MORE and more young people are being diagnosed with diabetes because of their unhealthy lifestyles.
Type 2 diabetes, which is usually linked to being overweight and inactive, used to be a condition that affected people over the age of 40.
But health officials in Portsmouth say people in their 20s and 30s are now being diagnosed.
It comes as figures from the Association of Public Health Observatories reveal that more than 1,000 people across our area were diagnosed with diabetes in the last year.
Portsmouth now has the highest number of cases with 8,122 people registered as diabetic.
There are 6,156 registered diabetics in Havant, 4,638 in Fareham and 3,719 in Gosport. Many more hundreds are believed to be undiagnosed.
Around 85 to 95 per cent of the cases will be type 2 diabetes – which can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle.
Simon Bryant, acting associate director of public health for NHS Portsmouth, said: ‘Diabetes is a big worry for us because we know it’s on the rise and it’s becoming an increasing burden on the NHS because it’s a long-term condition.
‘We are definitely seeing more young people being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as well, because of the rise in obesity among youngsters.
‘The key is that type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating well and not being overweight and keeping active. That’s the message we want to get out to people.’
Startling statistics from the public health observatories also show how early unhealthy lifestyles and obesity are setting in in our area, with one in five children in Portsmouth and Gosport being obese (21 per cent) by the age of 10 and 11 – above the England average (18 per cent). Seventeen per cent are obese in Havant and 16 per cent in Fareham.
Health officials are trying to encourage youngsters to lead healthy and active lives and help young people and adults with weight problems.
Mr Bryant says the NHS is doing everything it can to help people avoid getting diabetes because it is a serious condition.
He added: ‘Diabetes can lead to strokes, heart disease and blindness. It shouldn’t be underestimated.’
Although type 2 diabetes is commonly linked to an unhealthy lifestyle, healthy people can still develop the condition.
However type 1 diabetes is not caused by lifestyle, and is mainly diagnosed in childhood.