YEP Says (Jan 5): Diabetes and the crippling cost on our local NHS

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THE start of a new year, following as it does a veritable marathon of eating and drinking over the festive season, often brings with it a renewed sense of responsibility in matters of personal health. At least in those first days after resolutions are made.

Surely our report today highlighting the rising incidence of diabetes should provide further motivation.

An area of Leeds has seen one of the biggest increases in the number of sufferers in the country as new figures show the total in the UK has topped four million for the first time. With 90 per cent of cases falling into the Type 2 category, simple lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and more regular exercise can help counter its spread.

The charity Diabetes UK, which has analysed GP practice data, says the need to tackle the disease “has never been so stark or so urgent” and has called on the Government to get to grips with the obesity epidemic.

According to the charity there are now 39,635 people in the city with diabetes, an increase of 4,527 since 2012.

Leeds North has seen a rise of 14.32 per cent over the past three years compared to the national average of six percent, the fifth largest rise in the country.

We’re told so often that this is a disease we can actually do something about. And, while not pandering to any nanny state way of thinking, perhaps we should start listening. It’s never too late, after all.

Access to good education about healthy eating – from the earliest of ages – is critical, of course. But the responsibility lies also with those who produce the food we eat. Be frank about what’s in your products and reduce the hidden sugars no-one wants. In that way can we lessen the risk of diabetes and reduce the crippling burden it places on our health service.