UK diabetes deaths in young ‘high and rising’

Scientists warned that more youngsters are dying from diabetes in the UK than in other EU countries
Scientists warned that more youngsters are dying from diabetes in the UK than in other EU countries

More youngsters are dying from diabetes in the UK than in other EU countries, scientists have warned.

Emerging research from the Institute of Child Health at University College London found the UK has a “high and rising” diabetes mortality rate compared with the EU among 15-to-24-year-olds from 2000 onwards.

This is a significant concern given that we know that diabetes control is poor

For children aged from one to 14, however, there was a decline in mortality at a higher rate than other members of the EU.

Professor Russell Viner, who led the study, said very few young children die from diabetes and it is in older children that more serious health problems are likely to occur.

He also stressed the research did not explore the reasons why the UK is falling behind, but said he believed it was down to a combination of factors including higher levels of inequality and poverty, healthcare issues and population factors.

“This is a significant concern given that we know that diabetes control is poor,” he said.

“This is going that next step and saying that death is rising.”

By analysing World Health Organisation (WHO) data from 1990 to 2010, his team also found there was little change in diabetes mortality among one-to-14-year-olds in the United States, but a significant rise in diabetes mortality among 15-to-24-year-olds.

More children are being diagnosed with diabetes than ever before, and a Welsh study published earlier this month found that children with type 1 diabetes are almost five times as likely to be admitted to hospital than those without.

The latest National Paediatric Diabetes Audit revealed there were 1,000 more children suffering from diabetes reported last year while there remains significant regional disparity between the quality of care given to young sufferers in England and Wales.

It also found that children and young people living in the most deprived areas are likely to fare less well in terms of diabetes control compared to those in more affluent places while white ethnic groups achieve better control of their diabetes compared to other ethnicities.