but this isn’t easy - they need support. That’s why we were pleased to see the ambitious proposals set out in Chapter Two of its [the Governments] Childhood Obesity Plan - we urge the Government [to] maximise their impact by introducing them all and doing so quickly."

Obesity Health Alliance Lead Caroline Cerny said: "These findings are worrying but sadly not surprising. What they highlight is the need for urgent action from Government to help children and young people lead healthier lives.

"That’s why we want to see restrictions on junk food marketing before the 9pm watershed on TV with similar restrictions applied online, action on the promotion of unhealthy products in shops, and industry going further to reduce sugar and calories from processed foods – all measures which can help families make healthy choices and prevent young people from developing potentially devastating diseases."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: "We are committed to halving child obesity by 2030 and will be launching consultations to restrict promotions in shops for sugary and fatty foods, as well as a 9pm watershed ban on advertising.

"The upcoming NHS long-term plan will have prevention at its core and build on our existing work to keep people healthy and well."


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