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Type 2 diabetes diagnoses among under-40s in Wales increases by 22%

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Cases of younger people being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in Wales and across the UK are rising to alarming levels. This Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week, we have outlined our plan to 'stop the crisis in its tracks’.

Our new report published this week as part of Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week (May 20-26), says the government faces 'a generational opportunity’ to tackle the crisis with a range of measures, including addressing the factors causing obesity and health inequalities.  

Our report, titled Reverse the Trend - Reducing type 2 diabetes in young people (PDF, 9,727KB), reveals there was an almost 40% increase in the number of people under the age of 40 living with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in the UK between 2016-17 and 2022-23. We estimate that there are now almost 168,000 people under 40 with the condition in the UK, a rise of more than 47,000 since 2016-17, and the figures should come as a ‘major wake-up call’ to policymakers.  

In Wales, the number of cases of people under 40 living with type 2 diabetes has risen by 22% to nearly 7,000 over the same period. 

It's also now clear that many thousands more young adults are likely to be living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, after a recent report by the Office for National Statistics estimated that 50% of those aged 16-44 with type 2 diabetes hadn’t yet received a diagnosis.  

No one thing causes type 2 diabetes. It is caused by a combination of factors. These include genetics, age, bodyweight and where your body stores fat. The reasons someone develops it will be individual to them. For many people, the odds of getting type 2 diabetes are stacked against them.

People from the most deprived areas and people from Black and South Asian backgrounds are more likely to develop the condition. This inequity is exaggerated among younger adults. More than a third of adults under 40 with type 2 diabetes are from the most deprived parts of England.  

In Wales, we encourage the Welsh Government to continue to improve food environments through its Healthy Weight Healthy Wales strategy, and to invest to ensure the long-term sustainability of the All Wales Diabetes Prevention Programme, which targets and gives support to those most at risk of developing diabetes.

Diabetes prevalence in Wales

Our new diabetes prevalence figures released this week show there are nearly 4.4 million people living with a diabetes diagnosis in the UK as of 2022-23. Approximately 90% of the cases are type 2, about 8% are type 1, with the other forms of the condition make up the remaining 2%.

In Wales, the number of cases of people living with a diagnosis of diabetes has risen by 10% to 212,108 since 2016-17. 

As part of Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week, we are urging people to check their risk of the condition by using our free, online Know Your Risk tool. It takes just a few minutes to complete and advises you on your risk and suggests next steps to help reduce your risk. 

For more information about the signs and symptoms of all types of diabetes visit 

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