One in 10 Hongkongers have diabetes linked to obesity, and more children

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 November, 2013, 4:47am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 November, 2013, 4:47am

The Department of Health has warned that one in 10 Hongkongers, including a growing number of children, are affected by obesity-linked diabetes - and there might be many others unaware they have the disease.

"It is a major cause of morbidity [contracting diseases] and mortality in Hong Kong," the department said in a message to mark World Diabetes Day.

"We would like to draw public attention to the fact that the local prevalence of diabetes has been on the rise."

The department said type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity, was the most common form of the disease among Hong Kong adults.

It affected 700,000 people, or 10 per cent of the population.

Even more worrying is the increasing number of children with the disease.

Four children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes each month, say the Hong Kong Juvenile Diabetes Association. 

"Type 2 diabetes used to be an adult disease, but now children are suffering from it," said the %association's chairwoman Joanna Hotung.

"It can be linked to rising levels of obesity among our children who have a sedentary lifestyle combined with poor diet."

Hotung explained that type 1 diabetes was an autoimmune disease, but type 2 could be prevented by losing weight, exercising and a healthier lifestyle.

Paediatrics specialist Aaron Yu Chak-man said he saw two to three new cases of diabetes a month among children, including type 1 and type 2.

Last year, hospitals saw 20,000 admissions due to diabetes and recorded 398 deaths - 0.9 per cent of all deaths.

The department's data indicated the prevalence of the disease ranged from 2 per cent of people aged under 35, to more than 20 per cent of those over 65 years old.

Diabetes is a chronic disorder caused by a raised blood glucose level.