Type 2 diabetes becoming more common in adolescents
Children and adolescents are among the groups most affected by the growing obesity epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 17 percent of Americans between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese. This significantly increases their risk of a range of health problems, including type 2 diabetes.
These numbers are part of the reason why the CDC has estimated that as much as one third of U.S. adults could have type 2 diabetes by the year 2050. While the projections are dire, medical professionals say they are already dealing with the consequences.
"We're definitely seeing more type 2 diabetes - the one associated with obesity - in children than we did 10 years ago," Dr. Karen E. Wang, a pediatrician with Children's Health Center in Reading, Pennsylvania, told the Reading Eagle
. "Unfortunately, most kids today don't get enough exercise. They simply don't move their bodies enough."
She added that pre-diabetes, which is characterized by declining insulin sensitivity and unhealthy blood sugar levels, is one of the fastest growing diagnoses in adolescents. This condition often develops into full-blown type 2 diabetes.