Researches have called on health officials to use the sporting spirit of the Olympic Games to help get people active and prevent diabetes in east London.
A study carried out by academics at Queen Mary, University of London, found that 10 per cent of people in the London boroughs of City and Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham, which surround the iconic Olympic Park in Stratford, are at high risk of developing diabetes due to a lack of exercise and poor dietary habits.
The researchers analysed electronic medical records of over half a million people in the three boroughs aged between 25-79 and without diabetes .
After focusing on various risk factors that could lead to people developing type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years – including obesity, high blood pressure, smoking and alcohol habits, ethnicity, and history of cardiovascular disease – they found that around one in ten people are at high risk.
This rises to around one in six (16.67 per cent) in some areas close to the Olympic site, such as the north-eastern corner of Newham.
“There is a geographical band of high risk across East London, which we’ve dubbed the East London diabetes belt, that runs near the Olympic Park and corresponds to some areas of deprivation and a high proportion of South Asian and Black ethnic groups,” said Dr Dianna, one of the authors of the study.
Lead researcher Dr Douglas Noble commented: “Diabetes and obesity – one of the main causes of diabetes – are a major source of ill health and hospital admissions. The cost to the health service in the future will be extensive if we don’t help people to control their risk .”
“This is a gold medal moment at the start of the Olympic legacy period to prioritise tackling chronic disease and capitalise on the enthusiasm for physical activity generated by the Olympics.”
The study appears in the British Journal of General Practice.

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