Jersey doctor's warning over diabetes

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One in 10 people in Jersey will suffer from diabetes in future unless people change their unhealthy lifestyles, a doctor has warned.

Peter Bates said when the Diabetes Centre opened in Jersey 20 years ago there were about 600 people with the condition.

He said that number had risen to about 4,000 and there was no sign of the increase slowing down.

Jersey's health promotion officer said it should be easier to be healthy.

Andrew Heaven, from the Health Promotion Department, said: "I think government has a role to play, us as individuals and citizens have a role to play and industry has a greater role to play.

"All of us are challenged by the fact that we are living in an environment that doesn't require us to be as active as we used to be.

"We are exposed to foods which are increasingly full of fat and salt and some of us are getting larger as we go along."

'Stunning statistic'

Dr Bates said the States might need to introduce taxes on unhealthy foods and behaviour to solve Jersey's obesity problem.

He said: "A gain of only 1kg of weight is enough to increase your risk of diabetes by 10%, which is a stunning statistic.

"If your weight adjusted for your height has reached twice what would be considered an ideal weight, then your chance of developing diabetes is 100 times higher than if you were at a normal weight."

Obesity is estimated to cost the island in excess of £5.5m a year and Mr Heaven said the number of overweight people was increasing annually.

He said: "Making it easier for people to live healthy lifestyles stops them from living the lifestyles they currently enjoy without thinking too much."

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