Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in Childhood

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Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in Childhood
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is increasing every year to the extent that it has become a global epidemic. Diabetes UK report that globally form 1975 to 2010 it was estimated to treble from 70 million to 220 million and in the UK it was estimated that from 1980 to 2010 it would almost quadruple from 800,000 to 3 million (Diabetes UK 2004). A 2006 review by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that if the present trends continue, by 2025 the global prevalence of type 2 diabetes will reach the staggering number of 300 million especially among nations in the tropical pacific islands and among Asian Indians, Chinese and indigenous Australians, Hispanic Americans and African Americans. This rise is mirrored by the rise in the number of people who are abdominally obese. (Diamond 2003 cited by Beckwith 2010)

In the UK in 2009 it was reported that 67%of men and 56% of women were overweight or obese (Beckwith 2010) and this can have a direct bearing in childhood obesity as “childhood obesity is closely linked to parental overweight. The risk of becoming obese in adulthood for a 7 year old boy is 71% if the parents are obese. Thus to avoid paediatric type 2 diabetes interventions must start at pre-school age and involve the whole family (Aschemeier et al 2008). Children of successive generations seem destined to be fatter and sicker than their parents, with paediatric obesity shortening life expectancy in the US by 2-5 years by mid century – an effect equal to that of all cancers combined. (Ludwig 2007). Current data would suggest that 13.9% of children in England are obese and this shows no signs of improving.

The increasing rate of childhood obesity across the world has been described as the epidemic of the 21st Century. Factors such as changing dietary habits and the increase in sedentary lifestyles have added to the problem of childhood. The American centre for disease control defines being overweight in childhood and adolescence as having a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile for age and sex (Spiotta & Luma 2008). The prevalence of obesity in the United Kingdom is estimated to treble between 2005 and 2013 (Rajeswaran et al 2011) Childhood obesity has also been linked with the growth in urbanisation and economic development, socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity and increasing sedentary lifestyles.

The American academy of paediatrics estimated in 2001 that 1 in 5 US children were obese (Kupecz 2001) and Diabetes UK estimate that a quarter of children in Britain are overweight or obese Diabetes UK 2009). The information on the patterns and epidemiology of type 2 diabetes in youth is currently patchy, primarily because of the relative rarity of the disorder, the infrequency of formal registries to capture information nevertheless, it is now clear that type 2 is an emerging problem among many societies around the world, particularly those ethnic groups known to have high prevalence of type 2 diabetes in adults (Shaw 2007).

Several studies have shown increases in rates of obesity in children and adolescents in Asian countries which shows no sign of slowing including increasing rates of children having signs of glucose dysregulation, including abnormal fasting glucose, glucose intolerance or both increasing the likelihood of impaired insulin secretion and as well as reduced insulin sensitivity, increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (Kun-Ho et al 2006, Moussa et al 2008, Lee 2007).

The WHO (2012) has reported that the problem of childhood obesity is global and is steadily affecting many low and middle income countries particularly in urban settings. The prevalence has increased at an alarming rate. Globally in 2010 the number of overweight children under the age of 5 is estimated to be over 42 million with close to 35 million of these living in developing countries, with an increased likely hood to develop type 2 diabetes,...
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