A new London Assembly report calls for the Mayor to lead a pan-London campaign to tackle London’s “obesity problem” as part of a package of measures aimed at tackling rising levels of Type 2 diabetes.
According to official NHS figures, there has been an estimated 75% increase in Type 2 diabetes in the capital over the last decade and the number of cases in London is growing quicker than anywhere else in the country.
Today’s report warns that some communities are more at risk, with people of Afro-Caribbean descent three times more likely to develop the condition than white people, and South Asians six times more likely.
Members of the Assembly’s Health Committee want “clearer targets” for the reduction of fat, sugar and salt in foods and drinks and say healthcare commissioners and providers must better co-ordinate efforts to reduce the number of diabetes cases.
They also want the Mayor to lead a public awareness campaign warning of the health risks caused by obesity, including diabetes.
Committee chair Dr Onkar Sahota AM said: “Dealing with just the consequences of diabetes, and not what is causing it, will continue to consign as many as 750,000 Londoner’s to a life of trying to control an avoidable long-term condition, costing the taxpayer over £10b a year.
“Healthcare providers and government have a role to play in reversing this growing crisis, as does the food and drink industry. We have to bring about the rapid reduction in the role sugar plays within the daily diet of Londoners, and the nation alike.”
The committee’s report has been welcomed by Roz Rosenblatt, Diabetes UK’s London Regional Manager, who said: “We have seen first-hand that when areas such as Tower Hamlets and Newham prioritise diabetes care, it is possible to have a real impact on the health of the people living in those areas.
“This needs to be happening in all boroughs across the capital, otherwise the people of London and the NHS will be in real danger.”
Assembly calls for the Mayor’s intervention and greater co-ordination between healthcare professionals come just weeks after a warning that Government reforms to the NHS have left London with a lack of strategic leadership.