THE latest data has revealed that as many as 1,560 children in England aged 18 or under have type 2 diabetes which has historically only been diagnosed in people over the age of 40, The Guardian reported.
Following the release of 2019-20 data, Diabetes UK charity has urged the government to do more to tackle childhood obesity with one in three are now overweight.
The charity also highlighted the need for easy access to specialist care to avoid health complications in later life, The Guardian report added.
According to an NHS Digital report, type 2 diabetes is known to be more severe in young people, and only 30 per cent of sufferers receive the care they should.
The condition can lead to serious complications in later years, including kidney failure and heart disease. However, children can manage their condition well and minimise the risk of complications if they get help, experts said.
Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, has called the figures “a sad indictment of the health of our nation”.
“These new figures are a worrying wake-up call. The environment we live in is a major contributing factor to rising levels of childhood obesity, and in turn type 2 diabetes. Far more needs to be done to improve the environment in which we live,” he told The Guardian.
UK children under 16 were exposed to 15bn junk food adverts online in 2020, as per government estimate.
Diabetes UK has urged NHS England to prioritise the development of services tailored for children with type 2 diabetes.
It called for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) to revise, reinforce and promote guidelines on diabetes in children and young people to ensure access to care.
The government should go further in its measures to tackle childhood obesity, the charity said.
It also proposed to restrict junk food marketing to children and to reformulate foods to reduce sugar and fat content and make healthier food more accessible, the newspaper report said.