Netflix generation leading to type 2 diabetes ‘tidal wave’ says global expert
Netflix, YouTube and game consoles are leading to a new culture of “sedentary children”, according to a leading type 2 diabetes professor.
Professor Melanie Davies CBE, who co-founded the Leicester Diabetes Centre, was one of 26 global experts who came together to write a high-profile Lancet report about the challenge of type 2 diabetes and how to tackle it.
The authors who formed the Lancet Commission on Diabetes are calling for urgent action to “change mindsets” as it was unveiled the amount of time children under the age of two now spend on digital devices has more than doubled in the last 17 years.
Leicester is leading the way in terms of research and city-wide exercise initiatives and Professor Davies is urging health bosses to follow the city’s example.
The Leicester Diabetes Centre team has also developed the first national programme which educates people with diabetes and established a comprehensive training suite which up-skills healthcare professionals.
Professor Davies, Professor of Diabetes Medicine spent four years collaborating with other leading experts to co-author the new Lancet report. Now published in the high-impact journal, they are calling for global action to combat this devastating disease and close the gap in diabetes prevention, professional knowledge and care.
Speaking, following the launch of the new commission, Professor Davies said: “There is a new generation of children being brought up watching Netflix and YouTube and unfortunately this is leading to a type 2 diabetes tidal wave among young people.
“We have a new culture of sedentary children and we need urgent action to change mindsets when it comes to diet and lifestyle, the time to act is now to avoid further heartache and misery caused by the condition.
“Type 2 diabetes is a growing global problem with a devastating impact. While effective treatments and prevention strategies to combat diabetes exist, barriers to provision and access mean that, in most care settings, their use is scarce.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of people with diabetes. They have twice the increased risk of severe disease or death from the virus, especially in individuals with poorly controlled diabetes, or who have diabetes-related complications, but the risk is also exacerbated by social conditions in disadvantaged communities that lead to lower access to care and higher rates of comorbidities.”
The Commission had these key messages:
- Access to insulin, education, and for blood glucose monitoring tools can prevent premature deaths and emergencies in young people with type 1 diabetes
- Relationship between maternal hyperglycaemia and childhood obesity which will require strategies to prevent type 2 diabetes in young people (YT2DM)
- The psychosocial needs, especially in YT2DM, call for personalise care for reducing premature development of long-term conditions and death
- Environmental, behavioural, and socioeconomic causes of type 2 diabetes require a multitiered societal and population-based prevention strategy
- The use of new therapies such as SGLT2 inhibitors, and GLP-1 receptor agonists can reduce cardiovascular–renal diseases and death in patients with type 2 diabetes
- Team-based care which enables data collection in clinical practice improves the quality of electronic medical records and establishes registers for risk factors, prevention, and treatment
- Healthcare professional (HCP) training and upskilling and use technology can improve the accessibility, sustainability, and affordability of diabetes prevention and care
To read the report in full, click here.