Diabetes on the rise among the under-fives


Type 1 diabetes is on the rise among the under-fives. The rise on the life-long and life-threatening condition in young children is causing alarm amongst experts, particularly as its cause is unknown.

Research published in The Lancet in 2009 suggested that cases of Type 1 in children under five across Europe may double by 2020. The annual increase in children aged four and under was 5.4 per cent over the period 1989-2003.

Justin Warner, a consultant in paediatric endocrinology and diabetes, said the condition could be triggered by a viral infection and that lifestyle factors are not associated with Type 1 diabetes.

He said: "'It's a no-blame condition. It's not due to obesity. It's an autoimmune condition, which means that some people are pre-disposed to develop it, but something has to trigger it.'

However, although the cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown, the environment is thought to be a key factor.

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