Some people can end up with Type 2 diabetes through no fault of their own. But many more are being diagnosed because they have an unhealthy lifestyle.
Today we report how figures from the Association of Public Health Observatories show that more than 1,000 people across our area were diagnosed with diabetes in the past year.
In the city there are now 8,122 people registered as diabetic. In Havant the figure is 6,156, while in Fareham it is 4,638 and 3,719 in Gosport. Many hundreds more are believed to be undiagnosed.
That is a big enough concern. Yet to learn that people in Portsmouth in their 20s and 30s are now becoming diabetics is shocking. The condition used to affect those over the age of 40, but now the evidence is plain that the younger generation is also at risk because of poor diet and not enough physical activity.
The rise of diabetes has gone hand in hand with obesity levels and now health bosses are urging people to take more responsibility for their own health.
We agree. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by eating the right things and exercising regularly. It’s not rocket science. Yet too many people are ignoring the health problems they are storing up for the future.
Do you really want to be told one day that you are a diabetic and that you may need to take medication as well as making big changes to your lifestyle?
There is an element of selfishness in those who refuse to change their ways. Because, as Simon Bryant, acting associate director of public health for NHS Portsmouth, says, the rising number of diabetics is becoming an increasing burden on the National Health Service because it’s a long-term condition.
Education has to start with the young, particularly as this area has worryingly high levels of obesity. One in five Year 6 children in Portsmouth and Gosport are classed as obese by 10 and 11.
They must be told that diabetes is serious and can lead to such complications as a stroke, heart disease and blindness. And for their own sake, they (and their parents) really must listen.