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Sat 11 Oct 2008 07:54 AM

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Qatar childhood diabetes cases double

Conference in Doha hears that situation in the Middle East region is continuing to get worse.

The number of cases of childhood diabetes in Qatar has doubled over the past ten years, according to experts.

This is in keeping with the trend worldwide, where diabetes in children is on the rise, but the situation in the Middle East region is critical, the inaugural session of the International Childhood Diabetes and Obesity Conference heard.

Delegates in Doha were told that in 1997, the incidence of childhood diabetes in Qatar was 17.3 in every 100,000.

Studies conducted last year show this has increased to 35 per 100,000, Qatar daily The Peninsula reported on Saturday.

"More alarming is the percentage of children below the age of five years suffering from the disease," Dr Maryam Al Ali, Consultant Pediatrician, Endocrinology, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) told the paper.

"There has been a tremendous increase in diabetes in children below five. In 1997, 13.7 percent of the children were found to be diabetic, but now it is 28.2 percent," she said.

Studies have revealed that the incidence of diabetes in Qatar has been rising since 1990.

Last year, Finland led the list of diabetic countries with every 45 person in 100,000 being diabetic.

On Wednesday, it was revealed that the UAE spent $436 million on diabetes-related treatments in 2007.

The UAE currently has the second highest rate of diabetes in the world, with 19.5 percent, or one in five members of the population affected by the disease.

A major link was found between obesity and diabetes. Studies have found that 45 percent of the people in Qatar are obese and 55 percent of the diabetic patients are obese.

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