04HRNW: The number of people with diabetes has rocketed in the last few decades and levels will continue to soar unless drastic action is taken, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warns.

Cases worldwide have more than quadrupled from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.

With one in 11 people suffering, diabetes is now the eighth biggest killer in the world, after heart disease, stroke and lung diseases.

“Diabetes is a silent disease, but it is on an unrelenting march that we need to stop,” says Dr Etienne Krug, who is leading the WHO efforts.

“We can stop it. We know what needs to be done, but we cannot let it evolve like it does because it has a huge impact on people’s health, on families and on society.”

The report combines both type-1 and type-2 diabetes, although the increase in cases is largely due to type-2. This form of high blood sugar is closely linked to lifestyle and could be reduced with a healthy diet, drinking in moderation and regular exercise.

“As the world’s waistlines have ballooned, with one-in-three people now overweight, so too has the number of diabetes cases,” says the BBC’s health editor, James Gallagher.

Last month, NHS England announced a new national programme aimed at tackling the onset of type-2 diabetes. “Boot camps” focusing on exercise, education and lifestyle changes will be offered to thousands of people across the country who are at risk of developing the disease.

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