DrukwerkAccording to new research released on World Diabetes Day, all the dangers signs are there that could lead to millions more people in the UK developing type 2 diabetes.

In a poll of 3000 people by Diabetes Professional Care, 24% say they have belly fat, and one in five says they are overweight; 12% drink at least one sugary fizzy drink per day, 12% routinely exceed the recommended alcohol limit, 11% eat fast food a few times per week, almost one in five skips breakfast and 16% shun regular meal times. More than one in five sits at a desk all day for work, 19% say they don’t regularly exercise and 8% already have a relative with type 2 diabetes.

Yet, most are in denial about their risk of developing the condition themselves, with just 3% thinking they are at risk.

With a further 5% of people actively avoiding doctors who may talk about their weight, how can healthcare professionals help the UK population tackle obesity and thus head off the type 2 diabetes crisis?

The UK’s largest ever gathering of healthcare professionals working in the diabetes field is heading to Diabetes Professional Care 2016 at Olympia, London on 16 and 17 November to explore and debate this issue.

As part of the event’s conference programme, a theatre devoted to Obesity in Practice will explore some of the options for tackling the crisis – from the role of football and more bariatric surgery through to the food and drink industry. This will include talks by Tam Fry, FRSA, Spokesperson, National Obesity Forum, Patron, Child Growth Foundation, Expert advisory team member, ACTION ON SUGAR, Andrew Shanahan, Journalist, Entrepreneur & Director at Man v Fat, who launched MAN v FAT Football, the only football leagues aimed at overweight and obese men, and Prof. Tom Sanders, Emeritus Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics, Kings College, London, who believes many people confuse hunger with thirst.

Diabetes Professional Care founder, Maggie Meer, said: “Our research highlights what so many of us know – the UK is hurtling towards a major problem. We have the highest level of obesity in Europe and if things don’t change the situation is just going to get worse.”

“During the next 20 years, the number of obese adults in the country is forecast to soar to 26 million people and according to health experts, such a rise will result in more than a million extra cases of type 2 diabetes.  There’s not going to be a single silver bullet to crack this problem. That’s why healthcare professionals need to be able to get together to explore, debate and importantly share their own experiences. It’s only by pooling ideas that a cohesive plan of attack will emerge,” she added.