The UK is not only in the grip of an obesity problem but a life-threatening diabetes issues too. Deaths from diabetes will rise to one in seven within 20 years if obesity can’t be reduced.
Diabetes UK, an organisation that represents diabetic patients in the UK, have also warned that the cost of treating the condition to the NHS will increase by one third by 2025.
Conditions that link to diabetes currently cost the NHS around £9 billion per year, taking inflation into consideration that figure will be up to £12 billion within the next 17 years.
The figures released by Diabetes UK also suggest a fall in life expectancy for the first time in 200 years due to higher levels of people suffering with the disease.
New diabetic patients doubled in the past year from 83,000 to 167,000 and a predicted 4 million people will have the disease by 2025.
Better detection of diabetes has been attributed to this increase but obesity has been cited as one of the main causes of type 2 diabetes.
The Government’s Health Select Committee have spoken out to say the problem has been forecast but the action required to curb has been slow.
The Committee produced a report a few years ago about obesity that predicted an increase in diabetes but it is only being recognised now.
The Liberal Democrats have called for an awareness campaign on the risks and causes of diabetes and how to combat the problem with good nutrition and exercise.
The Conservative shadow health secretary Andrew Lanley has also commented that obesity greatly increases the risk of diabetes.
Another cause for concern is diabetic treatment. According to Diabetes UK, the primary care trust area you live in will affect the level of treatment you receive for the disease.
Screening programmes to identify ‘retinopathy’, an eye condition that can cause blindness and is suffered by 40% of diabetics, could be ineffective if not carried out early enough.
Retinopathy screening should be available once a year but the numbers of people with diabetes being offered it varies depending on the primary care trust. The Department of Health’s figures suggest less than 50% receive the test.