A Welsh charity has warned the number of people iwith diabetes could soar as food bank dependence reached record highs during the pandemic.

Olive Trust Wales, a social enterprise that promotes equality and environmental sustainability, has warned that an increased reliance on food banks could spark a wave of food-related Type 2 diabetes, due to unhealthy diets.

More than 200,000 people in Wales live with diabetes, roughly eight per cent of the adult population, and the highest prevalence in the UK.

Around 90 per cent have Type 2 diabetes, a condition linked with obesity and inactivity, that causes the level of sugar in the blood to become too high.

The Olive Trust now fears the increase of foodbank use during the pandemic could supercharge predictions that the number of people with diabetes in Wales could total 311,000 by 2030.

Food bank use in Wales and across the UK has surged since the start of the pandemic, up by more than a third compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The National Wales: The Olive Trust works closely with food bank services in Pembrey and Burry Port to promote healthy eating and meal preparation.The Olive Trust works closely with food bank services in Pembrey and Burry Port to promote healthy eating and meal preparation.

Denise Kingsley-Jones, who founded the Olive Trust, said the charity’s concerns stem from the type of food donated to food banks and a lack of fresh produce.

Items such as canned goods and emergency food packages are not designed for long-term, lacking sufficient nutrients for a balanced diet.

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Ms Kingsley-Jones continued: “For people who are dependent on food banks, or for individuals who are on the poverty line and less likely to able to afford fresh items, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes unfortunately increases.

“These people tend to be more prone to eating canned meats and dried goods, without the benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables, which can contribute to ill health and an increased risk of developing the condition.

“As reliance on food banks continues to grow, we expect cases of Type 2 diabetes to rise which paints a very worrying landscape.

“We feel strongly that a person’s health shouldn’t be determined by their financial situation, which is why it is so important to ensure that low-income families not only have access to healthy food options but also the guidance on how to make the best use of food they are provided with to create healthier meals.”

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