The number of toddlers and young children developing type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure has rocketed in recent years, health officials warn.

Experts believe that the number of diabetes cases in young kids has surged due to the country’s growing childhood obesity problem.

Obesity has been the root cause of many hospital appointments for diabetes, with the number more than doubling since 2014.

In 2021, 192 appointments for children with type 2 diabetes took place, with 22 of these kids being under the age of four.

Healthcare professionals have also witnessed a sharp rise in gallstones and weight-related knee complications in children.

NHS data shows that weight-related knee problems in children aged 12 to 17 went from 31 in 2014 to 60 in 2022.

Meanwhile, the number of adolescents having a hospital appointment for gallstones went from 245 in 2014 to 500 last year.

Government officials are aiming to cut childhood obesity cases by 50% in the next seven years; however, more than a fifth of primary school kids are classed as overweight or obese, while nearly four in 10 secondary school children are above the recommended BMI.

Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said: “These figures are a damning indictment of this country’s obesity crisis, which is a national disgrace.”

According to Professor Graham MacGregor, the Government has ‘abandoned attempts to prevent obesity’ due to supporting big corporate food companies.

He said: “’Many children are still consuming far too much junk food which is loaded with salt, sugar and calories.”

Professor Russ Jago, a public health expert at Bristol University, added: “We know that activity has a role to play in obesity, but we also know that kids who are active tend to be happier, have better social skills and there’s some evidence of a link to academic achievement.”

A representative for the Government said: “£600 million will be spent in the next two years to improve the quality of PE and sports in primary schools, and a further £57 million will be spent to keep school sport facilities open on evenings, weekends and holidays.”

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