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Rise in diabetes cases in the UK

A 63% jump in the number of people newly diagnosed with diabetes over the last ten years is down to a rising tide of obesity in the UK, experts suggest.

Between 1996 and 2005, the number of adults and children with type 1 and type 2 diabetes rose dramatically.

Previous studies show that type 1 diabetes often develops in childhood, whereas type 2 is usually linked to obesity.

Research, published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, shows that between 1997 and 2003 the number of new cases rose 74%, climbing 63% across the entire decade.

The findings, gathered by experts from Spain and Sweden, suggest the rate of diabetes in the UK is overtaking that of the USA, which is one of the worse affected countries in the world for the disease.

Over the last 10 years in the UK, 42,642 newly diagnosed with the disease were added to the register. Of those, 1,256 had type 1 diabetes and 41,386 had type 2.

The authors wrote: "Our results suggest that, although the incidence of diabetes remains lower in the UK than in the USA or Canada, it appears to be increasing at a faster pace."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Like Angela in Essex, I am in general practice, and we are seeing at least one newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic a week, the majority of whom are grossly overweight. We need to change our lifestyle habits as well as eating habits, and that will only happen as the message about diabetes and obesity get through to the public at large." - Ellen, Somerset

"I have been seeing at least one new type 2 diabetic a week in general practice in Essex since November 2008. I am convinced that it is not only linked to obesity, but to the food we eat in general, especially the artificially sweetened foods that contain aspartame. All sugar-free, low-sugar foods are sweetened with this toxic substance, and most people unwittingly consume drinks and foods laden with it, thinking it is good for them!" - Angela Ratcliff, Essex

"Perhaps we are just picking up the 'missing million' undiagnosed people with type 2 diabetes due to the QOF targets focussing on prevalance within the primary care setting." - Julie, Corby