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Incidents of childhood diabetes increasing in UK

6 April 2009

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A national register of young diabetes sufferers should be set up to help improve treatment after it was found nearly 23,000 children have the condition, an NHS report has concluded.

It had previously been thought that around 20,000 youngsters in the whole of the UK had the syndrome, but a national survey by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), shows more under-18s have diabetes than first thought.

The survey, commissioned by the Department of Health, found most have type 1 diabetes, which is caused when the body fails to produce enough insulin. But an increasing number are developing the rarer type 2 diabetes, linked to obesity. Previous figures put the proportion of sufferers with type 2 at 0.21 per 100,000. The survey found this is now at three in 100,000.

Research showed there were 22,947 young people under 18 with diabetes, equivalent to 209 per 100,000 children. The authors of the report believe this has “significant implications” for schools as at least 15,361 of those were of school age (aged five to 15).

The report said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that both the incidence and patient demographics are changing in childhood diabetes and the establishment of a national register would enable these changes to be more closely monitored so that resources are allocated appropriately.”

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