Dr Hilary Jones discusses UK's 'obesity epidemic' on GMB
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Shockingly, 105 of those were children under the age of 12. Another 545 were aged between 12 and 15 and 910 were teenagers of between 16 and 18 years old. Campaigners say the data highlights the urgent need to step-up efforts to combat rising child obesity as being overweight significantly increases the chances of developing the common type of diabetes. Diabetes UK chief Chris Askew said: “It is shocking for even one child to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but to see nearly 1,600 children with the condition is a sad indictment of the health of our nation.
“These figures are a worrying wake-up call. The environment we live in is a major contributing factor to rising levels of childhood obesity and, in turn, type 2 diabetes.”
People with type 2 diabetes have high blood sugar levels, leading to symptoms including excessive thirst, a frequent need to urinate and tiredness.
The report found that among the under-40s, the condition was more common in women, people from ethnic minority backgrounds, those living in deprived areas and those who were obese or overweight. Almost a third of children aged between two and 15 are overweight or obese, according to NHS figures.
Diabetes UK said the condition can have severe consequences for youngsters. Without proper treatment, it can lead to serious complications including kidney failure and heart disease in later life.
But the report showed fewer young people carry out recommended checks on body mass index, cholesterol and blood pressure, compared to older age groups.
Diabetes UK called for stronger measures to tackle child obesity. It welcomed plans to restrict the marketing of junk food to children, but said more must be done to reduce sugar and fat in food products.
Mr Askew said: “Far more needs to be done, to help us all make healthier choices and stop cases increasing further.
“We also need to ensure children with type 2 diabetes have access to specialist support as soon as possible.”
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