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Child type 2 diabetes epidemic in Birmingham triggers calls for 'urgent' action

Birmingham Mail logo Birmingham Mail 20/01/2019 Debora Aru
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Six children or young adults a week are admitted to hospital with Type 2 diabetes in the West Midlands.

Exclusive figures obtained from NHS Digital show that people under the age of 25 were hospitalised by the disease 335 times in the financial year 2017/18.

Figures are rounded to the nearest five to protect anonymity - meaning the true number could be slightly higher or lower.

The data shows that, over the last five years, children and young adults in our region were hospitalised 1,610 times in total due to Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that causes the level of sugar in the blood to become too high because the pancreas can’t make enough insulin to process it.

According to Diabetes UK, Type 2 can lead to serious complications such as blindness, amputation, heart disease and kidney failure.

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It usually develops over the age of 40 in White Europeans or after 25 in people who are African-Caribbean, Black African, or South Asian.

The condition is much more aggressive in children and young people than in adults, with a higher overall risk of complications.

Those complications also tend to appear much earlier.

The risk of developing Type 2 is greatly increased by being overweight or obese.

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Family history and ethnic background are also risk factors.

Britain has seen a significant increase in childhood obesity in recent years.

The latest figures show that more than a third of children in England are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.

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Across England as a whole, there were 2,643 hospitalisations of children and young adults due to Type 2 diabetes in 2017/18.

That was up two per cent from 2,603 in 2016/17.

It means there have been a total of 12,465 hospitalisations since 2013/14.

“Urgent action is needed to stem the rise of childhood obesity"

Douglas Twenefour, deputy head of care at Diabetes UK, said: “Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to potentially life-changing complications.

“These include sight loss, amputation, stroke and cardiovascular disease, to name a few.

“Type 2 diabetes is more aggressive in children and young people than it is in adults.

“Urgent action is needed to stem the rise of childhood obesity.

“Diabetes UK is calling on the government to follow through with its Childhood Obesity plan by banning junk food advertising on TV to children before 9pm, and by restricting supermarket price promotions on unhealthy foods.”

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