Straining belt of diabetes in Olympic city


Creating an Olympic Legacy for health in the wake of the Games is a challenge that has been brought all the more closer to home.

Host borough Newham has been identified by researchers at Queen Mary, University of London, as being a "hot spot" for diabetes, with one in six residents at risk of developing the Type 2 form during the next 10 years.

The situation is so severe, a geographical band of East London, living in the shadow of the Olympic Park,

has been dubbed the "East London Diabetes Belt".

The findings were gained from a study that analysed half a million electronic records for those without diabetes and aged between 25 and 79 and who were registered with a GP in Tower Hamlets, Hackney or Newham and City.

And using a scoring system, researchers could predict the percentage of the population who are at high risk of developing the Type 2 form of the disease, which is mainly caused by obesity.

The outcome also corresponded to some areas of deprivation, as well as a high proportion of South Asian and Black groups.

Dr Douglas Noble, public health doctor at the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health and research leader, said it was "a gold medal moment" for Boris Johnson and those responsible for delivering the sporting legacy to prioritise tackling the chronic disease.

Professor Trisha Greenhalgh, former athlete and member of the research team, said: "We know we've got an extensive problem in East London with a lack of physical activity and poor dietary habits which contributes to obesity and diabetes.

"Once diabetes has been diagnosed, it's an uphill battle to get it under control.

"It's far better to prevent it in the first place.

"Highlighting the risk of diabetes gives people a chance to make important individual choices to reduce their risk.

"Increasing physical activity and eating more healthily, which leads to weight loss, reduces the risk of diabetes regardless of ethnicity or deprivation."

Charity Diabetes UK warned that the number of people with the condition is expected to reach 4.4million by 2020 nationwide.

Over the next eight years the number of people in Britain with the condition is expected to increase by 700,000.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 per cent of all cases and is a long-term condition.