The number of people under 40 with type 2 diabetes in the UK has risen sharply in the past 20 years, research shows.
Between 1990 and 2010, cases increased by 270% - there were around 150 cases per 100,000 people in 1990, but by 2010 it rose to 500.
Research also shows the average age at which people get the disease is falling: the proportion of those under 40 with it has risen from 5% to 12%.
According to Cardiff University's Professor Craig Currie, the disease can be considered ‘common’ among the relatively young.
The increase could bring greater health issues later in life, experts have claimed, as people have a longer time to develop associated problems such as blindness and kidney failure.
"This will undoubtedly place an increasing burden on healthcare resources and result in poorer quality of life,” lead researcher Professor Currie, of the university's school of medicine told the BBC.
"An earlier age of onset may also ultimately lead to premature death. We have known for some time that the incidence of new cases and prevalence of the total number of people of type 2 diabetes has been increasing in the UK.”
The research, published in the journal of Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism, found there was an increase in type 2 diabetes in children and teenagers.
By analysing NHS data the researchers found an overall increase in the number of people with diabetes and an overall drop in the average age of diagnosis.