Five children in Scotland aged four and under were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during 2014, with experts blaming a “tragic” obesity crisis.
Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity, but there were no cases of children developing the disease 15 years ago. Nearly 70 under-18s were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2014 – five of those aged 0-4.
The Scottish Government have been urged to make drastic changes by health campaigners, who are attributing the results to a lack of exercise and unhealthy diet.
Professor Naveed Sattar, clinician and professor of metabolic medicine at Glasgow University reports diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, at such a young age appears to result in a poorer prognosis than with older adults, on average, and a more aggressive illness with an increased risk of serious complications.
Sattar described young children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as a “disaster”. He said: “Studies have shown that developing type 2 diabetes at a young age increases the chance of complications developing, including kidney disease, heart disease and even premature death.”
The findings were also called a “tragedy” by Tam Fry, patron of the Child Growth Foundation and chairman of National Obesity Forum.
“We now have children being treated for obesity by their first birthday in this country, and children with type 2 diabetes can suffer heart problems by their 20s – and that’s tragic,” Fry added.
Public health minister Maureen Watt said: “Diabetes is a key priority for the Scottish Government. We are determined to deliver world-class diabetes healthcare and our Diabetes Improvement Plan sets out ambitious improvement steps to ensure that diabetes services in Scotland are second to none.”

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