More than 34,000 people in Croydon could be living with diabetes by 2030, according to latest health figures for the borough.
Croydon’s Public Health Report for 2012/13, published last week, showed that an estimated 23,147 people in Croydon are diagnosed with diabetes.
But experts warn this could rise by a staggering 49% within the next twenty years if rates of obesity – a major risk factor for the more common type 2 diabetes – continue to grow.
The report revealed that around one in four adults in Croydon is obese, rising to 60% for adults aged 45 and over, while one in five children between the ages of 4-5 years is either overweight or obese .
The Royal College of Nursing said educating the public about type 2 diabetes is key to preventing the disease, but warned that the loss of specialist staff, such as diabetes specialist nurses, would make it harder to sustain necessary public education programmes.
The College discovered that half of vacant diabetes specialist nursing posts have been left unfilled to cut costs.
Bernell Bussue, the RCN’s regional director for London, said: “It’s clear from what we’ve been told by nurses working in diabetes services in London that education is the key to all of this. But the evidence we’ve found of cuts to specialist posts is worrying.”
“Specialist nurses are leading innovation in diabetes education programmes, particularly with regard to diet . Without the expertise of such nurses and their colleagues it will be much harder to get people to understand the role we can all play in preventing ill health and the impact poorly controlled diabetes can have on an individual, their families and their communities.”
The RCN has called for a large-scale recruitment drive and a publicity campaign aimed at reducing incidence of type 2 diabetes in diverse communities.

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