Figures show that the number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has jumped by 18% in five years, it has emerged.
The Scottish Parliament heard that figures obtained by Tory health spokeswoman Mary Scanlon revealed the number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last year was 17,037 - compared with 14,401 in 2002. Ms Scanlon warned that many more have not yet been diagnosed with the condition.
The figures peaked at 17,071 in 2004, but dropped by 927 in 2005, before rising again over the next two years.
Obesity is a key factor in type 2 diabetes, although smoking, lack of exercise, poor diet and excessive alcohol can also be contributory factors. Ms Scanlon said that more PE in schools would help address the problem, while the benefits of walking or cycling to work should also be emphasised.
"The effects of type 2 diabetes should not be underestimated," she added. "With changes to diet and lifestyle the number of people being diagnosed with type 2 could be reduced."
Meanwhile, the level of type 1 diabetes remained static. Cases stood at 1,036 in 2002 and were 1,052 last year, but dipped below 1,000 in 2005 and 2006.
"I can't take the diagnosis of diabetes seriously when the disease is attributed to obesity. Obesity is not a cause of diabetes but a POSSIBLE result of two of the other listed 'causes': poor diet and lack of exercise. It doesn't make sense. It's nonsense and a stupid and obvious myth that causes no end of problems for sufferers and wastes so much time and money on useless research." - Sue Thomason, Cheshire