Soaring levels of Type 2 diabetes is a result of an ‘epidemic across the world’ according to a leading University of Manchester professor.
According to a recent study, the number of people under the age of 40 suffering with Type 2 diabetes rose from 5% in 1991 to 12% in 2010.
Professor Andrew Boulton, Professor of Medicine at the University of Manchester, said obesity is far and away the biggest factor in the increase.
He said: “It’s no real surprise this is happening when right across the country there is decreased levels of exercise and an increase in BMI.
“Children need to exercise and diet sensibly to significantly reduce the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.”
According to Diabetes UK, Type 2 diabetes develops when the body cannot make enough insulin.
The disease usually appears in people over the age of 40, but as recent figures show, it is now becoming more common in children, adolescents and young people of all ethnicities.
It is the most common form of diabetes, affecting approximately 90% of sufferers – and other factors such as diet, family history and genetics can also cause its development.
Professor Boulton added: “It’s very difficult to stop this happening when schools don’t do a lot of sport anymore.
“Labour under Tony Blair tried to tackle the problem but they faced resistance. More certainly needs to be done.”
The study, which was published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, tracked patients who were newly diagnosed with the disease between 1991 and 2010.
The journal’s editor Professor Richard Donnell said: “This is an important study which highlights the continued rise of Type 2 diabetes as a major public health challenge for the UK.
“The results are likely to mirror similar trends in other European countries.”