Published on 13 August 2021

Recently published reports that 1,600 children and young people in England are living with the condition.

A new report has highlighted the alarming figures that 1,600 children and young people in England are now diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The findings were recently published in the NHS Digital Young people with type 2 diabetes report.

The report findings included that just 30% of those young people with type 2 diabetes were receiving the care they need to live well with the condition.

Being obese and overweight were reported to be the main factors for the rise in young people diagnosed with the condition, that usually affects people over the age of 40 and is related to diet and lifestyle. In addition, ethnicity was also a factor.

Those young people living with type 2 diabetes that are not receiving the care they need to manage the condition, could be at risk of developing additional complications. These can be more damaging in the longer term for those aged under 18.

Type 2 diabetes can be more serious when diagnosed in young people – and serious complications can include kidney failure and heart disease in later life.

If left untreated, the condition can be severe, but if those diagnosed get the specialist care and support they need, it's possible for them to live well and avoid complications. 

Previous studies found that around a third (30%) of children aged two to 15 are currently obese or overweight. Research shows that this is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and could be behind the increase in cases across the country. 

In response to the report Diabetes UK said: “We believe the NHS, NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and the Government all have a role to play in tackling the crisis. It’s essential that they provide better care and find innovative ways of reducing overweight and obesity in under-18s. 

“We are calling for the NHS to prioritise developing specialist services designed to support children and young people living with type 2 diabetes; NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) to review and reinforce their guidelines and make sure they explain clearly that children living with type 2 diabetes must receive the same level of specialist care that children with type 1 receive.”

They also called on the government to work harder to tackle childhood obesity: “The suggested restrictions on junk food marketing for children are a good start, but more must be done. Fat and sugar levels in foods need to be reduced and healthier food must be more accessible for everyone.”

Read the NHS Digital report Young people with type 2 diabetes
Find out more about type 2 diabetes
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