Independent health advisers NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) has warned that a “tsunami” of diabetes could be on the way because of the unhealthy lifestyle parents are allowing their children to adopt, reports the Telegraph.
Driving rather than walking children to school, feeding them eat junk food and allowing them to become increasingly inactive is putting children as young as seven at risk of Type 2 diabetes, usually associated with middle-age.
The number of children under 16 currently diagnosed with the disease – around 300 a year – is still relatively low in Britain. But experts are warning that it will get worse if nothing is done to combat childhood obesity.
In the US, around 40% of paediatric referrals are connected to T2 diabetes, where the body gradually loses its ability to produce insulin. The disease is predominantly caused by years of over-eating and lack of exercise.
Professor Khunti, professor of primary care at Leicester University and a GP, said, “We used to talk about diabetes being an epidemic; now we are talking about it being a tsunami.”
The warnings from NICE coincide with a motion from the London Assembly, the elected body that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London, urging the Olympic movement to restrict sponsorship of the Games from companies associated with products connected to childhood obesity.
McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are lead sponsors of the London Olympics.