Startling rise in type 2 diabetes among children raises alarm

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 5,300 new cases of pediatric type 2 diabetes were diagnosed in the United States.

This is a concern because in 1990 there were, essentially, zero cases reported.

Type 2 diabetes used to be an extremely rare condition among children. Now a growing number of kids are living with the condition according to an article from Healthline. Even worse is the fact that many are experiencing complications four times faster than adults with type 2 diabetes.

There are two main types of diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the pancreas, and the pancreas stops producing insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still makes insulin, but the body has become more resistant to the insulin. Insulin is critical for processing blood sugar.

The startling rise in pediatric type 2 diabetes mirrors the trend of increasing rates across all age segments in the United States. The CDC estimates that almost one-third of the country, or 100 million people, currently have diabetes or prediabetes.

The sudden increase among children and teens has been linked to the dramatic increase in childhood obesity. The CDC estimates 1 in 5 school-age children are obese — triple the rate from the 1970s.

Dr. Jane Lynch of the American Academy of Pediatrics says a rise in gestational diabetes, changes in food processing, and less time being physically active have also put children at increased risk in recent decades.

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