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Diabetes ‘time bomb’ prompts City Hall investigation

HEALTHY LIVING: Cases of diabetes have shot up by 75 per cent over the past decade

AN INVESTIGATION into why cases of Type 2 Diabetes have shot up by 75 per cent in London was launched by City Hall earlier this week.

A meeting of the London Assembly Health Committee was held on Tuesday, June 24 to assess the scale and impact of the condition in the capital and the impact of NHS reforms on patient care.

Type 2 Diabetes develops when the body fails to produce enough insulin, or when the insulin does not work properly.

“The diabetes time bomb in London is something we cannot afford to ignore,” warned Dr Onkar Sahota, chair of the Health Committee.

“We want to look at what is behind this rise, what can be done to tackle it and the kind of care being offered to diabetics across the capital.”

Latest figures reveal that Type 2 Diabetes is three times more common in people of African and Caribbean origin. They also show that people living in the most deprived areas were 56 per cent more likely to have diabetes.

More worryingly, children of African and African Caribbean heritage were found to be at a higher risk of obesity.

Dr Sahota said this was due to the expense of nutritious and healthy food, especially in the current tough economic climate which explained why cases of Type 2 Diabetes vary across different boroughs.

“Everything from the lack of exercise to a diet with high sugar levels can cause obesity,” he said. “An apple costs less than a bar of chocolate, yet very often children choose the latter. We need to change that habit as everything that causes a high weight gain puts you at risk of diabetes.”

Dr Sahota explained it was important to lead a healthy lifestyle, as well as eat right to stay within a normal weight.

He said: “As we know African Caribbeans are at higher risk, so they should be more diligent than the other communities.

“The other complication of Type 2 Diabetes is high blood pressure and also high sugar levels are risk factors for heart disease, so these patients have a risk of getting kidney damage and you can end up losing limbs or become more prone to heart attacks.”

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