The UK has the fifth highest population of children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, according to new figures from the International Diabetes Federation .
The data shows that some 24.5 children in every 100,000 in the UK aged 14 and under develop the disease, putting the nation fifth in an international league table of child type 1 diabetes rates.
Finland tops the table of 88 countries (where statistics on type 1 diabetes rates are available) with a rate of 57.6 per 100,000 children, followed by Sweden with a rate of 43.1, Saudi Arabia (31.4) and Norway (27.9).
Experts say it is unclear why the UK figure is so high, particularly when compared with neighbouring countries like Ireland, which has a rate of 16.3 per 100,000 children, Germany (18), Spain (13) and France (12.2).
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, which compiled the table from the IDF figures, said: “We do not fully understand why more children in the UK are developing type 1 diabetes than almost anywhere else in the world. But the fact that the rate is so high here in the UK means it is especially important that parents know the symptoms .
“At the moment, poor understanding of type 1 diabetes symptoms is one of the main reasons that far too many children are already seriously ill by the time they are diagnosed.”
Type 1 charity group the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation estimate that around 400,000 people in the UK, including 29,000 children, suffer from type 1 diabetes, and believe the “problem is only going to get bigger”, with incidence rates expected to double by 2020.

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