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Soldiers with diabetes fighting fit

A career in the armed forces should be an option for people with diabetes - this is the finding of the first study into insulin-treated conscripts doing regular military service, in Finland.

Results from the research, published today in the journal Diabetic Medicine, showed that the drop-out rate was not significantly different between conscripts with or without diabetes: 15 per cent compared to 12 per cent respectively.

The research, based on 47 men in the Finnish army between 2001 and 2005, also showed that 46 per cent of conscripts with diabetes were chosen for leadership training compared to 20 per cent of all conscripts.

“Diabetes UK believes that people with diabetes should not be banned from doing any job simply because of their condition," said Simon O’Neill, Director of Care and Policy at Diabetes UK.

"People with diabetes should be given the right to prove their fitness for specific roles. Unfortunately, the armed forces are the last employer not to adopt a positive outlook on disability discrimination issues.

"Diabetes UK will continue to campaign to get this situation reversed.”

In the UK employers who are exempt from the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), such as the armed forces, can impose a ban on recruiting people with insulin-treated diabetes.

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