Rising rates of teenage diabetes could be creating a ticking "time bomb" of death and serious illness, experts warned yesterday.
Scientists gathered evidence from around the world indicating alarming levels of diabetic complications among adolescents.
They warned that the increasing prevalence of type-2 diabetes among young people could lead to a "serious public health challenge" in years to come.
The condition can lead to high blood pressure, blindness, the destruction of nerves and muscle, heart, liver and kidney disease, and psychiatric disorders. Left untreated, it can cause coma and death. Often the effects are worse in young people than they are in older adults.
The researchers, led by Dr Orit Pinhas-Hamiel, from Sheba Medical Centre in Tel-Hashomer, Israel, wrote in The Lancet medical journal: "We urgently need to develop approaches to awareness of type-2 diabetes and associated abnormalities while designing long-term studies to establish the value of early initiation of adjunctive treatments."
Type-2 diabetes is linked to obesity, which has reached epidemic levels among children.