Cases of type 2 diabetes have soared by an estimated 75% in London over the past decade, according to a new report.
Nurses and other health professionals are being urged to help the capital reverse the growing crisis, especially when it comes to sugar in diets.
Obesity reduction, risk assessment and early diagnosis are also key, according to the London Assembly health committee’s report Blood Sugar Rush: diabetes time bomb in London.
The report concluded cases of the condition in London are growing faster than elsewhere in the country.
People of Afro-Caribbean descent are three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than white people, with South Asians six times more likely than white people, it warns.
Assembly health committee chair Dr Onkar Sahota said: “We have to bring about the rapid reduction in the role sugar plays within the daily diet of Londoners, and the nation alike.”
The assembly made five main recommendations in its report:
- It wants clearer targets for supermarkets and makers to reduce food and drink fat, sugar and salt content.
- It wants to tackle obesity on a local level and begin public education programmes to raise awareness and improve detection levels.
- It also wants set performance levels so it can track how well care is being delivered.
In addition, the assembly would like more joined-up thinking between NHS clinical commissioning groups and council health and wellbeing boards.
Dr Sahota, who is a GP and assembly member for Ealing and Hillingdon, said: “Dealing with just the consequences of diabetes, and not what is causing it, will continue to consign as many as 750,000 Londoners to a life of trying to control an avoidable long-term condition, costing the taxpayer over £10bn a year.”
Diabetes UK’s London regional manager, Roz Rosenblatt, highlighted the London boroughs Tower Hamlets and Newham as positive examples that showed the benefits of what can happen when diabetes care is prioritised.
She said: “This needs to be happening in all boroughs across the capital, otherwise the people of London and the NHS will be in real danger.”