Spiralling obesity rates mean one person is diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes every three minutes, figures show.

The number of new cases in England and Wales reached 202,665 in 2017 – the equivalent of about 23 people every hour, according to NHS  data.

Experts said the statistics illustrate the ‘frightening speed’ at which the obesity-driven illness is increasing.

Diabetes is the UK’s fastest growing health crisis, with the number of sufferers doubling in 20 years from 1.9million to 3.7million. A million more are estimated to be unaware they are living with the condition.

Analysis by Diabetes UK of the latest confirmed figures found there had been 192,245 new diagnoses in England and 10,420 in Wales.

Some 90 per cent of diabetes sufferers have the Type 2 form, which is linked to sedentary lifestyles and poor diet.

Two-thirds of adults and a third of children are now overweight – and the UK has the third highest obesity rate in Europe. The charity said the UK must get to grips with its bulging waistline to reduce rates of the illness.

Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: ‘One person being diagnosed every three minutes illustrates the frightening speed at which the number of people living with Type 2 diabetes is increasing. However, three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by eating well, being active and achieving a healthy weight, meaning there is hope for the future.

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