Children Aged Nine Falling Victim to 'Adult' Diabetes
Byline: FIONA MACRAE
SOARING levels of obesity are causing 100 children a year to be diagnosed with a form of diabetes which normally affects only middleaged adults.
The number of cases of Type 2 diabetes in children has risen tenfold in the past five years, with a record 100 new cases in under 16s between 2004 and 2005.
Data from GPs' surgeries shows that children as young as nine are being diagnosed with the condition, which until lately was thought as being the preserve of overweight adults. Doctors blamed obesity for creating a diabetes timebomb which could condemn the younger generation to a life of ill health, including a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, eye and kidney problems.
And they claimed that the figures, obtained by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, were likely to be the tip of the iceberg, with tens of thousands more overweight youngsters at risk of developing the condition.
A further 60,000 children are thought to be suffering from weight-related metabolic syndrome- a combination of conditionsincluding high blood pressure and raised cholesterol - which is thought to precede Type 2 diabetes.
Dr Julian Shield, the Bristol University paediatrician who carried out the research, said: 'Until now, we had no idea how many children were being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. It is a shocking figure.' Neville Rigby, of the International Obesity Task Force, said: 'The childhood obesity timebomb has already exploded. …