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Children with type 2 diabetes top 600, prompting 'time bomb' obesity fears

More than 600 children and young people have been treated for type 2 diabetes, prompting fresh concerns about a childhood obesity 'time bomb'.
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More than 600 children and young people have had to be treated for type 2 diabetes, prompting fresh concerns about a childhood obesity 'time bomb'.

The Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, said town halls must be given more funding as a matter of urgency to tackle the 'hugely disturbing trend' as it highlighted figures showing children as young as five have been treated for the condition.

Some 621 children and young people under 25 received care for type 2 diabetes in children's diabetic units in England and Wales in 2015-16, of whom 78.5% were also obese.

That compares with 545 in 2014-15, according to an audit by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).

Disturbing trend

Fifteen children

More than 600 children and young people have had to be treated for type 2 diabetes, prompting fresh concerns about a childhood obesity 'time bomb'.

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Figures on type 2 diabetes in children show a disturbing trend. Picture: iStock

The Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, said town halls must be given more funding as a matter of urgency to tackle the 'hugely disturbing trend' as it highlighted figures showing children as young as five have been treated for the condition.

Some 621 children and young people under 25 received care for type 2 diabetes in children's diabetic units in England and Wales in 2015-16, of whom 78.5% were also obese.

That compares with 545 in 2014-15, according to an audit by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).

Disturbing trend

Fifteen children with the condition were aged between five and nine last year.

It is believed that the true total could be higher as the RCPCH audit only covered those being treated in hospital units rather than by their GP.

Councillor Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board, said: 'These figures show a hugely disturbing trend in the increasing number of children and teenagers being treated in paediatric diabetes units for type 2 diabetes.

Devastating consequences

'Obesity is usually linked with major health conditions later on in life, but already we are seeing the devastating consequences at an early age.

'Ahead of the first anniversary of the childhood obesity plan, this highlights the need to take urgent action on this major public health time bomb.'

The association warned that cuts to council public health grants were affecting their ability to fight childhood obesity.

Council leaders also said more needed to be done to help black and minority ethnic groups, which have a disproportionately higher number of children and young people with type 2 diabetes.

Ambitious plans

The Department of Health said it had a 'clear and comprehensive' commitment to tackling childhood obesity.

'To halt this trend in future, we are delivering what public health experts call the world's most ambitious plans on childhood obesity and diabetes prevention,' a spokesperson said.

'We have introduced a soft drinks industry levy as well as an extensive sugar reformulation programme – these are already delivering results: in the past year Nestle, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Tesco, Waitrose, Kellogg's and Sainsbury's have all committed to cutting sugar in their products.'


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