New health fears as the num­ber of chil­dren with type 2 di­a­betes rock­ets

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Comment - By Stephen Adams HEALTH COR­RE­SPON­DENT

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.’

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