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23,000 under-18s in England have diabetes

Almost 23,000 children and young people have diabetes in England, according to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).

The snapshot survey, ‘Growing up with Diabetes: children and young people with diabetes in 2009’, was commissioned by the Department of Health and advised on by Diabetes UK. It gives accurate numbers of children and young people under the age of 18 with diabetes of any type in England.

The report also shows that:

  • the greatest number of children and young people with diabetes are aged between 10 and 14 years (just under 9,000)
  • there are at least 15,361 children (aged 5 to 15) in schools in England with diabetes – this has significant implications for schools and families.
  • there are differences in numbers of cases between Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs). The numbers with Type 1 diabetes are higher than would be expected in the North East and South East Coast SHAs. For Type 2 diabetes, numbers were much higher than average in London, the North East and the West Midlands.

Small but unprecedented number with Type 2

"Approximately 2,000 new cases of Type 1 diabetes are diagnosed in children and young people each year, and the obesity epidemic means a small but unprecedented number of this age group have Type 2 diabetes," said Simon O’Neill, Director of Care, Information and Advocacy at Diabetes UK.

All children with diabetes need effective support

“Every one of these 23,000 children and young people must be effectively supported to manage their diabetes and protect their short- and long-term health. The role of specialist services and schools in this should not be underestimated.

Paediatric diabetes specialist nurses

“Paediatric diabetes specialist nurses have the unique knowledge and experience needed to provide individual care for children and young people with diabetes. They are able to enter into a child’s world to individualise services throughout these challenging years.

Schools

“Some schools do a fantastic job of ensuring all pupils enjoy a full school life, but this is far from universal.

"Diabetes UK hears too often of children with Type 1 diabetes being denied the school of their choice or having to change their insulin regimen to fit around school timetables regardless of what’s best for their diabetes control.

"Some parents cannot work because they have to administer insulin to their child during the day where there is no provision at school.

"To address the issue, schools, primary care trusts and local authorities must work together. Jim Cunningham MP is putting forward the Schools (Health Support) Bill, which is due to have its second reading on 8 May.”

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