Diabetes, prediabetes skyrocketing in US teens

A new study shows type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes have skyrocketed among adolescents.

USA Today reports, “Diabetes and pre-diabetes have skyrocketed among the nation’s young people, jumping from 9% of the adolescent population in 2000 to 23% in 2008,” according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics.

For the study, researchers “examined health data on about 3,400 adolescents ages 12 to 19 from 1999 through 2008. They participated in the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.”

The study authors “found little significant change in the last decade for teen rates of hypertension or abnormal cholesterol,” the Washington Post “On Parenting” blog reports. “There was also little change in the percentage of overweight and obese teens, but at 34 percent that figure remains troubling.”

However, “it was the spike in diabetes and prediabetes that stood out. The analysis shows a steady uptick in the percentages with the conditions since 1999.”

The Time “Healthland” blog points out, “While heart attacks and strokes typically don’t occur until adulthood, CDC researchers found that in many cases, the 3,400 teens studied had an alarming number of cardiovascular risk factors. Most unnerving was the conclusion that 37% of normal-weight teens had at least one risk factor.”

HealthDay reports, “For the study period overall, 15 percent of teens were classified as having pre-diabetes or diabetes.”

Dorothy Becker, MD, chief, endocrinology and diabetes, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, who was not involved with the study, said that “doctors, parents, school and hospital administrators, and community leaders all need to take overweight and obesity seriously.”

She added, “Physicians need to say this is important. It’s as big a risk to your health as smoking or unprotected sex.”

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