1 in 5 kids, 1 in 4 young adults now prediabetic, new study finds

Until recently, young children and teens almost never got Type 2 diabetes, which is why it used to be called adult-onset diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

But a study published this week in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that's changing. According to the study, nearly a quarter of young adults (ages 19-34) and a fifth of adolescents (ages 12-18) have prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are elevated but not enough to be Type 2 diabetes.

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Unlike Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition more often seen in children, Type 2 diabetes develops over time and is linked to obesity.

Now, the CDC states on its website, "about one-third of American youth are overweight, a problem closely related to the increase in kids with type 2 diabetes, some as young as 10 years old."

Of the 5,786 kids and young adults in the study, prediabetes was seen more often in boys than girls.

Why is this important? According to the study authors:

“Individuals with prediabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. The incidence and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the US adolescent population have increased in the last decade.”

The authors said their study highlights “the need for primary and secondary prevention efforts (diet and exercise) tailored to the young segment of the US population.”

You can read the full study here.

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