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Child diabetes referrals in England and Wales jump 50% amid obesity crisis

The number of children being treated at paediatric diabetes units (PDUs) in England and Wales has increased by more than 50% amid a “perfect storm” of rising obesity levels and the cost of living crisis, health leaders have said.

Diabetes UK said alarming obesity levels among children had led to a “concerning climb” in the number diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and predicted that the cost of living crisis could lead to further problems in the years to come.

Data from NHS Digital shows that almost one in seven children start primary school obese – a rise of almost 50% in just a year. More than a quarter are obese by the time they finish primary school.

The high levels of obesity combined with the squeeze on personal finances are creating a “perfect storm which risks irreversible harm to the health of young people”, Diabetes UK said. It accused the government of “letting our children down” as it called for concerted action to tackle obesity.

Chris Askew, the 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 longstanding health inequalities and made worse still by impacts of the cost of living crisis."

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Source: The Guardian, 15 June 2022


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