Last month, researchers showed that changes in type-2 diabetes precursors were apparent in South Asian children before the age of 10, including HbA1c, fasting insulin, triglyceride and CRP. They suggested at-risk children should be targeted for physical activity and nutritional advice.
Bradford GP Dr Shahid Ali, who is also director of the research and development unit at Bradford South and West PCT, believes such measures will be essential to stem the rise in type-2 diabetes among children and teenagers in Bradford.
'The only way I can see of addressing this is to intervene earlier so that we can prevent the onset of diabetes and subsequent complications,' he said.
'Primary care could identify children at greatest risk and commission services to educate, improve diet and physical exercise routines,' he said. ‘There needs to be a cultural change in the way service providers work to do this with a greater emphasis on self care and responsibility for the patient.'
Professor Kamlesh Khunti, a GP and professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine at the University of Leicester, agreed.
‘Early interventions do need to be started from a very young age,' he said.
Professor Khunti said he had been involved in research into involving secondary schools in schemes to promote health lifestyle. Although such interventions proved challenging to implement, they did appear to be useful.