Latest figures from the RCPCH show that there are 533 children and young people, including 11 aged nine or under, in the UK with Type 2 diabetes.
To coincide with Diabetes Week, the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils with responsibility for public health, says the number will continue to rise unless bold action is taken in the Government’s childhood obesity strategy.
The single greatest risk factor for children developing Type 2 diabetes is being overweight, which in turn can lead to obesity. Data from the National Child Measurement Programme, carried out in schools and funded by councils, shows one in 10 four and five-year-olds and one in five 10 and 11-year-olds are obese.
Responding to the LGA's call, Dr Justin Warner Clinical Lead for the National Paediatric Diabetes Audit (NPDA) and member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Heath, said:
“With a third of 10 year olds either overweight or obese in the UK, it has become increasingly common to see children and young people developing type 2 diabetes.
“The Government must act now before this becomes the norm. The long awaited childhood obesity strategy will go some way in doing this however it must offer clear and bold solutions. This includes more research into prevention of obesity as well as making Personal, Social and Health Education a statutory subject in all schools covering the importance of physical activity and nutrition for a healthy lifestyle.”