A CHARITY is calling for more to be done to tackle obesity as new figures reveal the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in Oxfordshire continues to rise.

Analysis released today by Diabetes UK showed those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the county went up from 30,108 to 31,146 last year.

People with type 2 diabetes, a form of the condition that develops later in life, are 50 per cent more likely to die prematurely than those without diabetes.

While not every case of type 2 diabetes is associated with excessive weight, it is the single greatest risk factor, responsible for 80 to 85 per cent of someone’s risk of developing the condition.

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Age, family history, and ethnicity can also contribute to someone’s risk, with people of African-Caribbean, Black African or South Asian descent two to four times more likely to develop it.

Oxford scientist Jason Southgate, who lives in Abingdon, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2010 and has since lost 17 stone.

He said: “Weighing nearly 30 stone at the time of my diabetes diagnosis, I was worried about the serious complications associated with the condition and tried various weight loss clubs before eventually deciding to have gastric bypass surgery with the help of the team at the Oxford Bariatric Support Group and the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism. I’m so grateful."

He said it had given him a 'new lease of life', adding: "Once I lost enough weight, I got back to riding in 2015 and have maintained my active lifestyle while carefully watching what I eat.

"It’s been ten years since my diagnosis, and I’m 13 stone, require no medication and my diabetes has gone into remission.”

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Obesity in England has almost doubled in the last 20 years from 6.9 to 13 million.

Diabetes UK is calling on the Government to honour their manifesto commitment to tackle childhood obesity and make it a top priority

Jill Steaton, regional head in the South East for the charity, said: “Type 2 diabetes is an urgent public health crisis, and solving it depends on decisive action that’s led by government, supported by industry and delivered across our society.

“More than half of all cases of type 2 diabetes − and the accompanying risk of developing devastating complications − could be prevented or delayed by supporting people to make healthier choices.

"This includes mandating industry to make food and drinks healthier and addressing the marketing and promotion of unhealthy foods."

She added: “At the same time, we need to help people understand their personal risk of type 2 diabetes and find tailored clinical support to reduce it.

"The Government promised to tackle obesity, and it’s time for them deliver on this promise, and lead the way in affecting real change."