Type 2 diabetes on the rise among children, experts warn

The number of children with type 2 diabetes as a result of too much processed food and too little exercise is going up, pediatricians have warned.

There are no exact figures to confirm the extent of the rise but “we are seeing more children and they are getting younger,” endocrinologist Erica van den Akker told RTL Nieuws.

Charity Diabetesfonds estimates that cases have shot up from perhaps a handful a year five years ago to a few dozen now. In the long term, diabetes can lead to damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and brain.

Diabetes type 2 is mainly a result of weight gain caused by too much fat and sugar-laden processed foods, and a lack of exercise, Van den Akker said.

Some 94% of television advertising for unhealthy food is targeted at children, the Diabetesfonds said earlier. In 2022, the government announced draft legislation that will limit advertising specifically aimed at youngsters.

Between 2020 and 2022, 12% of children in the Netherlands aged between two and 12 were overweight, figures from statistics agency CBS show. Some 3% could be classified as obese.

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