The Centers for Disease Control this week said as many as two-million U.S. adolescents and young teenagers may be at risk of type-two diabetes. Doctor Jennifer Gross at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines says based on young patients she sees, it’s true.
She’s seeing more and more kids whose BMI, or Body Mass Index, is in the “high-risk” range. When those kids come to clinics, their doctors screen them for several conditions, since they know that a heavy kid’s at risk of not only diabetes but other conditions like high cholesterol.
Type One diabetes, which most often appears early in life, means a person’s body does not produce enough insulin to absorb sugars from the food they eat. Those Type One patients have high blood sugar because their pancreas isn’t working. These other kids have higher insulin levels than normal, because they’re so over-fed their bodies don’t absorb it and they’re insulin-resistant, the sign of Type Two Diabetes.
Both forms of the disease are very dangerous, the doctor says. The higher sugar levels in both conditions pose a danger to internal organs including kidneys and arteries, and lead to longterm health problems. The main thing the doctor wants parents to do is get kids on the path to a healthier lifestyle.
Dr. Blank says it’s easier to do before habits are formed, and to catch it early and help children eat healthier and lead a more active life, things that will help them down the line. In the national survey, one in 14 boys and girls had the pre-diabetic condition called “impaired fasting glucose,” and it was found in one in six overweight kids.