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Obesity Quadruples Kids' Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Study

TUESDAY, April 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Close to 13 million American children and teens are obese, and new research shows they may be four times more likely than kids with a healthy weight to develop type 2 diabetes by age 25.

Between 2002 and 2005, there were 3,600 cases a year of type 2 diabetes among U.S. kids and teens, according to the Endocrine Society's Endocrine Facts and Figures report. A large study of British children produced similar results, the researchers noted.

"As the prevalence of obesity and being overweight has rapidly risen, an increasing number of children and young adults have been diagnosed with diabetes in the United Kingdom since the early 1990s," said study co-author Ali Abbasi, a research fellow at King's College London.

For the study, published April 25 in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, the researchers reviewed health records of 375 general practices in the United Kingdom.

The team compared the diabetes status and body mass index (BMI) of about 370,000 children between the ages of 2 and 15. BMI is a measure used to determine if someone is a healthy weight for their height.

The study found that 654 youngsters were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and 1,319 with type 1 diabetes between 1994 and 2013. Nearly half of those with type 2 diabetes were obese. There was no link, however, between obesity and rates of type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease, researchers noted.

"Diabetes imposes a heavy burden on society because the condition is common and costly to treat," Abbasi said in an Endocrine Society news release. "Estimates indicate one in 11 adults has type 2 diabetes, or about 415 million people worldwide. Given that diabetes and obesity are preventable from early life, our findings and other research will hopefully motivate the public and policymakers to invest and engage in diabetes prevention efforts."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more on childhood obesity.

SOURCE: The Endocrine Society, news release, April 25, 2017

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