How common is type 2 diabetes in children and youth?
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are on the rise in children and youth in our country and around the world. In 2000, approximately 16% of American youth were considered obese (equivalent to a BMI of >30 in an adult) and by 2004, this number had increased to 17.1%. To avoid negative stereotypes, children who are clinically obese are referred to as "overweight." A child can be labeled overweight when his or her body mass index (BMI) (the ratio of a person's height and weight) is in the top 5 percent – or above the 95th percentile - for their age and gender. Although no ethnic group is untouched by the problem, obesity and diabetes disproportionately affect American Indian, African American, Mexican American, and Pacific Islander youth.
Along with the increased numbers of children being overweight and obese, there has been a similar increase in the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children. Before the mid-1990s, pediatric centers rarely saw young patients with type 2 diabetes. But by 1994, up to 16% of new cases of diabetes in urban children were type 2. And by 1999, depending on the geographic location, between 8-45% of new cases of diabetes were type 2. In a 2005 study, 0.5 % of all adolescents in the US were reported to have diabetes. Of those patients about 70% had type 1 and 30% had type 2. These numbers were equivalent to about 39,000 children with type 2 diabetes and 2.7 million with impaired fasting glucose levels (a warning sign of diabetes).
Excellent materials on the prevention of type 2 diabetes in youth are available from the National Diabetes Education Program, part of the NIH.
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Last Updated: Saturday April 20, 2013 13:31:34
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