Experts warn Britain’s obesity crisis is fuelling cases of youngsters with the condition, usually seen in older adults. Some 745 under 25s in England and Wales were treated at paediatric diabetes units (PDUs) in 2017/18, according to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) – 30 more than the previous year and 47 percent more than 2013/14. However, the Local Government Association says the true number of young patients is likely to be far higher because many are treated by GP services rather than specialist units.
Ian Hudspeth, who chairs the body’s community wellbeing board, said: “It is extremely worrying that we are seeing more young people develop Type 2 diabetes, a condition which more typically develops in adults over 40.
“Being overweight or obese is one of the key risk factors in this, which is preventable, and councils are uniquely placed to do something about this.”
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or cells do not react to it, and blood sugar levels become dangerously high. The first cases in children were diagnosed less than 20 years ago.
There are 3.8 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, around 90 percent of whom have Type 2. Worryingly, 84.6 percent of the children treated for Type 2 diabetes at PDUs in 2017/18 were obese.
The LGA wants the Government to reverse £700million cuts to town hall public health funding and provide specialised support for the most seriously obese children.
RCPCH president, Professor Russell Viner, said: “Type 2 diabetes is a serious health condition associated with obesity and if left unmanaged, it can lead to kidney failure, eye problems, stroke and heart disease as well as amputations.
“Obesity affects one in three children by the time they leave primary and it isn’t just a risk of Type 2 diabetes they face. There are other serious associated conditions such as cancer and heart disease.”
Nikki Joule, of Diabetes UK, called for urgent action to tackle childhood obesity in order to halt the “alarming rise” in diabetes cases.
Nadiya Hussain has called for more cookery lessons in schools and dismissed the suggestion that TV chefs are fuelling the obesity crisis.
The Great British Bake Off winner, 34, said: “We forget that cooking not only educates, which of course in turn helps with childhood obesity… but it also gives you a love for something.
“We’re not just trying to tackle child obesity… What about what cooking gives you for your mental health?”
She also dismissed actress Maureen Lipman’s suggestion that cookery shows “pander to” the nation’s obesity crisis by serving up “uncookable food”.
Hussain, whose new BBC series Nadiya’s Time To Eat starts on Monday, said: “If somebody doesn’t like watching cookery shows that’s absolutely fine.
“But to say that it is fuelling [an] obesity crisis is absurd. It isn’t. And that’s what I love about cooking. It’s not just about feeding. Cooking is about celebration.”
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