Understanding T1DE and the Need for Change

The UK has recently seen a significant development in the understanding and management of Type 1 Diabetes and Eating Disorders (T1DE), thanks to a Parliamentary Inquiry spearheaded by Rt. Hon Theresa May MP and Sir George Howarth MP. This inquiry, which has been a topic of discussion even on platforms like BBC Radio 4’s Today programme featuring Theresa May, emphasizes the urgent need for a systemic overhaul in treating this condition.

Understanding T1DE

Type 1 Diabetes and Disordered Eating (T1DE) can manifest in various forms such as anorexia, bulimia, or the reduction or complete omission of insulin intake to lose weight. Alarmingly, studies suggest that up to 40% of girls and women, and 15% of boys and men with Type 1 Diabetes may experience some form of disordered eating. This condition, if not managed properly, can lead to serious health consequences, including unstable blood glucose levels, depression, anxiety, and in severe cases, even death.

Key Findings from the Parliamentary Inquiry

The inquiry, launched in June 2022 and supported by the JDRF charity, gathered valuable insights from healthcare professionals, researchers, and individuals with lived experiences of T1DE. It uncovered several critical issues:

  • A lack of internationally recognized diagnostic criteria for T1DE.
  • The absence of a NICE clinically approved pathway for T1DE prevention and treatment.
  • The need for a comprehensive Type 1 Diabetes Patient Registry in England and Wales to facilitate early identification and treatment.

The Path Forward

Encouragingly, the UK is at the forefront of research into developing diagnostic criteria and effective clinical interventions for T1DE. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has issued guidance for T1DE in medical emergencies, and NHS England has launched pilot projects combining diabetes and eating disorder support into one service. These pilots have shown promise in aiding faster recovery and reducing hospital readmissions. However, continued funding and a systematic approach are crucial to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of these services.

Theresa May’s Personal Connection and Advocacy

Theresa May, herself diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2013, brings a personal understanding to the inquiry. She highlights the complex challenges faced by individuals dealing with both diabetes and concerns about body image. Her involvement brings attention to the nuanced and often overlooked aspects of T1DE.


The Parliamentary Inquiry into T1DE marks a significant step towards understanding and effectively addressing this complex condition. It calls for integrated treatment approaches, better support systems, and sustained research efforts. As the UK continues to lead in this area, there is hope for improved outcomes for those affected by T1DE.