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Middle-aged men twice as likely to have diabetes as women

Men aged 35-54 are almost twice as likely to have diabetes compared to their female counterparts, reveals our new report 'Diabetes in the UK 2009', out  today.

Key statistics on diabetes shows that 2.4 per cent (around 92,960) of men in England aged 35-44 have diabetes compared to 1.2 per cent (around 47,000) of women of the same age, and 6 per cent (around 197,050) of men aged 45-54 have diabetes compared to 3.6 per cent (around 120,670) of women their age.

Statistics also show that diabetes has risen four times faster in men aged 35-44 over the last 12 years compared to women of the same age, and that, consistently, more men are overweight than women.

Approximately 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, which is strongly linked to lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity levels. The condition can be genetic, but many people are overweight when they are diagnosed.

Simon O’Neill, Diabetes UK’s Director of Care, Information and Advocacy, said: “It’s very worrying that men of this age are developing diabetes at such an alarming rate compared to their female counterparts. Most of them will have Type 2 diabetes, which is genetic but is also strongly linked to lifestyle and can be prevented in many cases by eating a healthy balanced diet and doing regular physical activity.

“Women should not rest on their laurels, either. They may tend to develop the condition later in life, but the risk of death from heart disease associated with Type 2 diabetes is about 50 per cent greater in women than it is in men – not a statistic to be ignored.

“Diabetes UK is calling on everyone carrying extra weight to reduce their chances of developing Type 2 diabetes by leading a healthier lifestyle. We must take action now to tackle Type 2 diabetes head-on.”

Research shows that losing weight can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes in those at high risk by 58 per cent and physical activity can reduce the risk by 64 per cent.

Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include:

  • being over 40 years old
  • or over 25 if you’re Black, Asian or from an ethnic minority group
  • having a large waist
  • being of Black or South Asian origin and having a family history of the condition.

Type 2 diabetes can be undetected for 10 years or more and around half of people already have complications by the time they are diagnosed. At risk waist measurements are 37 inches or more for men, except those of South Asian origin who are at risk at 35 inches or more, and 31.5 inches or more for all women.

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