Research results revealed at the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference, show 22 children under 16 have Type 2 diabetes in East London alone. Past estimates suggest there were only around 100 children diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the UK but this figure now appears to be a vast underestimate.
The research, conducted at Barts and the London and Newham University Hospital Trusts, confirms that 95 per cent of these children are overweight or obese. The study also found that all but one of the children come from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups. Type 2 diabetes tends to develop sooner in people of BME origin and the prevalence is at least five times higher.
Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive at Diabetes UK said, “These cases in East London confirm a shocking trend that Type 2 diabetes in children is increasing. Diabetes can lead to long term complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and reduced life expectancy. Unless children are educated to eat a healthy diet and take up physical activity the number of children with the condition will continue to increase. Specialist diabetes services for children are already under a lot of pressure. If this problem is getting worse, the NHS has to ensure resources are in place to deal with it.”