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"Catastrophic" rise in child diabetes

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18:56 CEST+02:00
Stockholm hospitals have recorded an alarming jump in the number of children affected by type 1 diabetes.

The number of new cases has more than doubled in Stockholm since 1998, and the age at which these children are being diagnosed is also decreasing.

“It's not uncommon that children are diagnosed at one year old.” Said Eva Örtqvist a physician from Astrid Lindgrens Children's Hospital.

And the children are younger and younger.

“It's a catastrophe and it demands more of both the parents and the health care services.” Added Örtqvist.

At Sachsska Children's Hospital 16 children under the age of two have been diagnosed since 2000. The youngest was merely four weeks old. In the ‘90s cases of children under two were infrequent.

The reason behind the recent jump is still unclear. Hereditary factors along with viral diseases and rapid foetal weight gain are believed to be contributing causes.

Type 1 diabetes should not be confused with type 2 which most often affects adults with a poor diet. Type 1 is hereditary and nearly 40 per cent of Swedes carry this gene.

Nonetheless, experts were also warning this week that the large amounts of sugary snacks being fed to children at nursery schools could lead to increases in type 2 diabetes.

A study by the Swedish Dental Association showed that 90 per cent of preschools schools celebrated birthdays with buns, cake or ice cream.

“Children don't need sugar in their food. Schools should act as role models regarding nutrition and health and should therefore be sugar free zones” said Roland Svensson, Chairman of the Dental Association.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet

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