Type 2 diabetes rise in children prompts obesity 'time bomb' fears

Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The rising number of children and teenagers being treated for Type 2 diabetes has sparked fresh concerns about the "time bomb" of childhood obesity.

Latest figures show more than 600 children and youngsters under the age of 25 have been found to have the condition which is most common in adults and often linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight.

In what has been described as "a hugely disturbing trend" there were even cases of children as young as five being treated for the condition in the last year.

Local councils are now warning that urgent action needs to be taken on childhood obesity and the Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, says more funding needs to be dedicated to tackling the issue.

Councillor Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, said: "These figures show a hugely disturbing trend in the increasing number of children and teenagers being treated in Paediatric Diabetes Units for Type 2 diabetes, a condition normally only associated with adults.

"Obesity is usually linked with major health conditions later on in life, but already we are seeing the devastating consequences at an early age.

"Ahead of the first anniversary of the childhood obesity plan, this highlights the need to take urgent action on this major public health time bomb."

Libby Dowling, senior clinical advisor for the charity Diabetes UK, said it was "extremely worrying" that more young people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes "especially as we know that for nearly 80% obesity is the likely cause for developing the condition."

She said: "Some of the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are out of our control, but we can do something about being overweight or obese which is one of the most significant risk factors.

"It's shocking that children are having to struggle with a condition that could have been prevented."