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Expert comment: Increase in children and young people with type 2 diabetes

As a Diabetes UK reports today that nearly 7,000 children and young adults under 25 have type 2 diabetes, GP Dr James Gill from Warwick Medical School comments on the message we should take from these statistics.

Dr Gill says:

“Childhood diabetes has been shown to affect 7,000 children in the UK, a 10x increase in only four years. If you want something to be shocked at today this should be it.

“Perhaps the problem is we hear about ‘diabetes’ too much, and thus don’t full recognise how important this is. Diabetes is never good, but let’s not mince words - that type 2 diabetes is affecting this many children is terrible.

“The above comment is not about blame, it is about triggering action. If someone has an accident and breaks their leg, we don’t blame them. We help them.

“Childhood diabetes on this scale should be considered as a car crash, happening in slow motion, in front of our eyes. As a society, as doctors and as a country we need to provide help NOW.

“For many children, type 2 diabetes can be prevented with lifestyle changes - that is REALLY easy to say. With lifestyle changes I can say I’ll be able to run a marathon, but if I tried tomorrow... I don’t think the results would be pretty!

“Department of Health and Social Care has said it is committed to halving child obesity by 2030 - laudable, but children are developing diabetes now and that car crash needs to be stopped urgently.

“If you are concerned that someone in your family, especially a child, is overweight, talk to your GP. Yes, resources might be stretched, but help is always available. If we act early, and provide support for families and children at risk, or who are already affected - we can turn a car crash just into a skid, and hopefully not do any damage at all.”

22 November 2018

For interviews contact:

Peter Thorley

Media Relations Manager (Warwick Medical School and Department of Physics)

E: peter dot thorley at warwick dot ac dot uk

T: +44 (0)24 761 50868

M: +44 (0)7824 540 863