UK is worst in world for diabetes rise in the young as study shows Type 2 cases of the condition have QUADRUPLED since 1990
- Type 2 diabetes usually develops in middle aged and older people
- Soaring rates of obesity have led to younger people being diagnosed
- 1990 the UK had 94 cases per 100,000 young adults, by 2019, it was almost 347
- The condition increases risk of heart disease, vision loss as well as death
Levels of type 2 diabetes among adolescents and young adults have risen faster in Britain than anywhere else in the world, a study suggests.
There has been a near four-fold increase in younger people being diagnosed with the condition since 1990, according to researchers who analysed data from more than 200 countries and regions.
Type 2 diabetes usually develops in middle aged and older people, increasing the risk of complications such as heart disease and vision loss as well as death.
But soaring rates of obesity have contributed to younger people also being diagnosed, leading to an alarming rise in rates of the condition in the past 30 years.
There has been a near four-fold increase in younger people being diagnosed with the condition since 1990
The team, from Harbin Medical University in China, used data from the Global Burden of Disease study to compare type 2 diabetes rates in people aged between 15 and 39.
Their results, published in the BMJ, show that in 1990 the UK had 94 cases of type 2 diabetes per 100,000 young adults. But by 2019, this had risen nearly four-fold to almost 347.
Canada recorded the second fastest increase, with a leap from around 29 cases per 100,000 young people in 1990 to 79 in 2019.
Across the world, the number of young people being diagnosed increased from 117 per 100,000 in 1990 to 183 per 100,000 in 2019.
The main attributable risk factor for early onset type 2 diabetes was high body mass index, with air pollution and smoking also having an effect, according to the study.
The researchers said: ‘Our study showed a clear upward trend of the burden of early onset type 2 diabetes from 1990 to 2019.
‘At the country level, the UK and Canada had the fastest increase in the age standardised incidence rate.
‘These findings provide a basis for understanding the epidemic nature of early onset type 2 diabetes and call for urgent actions to deal with the issue from a global perspective.
‘Weight control is essential in reducing the burden of early onset type 2 diabetes, but countries should establish specific policies to deal with this problem more effectively.’
Diabetes causes the level of sugar in the blood to become too high and can lead to symptoms such as excessive thirst, needing to urinate a lot and tiredness.
Most people with the condition need medicine to help keep their blood-sugar level as normal as possible, such as metformin tablets taken with or after meals.
Earlier this year, the Daily Mail revealed that almost 500 people a week diagnosed with type 2 diabetes could reverse the disease when a radical soups and shakes diet is rolled out nationwide on the NHS.