Research from Canada shows that diabetes prevalence rates in Ontario have increased by 69 per cent between 1995 and 2005. This increase already exceeds the 39 per cent global rate predicted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) between 2000 and 2030.
The study also confirms that the increase is mainly due to the rise in Type 2 diabetes, which is also driven by increasing obesity levels and an ageing population.
"This research is very interesting," said Matt Hunt, Science Information Manager at Diabetes UK.
"By 2010, we estimate that the number of people with diabetes in the UK will increase by around 30 per cent to 3 million. This is a widely accepted conservative estimate - however, this new study shows that rates of diabetes could rise to an unprecedented level.
"This is particularly worrying because the UK has an ageing population and spiralling rates of obesity that could mean that the Canadian model could be replicated in the UK in the future.”
The research is published today in The Lancet journal.