New health fears as the number of children with type 2 diabetes rockets
THE number of children and teenagers with type 2 diabetes – a condition more typically associated with middle age – has soared by 25 per cent in just four years.
The condition is caused by eating too much and exercising too little. It is not usually diagnosed until later in life because it tends to take years for problems to accumulate to such an extent that blood sugar levels spiral dangerously out of control.
The latest figures show that in 2016-17, the number of people under 20 with type 2 diabetes was 1,043 – the first time it has risen above 1,000. In March 2013, the figure stood at 836.
If left uncontrolled, type 2 diabetes can lead to blindness, infections resulting in amputations, and an early death.
Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said the 25 per cent rise had occurred was because Britain had ‘totally failed to stop obesity in its tracks in the early years’.
One in three children leaving primary school is now overweight or obese, according to the National Child Measurement Programme. In the worst areas one in two is affected. Mr Fry said: ‘We have ignored these rises in childhood obesity. Now we are living with the consequences.’
As The Mail on Sunday reported last week, TV chef Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall has accused Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt of ‘running scared’ over the issue. He revealed he wanted to question Mr Hunt on his series Britain’s Fat Fight over whether the Government planned to curb junk food adverts aimed at youngsters but had been fobbed off.
A Health Department spokesman defended the Government’s record on diabetes, saying: ‘There is nowhere in the world setting more stringent sugar reduction targets than this Government has set.
‘We are also taxing sugary drinks, helping children to exercise more and funding research on junk food advertising. We are monitoring progress closely and have not ruled out taking further action.’