THE number of young people in England and Wales with type 2 diabetes has increased almost 10-fold to nearly 7,000, according to new figures.
Analysis by Diabetes UK has found 6,836 under-25s are receiving treatment for the condition – almost 10 times the previously reported figure of 715.
The condition is more aggressive in younger people than in adults, with a higher overall risk of complications that tend to appear earlier.
The charity said the "shocking" rise was largely driven by obesity, with family history and ethnic background also playing a part. With more than a third of children in England (34 per cent) overweight, it said thousands more could be diagnosed in the next few years.
It is calling for a ban on junk food advertising on TV before the 9pm watershed and restrictions on junk food price promotions in supermarkets. It is urging NHS funding to be spent on prevention and on specialist support services.
Bridget Turner, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Diabetes UK, said: "We need to encourage healthy living by providing clear and easy to understand nutritional information about the products we are all buying, and protect children from adverts for foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.
"At the same time, we must look after those who already have the condition so they can avoid serious complications such as amputations, sight loss, stroke and kidney failure.
"Children and young people with Type 2 diabetes should have access to expert treatment by healthcare professionals trained to manage and research the condition and the challenges it presents."