According to new analysis by Diabetes UK, over 6,500 children and young adults have been reported to have Type 2 diabetes in England and Wales.
The latest figures for 2016-17 show the number of under 25s treated in GP practices for the condition has reached 6,836.
The National Paediatric Diabetes Audit (NPDA) published earlier this year found that 715 children and young people under the age of 25 were receiving care for Type 2 diabetes. The figure is significantly lower than that cited by Diabetes UK because only children and young people being treated in paediatric diabetes units in England and Wales were included in the NPDA report analysis.
Unlike Type 1 diabetes, the risk of developing Type 2 is greatly increased by being overweight or obese. Family history and ethnic background are also risk factors.
Diabetes UK is calling on the Government to enact measures laid out in its childhood obesity plan to ban junk food advertising on TV to children before 9pm and restrict supermarket price promotions for unhealthy foods.
In response to Diabetes UK's new analysis, Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said:
When the RCPCH’s paediatric diabetes audit launched in the summer, we were concerned then that the numbers of children we were seeing with Type 2 diabetes was an underestimate. This latest analysis, which takes primary care contacts into consideration, shows these concerns were justified and emphasises the need to act.
For many children, the development of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented with lifestyle changes but this isn’t easy - they need support. That’s why we were pleased to see the ambitious proposals set out in Chapter Two of the Childhood Obesity Plan. We urge the Government to maximise their impact by introducing them all and doing so quickly.