William Eichler 15 July 2019

Diabetes in children up 50% in five years

Council chiefs have warned of a ‘childhood obesity crisis’ as new figures reveal that the number of young people being treated for Type 2 diabetes has increased by nearly 50% in five years.

Figures from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health show that 745 children and young people under the age of 25 received care for Type 2 diabetes in Paediatric Diabetes Units in England and Wales in 2017/18.

This is an increase of 47% on the 507 cases in 2013/14.

While not every case of Type 2 diabetes is as a result of being overweight, obesity is the single greatest risk factor.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health reported that 84.6% of the 745 cases of Type 2 diabetes last year were the result of obesity.

The Local Government Association revealed last year that 22,000 children were classed as severely obese when they left primary school.

Over the weekend, the LGA called on the Government to use the upcoming Spending Review to reverse the £700m cuts to their public health funding, which is used to invest in fighting obesity.

They also said more needs to be done to reach out to girls, members of non-white ethnic communities, and those living in the most deprived areas – groups where there is a disproportionately higher number of children and young people with Type 2 diabetes.

‘The Government’s childhood obesity plan set out bold ambitions to halve the number of obese children by 2030 and we wait to see what more is in the forthcoming prevention green paper,’ said Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board.

‘But we need urgent action now. Type 2 diabetes can be a lifelong debilitating illness and these figures will only multiply if we delay.

‘Councils with their public health responsibilities are on the frontline fighting obesity but for this to work effectively they need to be properly resourced.

‘This is why the Government should use the upcoming Spending Review to reverse the £700m cuts to councils’ public health budgets, to help our children live healthy and fulfilling lives.’

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