Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Type 2 diabetes in younger adults: the emerging UK epidemic
  1. Emma G Wilmot1,2,
  2. Melanie J Davies1,2,
  3. Tom Yates1,2,
  4. Katrien Benhalima1,
  5. Ian G Lawrence1,
  6. Kamlesh Khunti3
  1. 1Diabetes Research Department, University Hospitals of Leicester, UK
  2. 2Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, Leicester University, Leicester, UK
  3. 3Department of Health Sciences, Leicester University, Leicester UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Emma G Wilmot, Diabetes Research Department, Level 1, Knighton St OPD, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester LE1 5WW, UK; emma.wilmot{at}


There is an emerging epidemic of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) in younger adults. They represent an extreme phenotype: likely to be obese, lead a sedentary lifestyle, have a strong family history of T2DM, be of black or minority ethnic origin, and come from less affluent socioeconomic groups. An accurate diagnosis of T2DM in younger adults, while essential to guide management, can be challenging even for the experienced diabetologist. Comorbidities such as hypertension, nephropathy and hyperlipidaemia are prevalent in this group, and, despite the lack of longitudinal data, they represent a very high risk group, with a need for aggressive management. This focused review of the epidemiology, aetiology, clinical outcomes, comorbidities and management of younger adults with T2DM will provide the non-specialist with up-to-date insight into the UK's emerging epidemic.

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • type 2
  • diabetes mellitus
  • classification
  • type 2 diabetes
  • youth onset
  • type 2 diabetes
  • risk factors
  • diabetes & endocrinology
  • general diabetes
  • diabetes & endocrinology

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests MJD has received funds for research, honoraria for speaking at meetings and has served on advisory boards for Lily, Sanofi Aventis, MSD and Novo Nordisk. KK has received funds for research, honoraria for speaking at meetings and or served on advisory boards for Astra Zeneca, GSK, Lily, Novartis, Pfizer, Servier, Sanofi Aventis, MSD and Novo Nordisk. MJD and KK are advisors to the UK Department of Health for the NHS Health Checks Programme. All other authors have nothing to declare.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.