The average age of diabetics in China is smaller than that of many other countries, according to a diabetic expert. China had around 23.8 million diabetics of age between 20 and 79 in 2003.
"Diabetes patients aged between 40 and 59 are increasing in China, while diabetics are mostly aged between 60 to 69 in developed countries," said Guo Xiaohui,who heads the Endocrinology Department in Beijing University People's Hospital.
"Although no exact statistics are available, we are seeing younger diabetes patients and even some children with acquired diabetes," said Guo. He is a member of the Diabetes Branch under the Chinese Medical Association in Beijing.
"One of my diabetes patients is only 11-year-old," says Xing Xiaoyan, an endocrinology professor at the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing.
The number of diabetics is expected to be 46.1 million by 2025, according to a report of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
Over 18.8 billion Yuan (2.4 billion U.S. dollars) is spent on treatment of diabetes in China every year, according to Xing.
"An unhealthy diet and lack of exercise are to blame", said Ji Linong, deputy director of the Diabetes Branch.