Number of people with obesity almost doubles in 20 years

The number of people who are obese in England has almost doubled in the last 20 years from 6.9 to 13 million. In England 29% of adults and 20% of 10 to 11 year olds are living with obesity and, although it’s not the only factor, obesity is the most significant risk factor for new cases of type 2 diabetes, accounting for 80 to 85% of someone’s risk.

It’s the main driver behind the leap in type 2 diabetes cases over the last 20 years. There are an estimated 2.85 million people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in England, and more than 850,000 living with the condition who don’t know they have it because they haven’t been diagnosed − bringing the total number up to 3.7 million.

Obesity is contributing to the increase in gestational diabetes and the worrying rise in young people with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is serious because it can lead to devastating and life-limiting complications. People with the condition are two and half times more likely to have a heart attack, and four times more likely to experience kidney failure than those without it.

More than half of all cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented or delayed, and in turn the risk of developing the related complications, by tackling being overweight and obesity. We are therefore calling for sustained government and industry action on health and obesity.

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