Growing up I knew one kid that had diabetes. One. I’m not saying that more kids didn’t have it and I just wasn’t aware, but generally, while in elementary and junior high you pretty much know which kids had diabetes because they couldn’t eat some of the treats brought to class for birthdays or they couldn’t eat certain items during lunch and you always felt really bad for them. I mean, birthday cupcakes were the highlight of days, if not weeks of school, were they not?
But now all you hear about in the news is diabetes and no, it’s not just a case of it being talked about and reported more, apparently more children than ever actually have diabetes. In fact, the new numbers are alarming.
As Cassie Murdoch reports over on Jezebel, “a new study shows a pretty terrifying increase in the rate of diabetes and pre-diabetes among young people. In 2000, only 9 percent of teens were diabetic or pre-diabetic. By 2008, a whopping 23 percent of adolescents are.”
A huge increase in just eight years.
Of the two types of diabetes, type 2 accounts for more than 90% of cases. And, as we all know, childhood obesity is a problem. About a third of adolescents are overweight or obese, which increases their risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
Pediatric endocrinologist Larry Deeb, who is also a former president of medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association, tells USA Today that other research shows “a 64% increase in diabetes in the next decade,” which is even higher than the predicted increase in obesity, “because stress on the pancreas and insulin resistance catches up with people. We are truly in deep trouble. Diabetes threatens to destroy the health care system.”
The findings, reported in the Journal Pediatrics also show that overall, half of overweight teens and almost two-thirds of obese adolescents have one or more risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high levels of bad cholesterol. By comparison, about one-third of normal-weight adolescents have at least one risk factor.
Scary, scary stuff, America.
You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.
Read more from Monica on Strollerderby: