Audit reveals a stark increase in the number of young people being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in England and Wales.
Published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), the number of cases in people under 25 years old has risen from 507 in 2014 to 715 in 2018.
‘These figures are a stark reminder that we have a collective responsibility to push for the actions outlined in the most recent chapter of the childhood obesity plan, including clearer and more consistent food labelling,’ said Kathryn Kirchner, clinical adviser at Diabetes UK, a leading diabetes charity.
Of those diagnosed with the condition, 78.6% were obese – however, this data only includes those who were treated in paediatric units and not by their GP, so the number of cases may be even higher.
Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed in people over 40 years old and can lead to serious health complications such as heart disease, strokes, kidney problems and blindness.
The report highlighted that poorer outcomes continue to be associated with non-white communities and those living in deprived areas.
‘Inequalities in treatment deprivation observed previously were also shown to be widening, with children and young people in the least deprived areas being even more likely to be using an insulin pump compared to those in the most deprived areas than in previous audit cycles,’ said the report.
‘Patient and PDU (paediatric diabetes unit) factors responsible for the inequalities identified by the audit must be explored and addressed as part of local and national improvement strategies to improve diabetes management and outcomes.’
Of those treated for type 2 diabetes between 2016 and 2017, almost half were of black or Asian ethnicity.
‘A rise in Type 2 diabetes of this magnitude is alarming and shows that the childhood obesity epidemic is starting to bite,’ said Russell Viner, president of the RCPCH. ‘It’s also concerning that we might not be seeing the full picture.'