EARLY diagnosis and making sure children get into good eating and exercising habits is key to tackling the rising number of people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
That’s the message from Dr Janet Maxwell, the director of public health in Portsmouth, after a report revealed 10 per cent of the population in the county is in danger of developing the condition.
We already have rising numbers of children who are overweight or obese in our primary schools and so we are working with schools to ensure healthy school meals are available and regular exercise is built into the school dayDr Janet Maxwell, director of public health for Portsmouth
Dr Maxwell said: ‘Obesity caused by a poor diet and lack of physical activity is the key cause of most cases of type 2 diabetes.
‘Our work on empowering and enabling individuals and families in our most vulnerable communities, who are often most at risk, to maintain a healthy weight should help to reduce the numbers going on to develop diabetes.
‘It’s important healthy eating and exercise is started from childhood and maintained through adulthood.
‘We already have rising numbers of children who are overweight or obese in our primary schools and so we are working with schools to ensure healthy school meals are available and regular exercise is built into the school day.
‘It’s important parents and grandparents understand the importance of regular healthy meals with fruit and vegetables and avoid giving their children sweet snacks and drinks.’
Type 2 diabetes is usually brought on by an unhealthy lifestyle and the study by Public Health England found 16,252 people in Portsmouth – 9.4 per cent of the population – aged 16 and over have non-diabetic hyperglycaemia.
This means they have high blood glucose levels, which is a sign they are susceptible to type 2 diabetes.
In Hampshire it is estimated that 129,705 people – 11.7 per cent of the population – are at risk of diabetes.
Dr Maxwell added: ‘Early diagnosis is also important and with older people being at increased risk of developing diabetes, I would urge residents aged 40 to 74 years old to take up a free NHS Health Check at their GP or some pharmacies.
‘Symptoms for illnesses such as diabetes can be detected here and if this is caught early enough then patients can make changes which will enable them to live full lives for many more years.’
Dr Maxwell also added that work to make the city more green and encourage people to walk or cycle will also help.