Nearly 7000 under-25s are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes

The main reasons for diabetes among young people are excess weight and obesity, concluded a report by the NHS.

According to Diabetes UK, the figures are ten times higher than in previous years. However, with more than 34% of children in England diagnosed with obesity by the time they leave primary school, the figures are likely to rise in the following years.

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a common and lifelong condition “that causes the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood to become too high” according to the NHS. Symptoms can vary from tiredness and increased thirst to serious problems with the heart, eyes and nerves. In the most extreme cases, it can lead to amputations, blindness or kidney failure.

Genetics, family history and ethnic background can also lead to developing Type 2 diabetes. However, most young people with the disease already have Type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease and not connected with age or obesity.

What’s next?

Many organisations are calling for action and urging the government to implement changes. According to Bridget Turner at Diabetes UK: “We need to encourage healthy living by providing clear and easy to understand nutritional information about the products we are all buying, and protect children from adverts for foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar. Children and young people with Type 2 diabetes should have access to expert treatment by healthcare professionals trained to manage and research the condition and the challenges it presents.”

London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan told the BBC that he wants to tackle the “ticking time bomb” of child obesity in the capital by implementing a junk food ad ban across London’s public transport. The ad ban will take effect starting February 2019.


Words and Infographics: Noemi Martini | Subbing: Shruti Tangirala

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