Soaring obesity rates and cost of living crisis are putting the health of children at risk, according to charity Diabetes UK.
While type 2 diabetes is more common in adults Diabetes UK has revealed there has been more than a 50% increase in children receiving treatment in the last five years. These figures confirm a growing trend of serious health conditions related to obesity that are becoming more prevalent in a younger demographic than ever before.
The data has revealed type 2 diabetes is being disproportionately felt by children living in the most deprived areas with four in 10 children coming from the most deprived areas. Diabetes UK has urged the UK government not to abandon their commitments to child health, calling on it to reverse its decision to delay restrictions to junk food marketing and to address long-standing health disparities.
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Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that can seriously damage parts of your body due to high sugar levels in your blood due to a lack of insulin. People have type 2 diabetes because of factors including their family history, age and ethnic backgrounds. But it is also more common if the person is overweight.
Type 2 diabetes develops more slowly than type 1 and a lot of people don’t get any symptoms. But there are several things people may notice.
These include going to the toilet more often, feeling more tired, losing weight without trying, genital itching, cuts and wounds taking longer to heal, blurred vision and feeling extremely thirsty.
But Diabetes UK also outlines a number of treatments to help manage blood sugar levels and reduce your risks of diabetes complications. Treatments include eating healthy food and being as active as possible, medication such as insulin tablets and injections, and weight loss surgery. Most people with type 2 diabetes will need to be on a combination of these treatments.
Type 2 diabetes is known to have more severe and acute consequences in children and without the right treatment and support can lead to serious complications including kidney failure and heart disease. And experts fear children living in the most deprived areas who will be disproportionately affected.
Experts have called on the Government to “rethink its commitment to child health” to reverse the potential “irreversible harm” to young people.
Chris Askew OBE, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “We are very concerned that this spike in childhood obesity will translate into an even greater increase in children with type 2 diabetes in the coming years, a crisis fuelled by long-standing health inequalities and made worse still by impacts of the cost-of-living crisis.
“Government needs to entirely rethink its commitment to child health. This must start with urgently reversing the decision to backtrack on their obesity strategy commitments and go further still with bold steps to address childhood obesity and poorer outcomes for children living in poverty in the forthcoming Health Disparities White Paper.
“The UK Government is letting our children down. With soaring numbers of children now living with obesity, and numbers diagnosed with type 2 diabetes on a very concerning climb, we are facing a perfect storm which risks irreversible harm to the health of young people. “