Study Reveals Significant Rise in Preventable Diabetes in Kids

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A new study covering 20 years of findings has revealed that diagnoses for preventable diabetes in kids, also known as type 2 diabetes, has increased to 95 percent.

Published in the JAMA journal, the study also indicated that type 1 diabetes in kids has persisted among 45 percent of young people until the age of 20 years old. While type 1 diabetes persisted as a common illness plaguing the younger generation, type 2 diabetes cases have exponentially grown among the over 16-year-old children in Black and Hispanic families.

The data gathered from the study were records of physician diagnoses of over 3.5 million children in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina, and Washington from 2001 to 2017. The study authors said that the increase doesn't reflect any prevalence between male or female patients.

Dr. Giuseppina Imperatore of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Surveillance, Epidemiology, Economics, and Statistics Branch said that any study reflecting an increase in diabetes cases, especially in children, is "always troubling."

"Rising rates of diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, which is preventable, has the potential to create a cascade of poor health outcomes," Imperatore said.

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Chronic Health Condition with No Cure

According to the CDC, a person with diabetes may develop serious heart, kidney, and vision problems. This is because a diabetic body cannot properly process insulin that ensures the bloodstream isn't filled with sugar.

Once diabetes has developed, there is no cure for this chronic health condition, but diabetic patients can manage their illness with a healthy diet, regular exercise, insulin therapy, and weight loss. The experts noted that one of the driving factors of the rise of diabetes in kids is obesity. At that time of the study, childhood obesity in America has increased from 13.9 percent in 2000 to 18.5 percent in 2016.

Most type 2 diabetes occurs during adulthood, but cases have become more common in kids. Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, is a childhood disease triggered by an autoimmune reaction. Overall, diabetes remains one of the top 10 leading causes of death in America in both kids and adults.

Pandemic Weight Gain in Children

Meanwhile, another study from the journal Pediatric Obesity has revealed an uptick in pandemic-related weight gain in children as more families have been eating processed and junk food during this crisis. While kids usually gain weight during the summer months because they are mostly at home, this trend carried over in the pandemic year due to the lockdowns and virtual learning.

Larger research from the Epic Health Research Network showed that one in three kids in the U.S. might have likely become overweight because of eating "ultra-processed foods" during the pandemic. The experts said that parents are responsible for making sure that their kids are eating healthy.

Dieticians recommend involving the children in preparing healthy meals in the kitchen instead of ordering from a convenient fast-food service. Teaching kids to be hands-on with food preparation makes them more familiar with the ingredients.

There are many simple and healthy recipes that the whole family will enjoy preparing and eating together, such as salad dinners, light pasta meals, and oatmeal cookies. Parents may also stock up on fruits with sugar-free yogurt or peanut butter for quick snack fixes.

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