NHS figures show a rise in the number of children and young people with type 2 diabetes in the last four years, but lifestyle changes can address the trend.
According to the findings of the 2016-17 National Paediatric Diabetes Audit, there were 715 youngsters (those under the age of 25) with type 2 diabetes. Four years ago, the same figure was 507 youngsters with the condition. This means that there has been a 40% increase within the last four years.
Whilst the audit included 715 youngsters with type 2 diabetes, it is likely that the number of under 25s across the UK with type 2 diabetes is likely to be much higher than this.
The report produced by the National Paediatric Diabetes Audit and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) says that over three-quarters of the youngsters with type 2 diabetes were obese. This also shows that we need to be aware that a quarter of cases of type 2 diabetes will be in children that are not obese.
The children and young people with the condition were more likely to be girls and living in an underprivileged area was also shown to convey a higher risk. Half of the youngsters diagnosed were either black or Asian. These findings indicate that more work is needed to help these groups of youngsters.
RCPCH president, Professor Russell Viner said: “A rise in type 2 diabetes of this magnitude is alarming and shows that the childhood obesity epidemic is starting to bite.”
It is likely that sugar is the key reason why type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in children. Many children are consuming a huge amount of sugar each day as it so addictive. Before the year 2000, few children would have sweets and sugary drinks on a daily basis. These days, some children are having sweet foods and drinks at every meal and this is leading to sugar overload within the body.
Few people realise why it is that the body struggles to cope with high sugar intakes. Sugar is made up of 50% sucrose and 50% fructose. Fructose can only be metabolised by the liver and when we’re having too much sugar this leads to the fructose building up in the liver as liver fat. Modern research shows that people with a build up of liver fat are at very high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Children that can cut out sugar from their diet are much more likely to recover from type 2 diabetes quickly and a low sugar intake can also help prevent type 2 diabetes from developing.

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