The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in Bath and North East Somerset has reached 8,423, according to new analysis released by Diabetes UK.
The new figures show that the number of people who have been diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the area has increased by 397 since last year, when 8,026 were recorded as living with the condition.
In Bath and North East Somerset, 4.97 per cent of the population now have diabetes, giving it the lowest incidence of diabetes in the south west. The national average is currently 6.6 per cent.
In the UK overall, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled in the last 20 years. The new figures show that there are now almost 3.7 million people diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the UK, an increase of 1.9 million since 1998.
The data also shows that the number of people diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes has increased by almost 100,000 since last year – from 3,590,501 to 3,689,509.
Almost nine in ten people diagnosed with diabetes have Type 2, and it is estimated that there are nearly 1 million people currently living with the condition who don’t know they have it.
Counting this undiagnosed population, the total number of people living with diabetes reaches 4.6 million.
A further 12.3 million people are estimated to be at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in the UK, and obesity is the leading cause in the majority of preventable cases.
Three in five women (59 per cent) and two in three men (68 per cent) are overweight or obese. More than one in five children (22 per cent) are overweight or obese in their first year of primary school in England.
This increases to more than one in three (34 per cent) by the time they leave primary school.
With so many at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, Diabetes UK is calling on the Government to take further action to tackle childhood obesity, by introducing stricter restrictions both on junk food advertising to children, and supermarket price promotions for unhealthy foods.
The charity also underlines the need for people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes to be identified and referred to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, which supports people to make changes that could prevent the onset of the condition.
Annika Palmer, Diabetes UK south west regional head, said: “Unless we act, and urgently, diabetes prevalence will continue to rise. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are serious conditions that can lead to devastating complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney disease, stroke and heart disease if people don’t receive the right care.
“Type 1 diabetes isn’t currently preventable, but three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle and better understanding of the condition.
“We need to end the marketing of unhealthy food to children and make sure the food all of us eat is healthier.
“More people who are at high risk of Type 2 diabetes must be identified so that they can get the education, care and support they need to reduce it.
“We have to take action now so that we can live in a world where fewer people have diabetes in the future.”