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UK diabetes cases rising faster than America as obesity levels soar

By Nigel Praities

Rising levels of obesity are contributing to a 74% rise in new cases of diabetes in six years, claim European researchers.

In the first longitudinal study of the incidence of both Type 1 and 2 diabetes in the UK, the researchers found rates of diabetes were increasing more rapidly than in the USA or Canada, where prevalence of the disease is the highest in the world.

The study has major implications for workload of GPs, as the national roll-out of vascular screening across the UK from April this year includes testing for undiagnosed diabetes or impaired glucose intolerance and managing these new patients.

The Spanish and Swedish researchers looked at data from the Health Improvement database and found the incidence of diabetes in the UK had increased from 2.71 per 1,000 person years in 1996, to 4.42 per 1,000 person years in 2005.

This increase of 74% was greater than that seen in the USA, which had an estimated 41% increase over the same time period.

The UK is catching up with North America on diabetes due to large increases in the number of people with obesity, concluded the researchers.

‘It seems likely that the observed increase in the incidence of diabetes is related to the increase in obesity which has been seen across the same time frame.

‘Over the course of the current study, the proportion of patients newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes who were obese increased by 21.7%,' they observed.

The study is published in the latest edition of the Journal of Epidemiological Community Health.

Diabetes cases in the UK have increased by 74% in last six years

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