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Type 2 Diabetes On the Rise in Children: Can it Be Stopped?

Childhood obesity is a big problem and one that doesn’t seem to be going away. Not only are kids not getting the exercise they need or eating a properly balanced diet, but due to these lifestyle issues, they are doing great harm to the health. One scary trend that is doctors are seeing? A rise in Type 2 diabetes usually knows as an “adult-onset variety” in children.

Obesity is one of the risk factors in developing Type 2 diabetes. And the numbers? They’re scary. As NPR notes, a couple of decades ago only 3 percent of diabetes cases in kids was Type 2, but now it’s about half.  And trying to control it doesn’t seem to be doing too much good.

NPR notes that, “Only about half of the children, ages 10-17 at the study start, were able to control their blood sugar adequately with the generic drug metformin (the only diabetes pill approved for kids) by itself. A combination of metformin and Avandia (a drug whose use has been severely restricted because of safety issues since the study started in 2004) did a little better — about 60 percent got their blood sugar under control.”

Even worse? When the kids had a ‘lifestyle intervention’ for better diet and exercise it didn’t seem to help. But it wasn’t due to a “lack of willpower and an inability to stick with better eating habits and a more active lifestyle.”  David B. Allen, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin, said that they are just victims of a “obesogenic world,” and couldn’t escape the unhealthy cycle they had been raised in.

“Fifty years ago, children did not avoid obesity by making healthy choices; they simply lived in an environment that provided fewer calories and included more physical activity for all,” Dr. Allen writes.

Do you think it’s too late for our culture to embrace better lifestyle choices for the sake of not just the kids but ourselves?

Image: Istockphoto

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