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Diabetes 'crisis': cases more than double in 20 years

Diabetes 'crisis': cases more than double in 20 years

Diabetes UK analysis found more diabetes cases in comparison with twenty years ago

Diabetes is the ‘fastest growing health crisis of our times’ with reported cases more than doublng in the past twenty years, according to new data published today (27 February).

Analysis by Diabetes UK – based on the latest data from NHS Digital – referring to 2016/17 has found that so far, almost 3.7 million in the UK have been diagnosed with diabetes. This marks an increase of 1.9 million since 1998.

High diabetes rates

The area with the highest diabetes rates is Bradford, West Yorkshire, with more than one in ten people (10.4%) diagnosed with the condition.

The figures are much lower in Richmond, London, where only 3.6% of the population lives with diabetes.

The analysis found that the number of people diagnosed with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes went up by almost 100,000 since last year – from 3,590,501 to 3,689,509.

About one million people are currently living with diabetes but are not aware of the condition because they have not been diagnosed yet, Diabetes UK said.

Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices.

12.3 million at risk of diabetes

Some 12.3 million are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the UK, with obesity being the leading cause, the analysis found.

Diabetes UK is now calling on the Government to tackle childhood obesity, after finding that more than one in five children (22%) are overweight or obese in their first year of primary school in England.

Chief executive of Diabetes UK Chris Askew said: ‘Diabetes is the fastest growing health crisis of our time; and the fact that diagnoses have doubled in just twenty years should give all of us serious pause for thought.

‘We want the Government to recognise the seriousness of the growing diabetes crisis, take action to help those at increased risk, and help us turn the tables on this devastating condition.’

Diabetes Prevention Programme

A programme to inform those at risk of Type 2 diabetes was launched by NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK back in 2016, with some 18,000 patients benefitting from exercise and cookery classes.

A second wave was announced last year with the aim to benefit as many as 200,000 by 2018/19.

National clinical director for diabetes and obesity at NHS England Professor Jonathan Valabhji said: ‘This is important work that shines a light on the growing obesity crisis sweeping the country. It is a public health crisis associated with more heart attacks, cancer, Type 2 diabetes and other avoidable illnesses – causing personal suffering and costing the health service and in turn the taxpayer, billions every year.

‘Diabetes UK rightly highlights the importance of our diabetes prevention programme, which can support good weight management, as well as helping people at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes stay healthy, but while we are doing our bit, this is a battle we cannot win alone.’


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