The number of children and young people treated for type 2 diabetes in paediatric diabetes units in England and Wales has increased by close to 50% over five years.
Figures from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health show that 745 children and young people were treated for the condition in 2017–2018, compared to 507 cases in 2013–2014.
The Local Government Association (LGA) highlighted that because these cases relate to those in paediatric practice and not primary care, for example, the actual number of children and young people with type 2 diabetes may be much higher.
Of those treated within paediatric diabetes units, 84.6% were obese.
Type 2 diabetes is linked to an increased risk of developing diabetic retinopathy alongside other health conditions.
Chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, Ian Hudspeth, said that childhood obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges.
“These figures are yet another sad indictment of how we have collectively failed as a society to tackle it,” he highlighted.
“It is extremely worrying that we are seeing more young people develop type 2 diabetes, a condition which is rare in children and more typically develops in adults over the age of 40,” Mr Hudspeth emphasised.
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