Hong Kong has seen a sharp rise in diabetes cases among children and teenagers, health experts said Thursday, warning of growing risks from unhealthy food habits and lack of physical activity.
Type 2 diabetes among those under the age of 19 has jumped twelve-fold between 1997 and 2007, according to Dr Constance Chan Hon-yee, director of the Health Department.
Taking the population overall, one in every 10 people in the city now has diabetes, he said, according to Sky Post.
Over half of the patients are not even aware that they have a problem.
The growing diabetes cases will put a heavy burden on the medical system.
Looking at the world as a whole, diabetes patients have quadrupled in number to 422 million in 2014 from 108 million in 1980.
If left unchecked, diabetes will become the seventh largest killer in the world by 2030, according to the World Health Organization.
Type 2 diabetes is related to genetic factors, unhealthy eating habits, physical inactivity and obesity.
Poor eating choices are a main cause of diabetes among children. Many kids like to drink fermented lactic drinks that contain high level of sugar.
According to the Hospital Authority, there are more than 30,000 new diabetes cases in Hong Kong every year.
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