Type 2 Diabetes in Youth

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Type 2 Diabetes in Youth

By | August 2010
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Type 2 Diabetes in children and adolescents is an emerging epidemic within the last 20 years. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and adolescents; about 151,000 people below the age of 20 years have diabetes (CDC, 2009). There has been an increase in the amount of younger people, including teenagers that have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. According to the CDC website, type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, although still rare, is being diagnosed more frequently, particularly in American Indians, African Americans, and Latino Americans. Type 2 diabetes is rising in American kids, especially African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. Children are at risk if they are overweight or have a family history of diabetes. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 1999-2000 estimated the percentage of children and adolescents in the United States who are overweight or obese is over 15%, which in return in contributing to the epidemic. Being overweight in early adolescence may put children at risk for developing heart and blood vessel disease and type 2 diabetes even before they become teenagers (Messiah, 2008). Based on 2002–2003 data, about 3,700 youth were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes annually (CDC, 2007).

When diabetes occurs during childhood, it is assumed to be type 1 diabetes. This is usually considered the norm in children and adolescents. The epidemic of obesity, low level of physical activity due to video games and more indoor activities among young adolescents as well as exposure to diabetes in utero, can all be major contributors to the increase in type 2 diabetes during childhood and adolescence. Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents already appears to be a growing problem among U.S. children and adolescents.

Type 2 diabetes affects different ethnic groups but it is more commonly seen in non-white groups. American Indian youth have the highest prevalence. The...
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