Call to tackle 'alarming' rise in cases of type 2 diabetes in under 40s

Dr David Crichton, chief medical officer at NHS South YorkshireDr David Crichton, chief medical officer at NHS South Yorkshire
Dr David Crichton, chief medical officer at NHS South Yorkshire
REGIONAL health bosses have added their voice to a national call for action to tackle an “alarming” rise in cases of type 2 diabetes in people aged under 40, after research revealed a more than 50 per cent increase in South Yorkshire.

A new report published by Diabetes UK reveals there was an almost 40 per cent increase nationally in the number of people under the age of 40 living with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes between 2016-17 and 2022-23.

In South Yorkshire the number of cases has risen by 52 per cent to 4,105 over the same period.

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Clare Howarth, head of the north region for Diabetes UK said: “Diagnoses of type 2 diabetes in people under 40 are rising to alarming levels in South Yorkshire and across the UK.

“It’s a damning indictment of the barriers that many of us face to living a healthy life, where good food is affordable, and exercise isn't a luxury.

“There is a generational opportunity to stop this crisis in its tracks and we are calling on all political parties to seize it.”

She added: “We need bold action to reverse the rising trend in type 2 diabetes, overturn our broken food environment and give every child and young person the best possible chance to grow up in good health.”

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Type 2 diabetes has historically been associated with older people, but cases among under 40s have been on the rise in recent years and are now increasing at a faster rate than among over 40s.

The condition is known to have more severe and acute consequences in people under 40 and, without the right treatment and support, can lead to serious diabetes complications including kidney failure and heart disease

Dr David Crichton, chief medical officer at NHS South Yorkshire, said: “Diabetes is a growing concern across the UK and it is also affecting people in our community disproportionately.

“The contributory factors are complex, difficult to deal with and not always in our control.

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“We are working with our public health colleagues and the Mayoral Combined Authority to look at broader solutions such as tackling commercial determinants of health that affect our wellbeing.

“While we cannot change our genetic inheritance of developing diabetes, we can reduce the risks with the right support.

People with pre-diabetes can be referred for support through the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme to help people to make lifestyle changes.

“Our T2Day programme is an NHS initiative to improve care for people with Early Onset type 2 diabetes affecting those aged between 18-39.

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“A targeted improvement approach is proposed to improve outcomes for people with diabetes and reduce health inequalities.

“Maintaining a healthy weight, through a balanced diet and keeping physically active, continues to be the main actions to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“It’s important that people to be aware of their level of risk early on to make those lifestyle changes that will have a positive benefit in reducing the risk of developing diabetes.”

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