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Adults urged to monitor waistlines

Health officials are urging people to get out the tape measure and monitor their waistline after figures showed that adults with a large waist were up to five times more likely to develop diabetes.

Public Health England (PHE) has urged adults to measure and monitor their belt line in a bid to curb the growing tide of people who develop type 2 diabetes.

New PHE anaylsis showed that men with a waist circumference of 102cm (40.2 inches) were five times more likely than those with a smaller waist to develop the condition.

Meanwhile, women with a waistline of over 88cm (34.7 inches) were three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

"Type 2 diabetes is a very serious public health issue which can have significant consequences, such as limb amputations or blindness," PHE's chief nutritionist Dr Alison Tedstone said.

"The key to reducing diabetes is losing weight which can be achieved through a healthy diet and being more active."

PHE said that by 2030, around 9.5% of the population - 4.6 million people - were estimated to have diabetes as the prevalence of both obesity and type 2 diabetes were on the rise.

Barbara Young, chief executive at charity Diabetes UK, added: "We hope the report acts as a spur to action, as there are now 3.8 million of us in the UK who have diabetes and it costs the NHS £10 billion per year.

"With many millions of people in the UK now at high risk of type 2 diabetes, this is an epidemic that looks likely to get even worse and if this happens then the impact on the nation's health would be devastating and the increase in costs to the NHS would be unsustainable.

"This is why we need the Government to focus much more on preventing type 2 diabetes.

"It needs to ensure the NHS Health Check is properly rolled out and that those it identifies as being at high risk of type 2 are given the support they need to make lifestyle changes.

"It also needs to urgently consider making healthy food more accessible through taxation, other financial measures and more robust regulation of the food industry.

"But while the Government has a big role to play in turning back the rising tide of type 2 diabetes, people can also take action themselves.

"I would urge people to get their risk of type 2 diabetes assessed, whether online, at a pharmacy or at their GP.

"This is because knowing if you are at high risk can be an important first step towards making the kind of changes that can help prevent it."

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS England's national clinical director for obesity and diabetes, said: "Obesity is a significant and wide scale public health issue for all age groups and an issue the NHS as a whole is dedicated to tackling.

"We are seeing huge increases in type 2 diabetes because of the rising rates of obesity, and we clearly need a concerted effort on the prevention, early diagnosis and management of diabetes to slow its significant impact not only on individual lives but also on the NHS."

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