A survey found that many people think eating too much sugar can lead to the debilitating condition.
And a quarter object to diabetics injecting themselves with insulin in public, the charity Diabetes UK found. The group questioned more than 2,000 adults to uncover the myths that surround the condition.
It found that 42 per cent thought that diabetes could be caused by eating too many sweet foods. It warns that children are being bullied by other youngsters who believe that eating too much sugar caused their diabetes. Simon O’Neill, from the charity, said: “These sorts of myths are not helpful and can lead to discrimination and bullying.
“People with diabetes have a hard enough time living with their condition without being made to feel ashamed or different from their peers. Sadly, we often hear of children who are bullied at school because others believe they’ve brought their diabetes on themselves from eating too many sweets.”
Diabetes occurs when body struggles to regulate insulin.
Most children have type 1 diabetes, an auto-immune condition which is not affected by diet. Most adults suffer form type 2 diabetes, which can be affected by lifestyle choices, including obesity. However, it cannot directly be triggered by eating too much sugar.
Mr O’Neill added: “Diabetes UK is appalled that some people object to injecting in public. “For people who treat their diabetes with insulin, this is not a choice – insulin keeps them alive and injections have to be administered at specific times. “People should be able to inject in public without fear of being mocked or shunned by those around them.”
According to the WHO, by 366,000,000 people will be suffering from diabetes, up from the around 250,000,000 presently. The three countries with the highest prevalence are expected to remain China, India, and the United States — as they are today.