Obesity is now internationally recognised as a major risk factor affecting the development of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes used to be referred to as adult-onset diabetes, because incidences of it developing in childhood were incredibly rare. However, new evidence has indicated that the number of type 2 cases in children has soared tenfold in the last five years. Between 2004 and 2005, a record 100 new cases in under 16s were diagnosed.
Type 2 is traditionally thought of as a condition that affects overweight adults, but fresh data from GP’s around England shows that some children as young as nine have been diagnosed. Obesity was perceived as the major contributing factor, and some reports are claiming a ‘diabetes time bomb.’
The risk of diabetes-related complications usually increases the longer the condition is present. This therefore means that younger children affected by type 2 stand an increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke, eye and kidney problems.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health obtained the figures in a study. Researchers cautioned that there were an estimated 60,000 more children suffering from metabolic syndrome in the UK. One in four children in the UK are now believed to be overweight. Surveys indicate that approximately 6 per cent are obese.

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