Pregnancy

Adolescence, Now Officially Brought To You With Diabetes Risks

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diabetesGetting older usually comes with innate health risks. Along with superficial wrinkles and graying hair, women and men who reach certain golden years are suddenly more at risk for certain ailments and conditions, such as breast cancer or heart disease. But aside from the risks that come from being say a 50-year-old smoker or 40-year-old with a family history of breast cancer, adolescence now officially carries diabetes risks.

Your tween has been warned.

The New York Times reports that “nearly” one in four American teenagers (aged 12 to 19) is on the verge of developing Type 2 diabetes or may be diabetic already thanks to a national sample of kids. Fewer than one in 10 children were at risk a decade ago. The Times also reports that “the disease progresses more rapidly in children than in adults and is harder to treat.”

The culprits are the usual offenders: increased time consuming media, including all that TV, computer, and cell phone time, with little to no physical activity. The increase in minorities, who have a higher risk of diabetes than whites, is also considered an component. Nevertheless, researchers don’t exactly have the uptick in diabetes risk completely figured out despite how “troubling” it is:

They were not entirely able to explain why diabetes and prediabetes rates had continued to rise while obesity held steady, but they said it may have taken time for the disease to “catch up” with teenagers who were overweight or sedentary as children.

Still, although Dr. Lori Laffel of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston finds the researcher to be “the best sampling of youth,” the findings warrant more study when considering the following variables:

Researchers said the data should be interpreted with caution because the prediabetes and diabetes status of the adolescents was based on a single test of each participant’s fasting blood glucose level, which could be unreliable in children if they had not fasted for at least 8 hours before taking the test. In addition, children this age are going through puberty, a process that induces insulin resistance.

Many  with prediabetes often go on to develop Type 2 diabetes — formerly labeled “adult-onset diabetes.” But because Type 2 diabetes has always been considered uncommon in children, that term is perhaps due for a very unfortunate update.

(photo: kentoh/ Shutterstock)