Survey results presented today at the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference show that children living in inner city areas are at increased risk of becoming obese and developing Type 2 diabetes.
The study, conducted by researchers in Leicester, shows that only 37 per cent of children in one urban area walked to school.
In addition, 47 per cent of the pupils taking part in the survey also admitted to spending more than four hours per day watching television and videos or playing computer games.
Inactive lifestyles can increase the likelihood of obesity and contribute to the development of Type 2 diabetes.
Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive at Diabetes UK, said: “This research confirms a very worrying trend and highlights issues that are of crucial importance to today’s youth.
"The link between obesity and Type 2 diabetes is well documented: 80 per cent of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese at diagnosis.
"Unless we take action now to have our children eating a more healthy diet, prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in children will only increase. The potential long-term impact of this is frightening, both in terms of impact on the children and the cost of dealing with it."