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November 15, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

City children more obese than average

CLOSE to 30 percent of the city's children between seven and 17 years old are either overweight or obese, three times the national level, increasing the risk of them becoming diabetic, health experts warned yesterday.

Having high glucose during pregnancy, being overweight when newly born and being obese during childhood increase the risk of a person getting diabetes, medical experts said yesterday, World Diabetes Day.

About 16 percent of minors between seven and 17 years old are overweight and 12.5 percent are obese based on the body mass index. The BMI is a weight-to-height ratio used to calculate if a person is overweight.

"About one tenth of overweight and obese minors can have abnormal blood sugar levels and one third of these will eventually develop diabetes," said Dr Gu Weiqiong at Ruijin Hospital's diabetes center.

"Health education and early intervention are key factors in diabetes prevention and control," Gu added.

Local government views diabetes as a serious public health issue.

The prevalence of diabetes among residents between 35 and 74 years increased from 10.2 percent in 2002 to 15.6 percent in 2009, alarming health authorities and medical experts.

The Shanghai Health Bureau said it has set up 240 diabetes management teams in communities across the city. These teams cover 119,759 diabetics.

The percentage of undiagnosed diabetics among residents with the disease has dropped from 47.6 percent in 2002 to 39.8 percent in 2009 through glucose screening, health education and clinical tests, the bureau said.

Meanwhile, the country now has more than 92.4 million diabetics, the most in the world. Over half of the nation's diabetics are undiagnosed.

Diabetes has accounted for about 13 percent of medical expenditures in China and medical costs to treat patients with the disease will continue to rise in the next 10 to 20 years, the International Diabetes Federation said.

China will have spent US$558 billion treating diabetes and heart diseases between 2005 and 2015, according to the World Health Organization and World Economic Forum in a 2008 report.


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