A study published online this week in the journal Pediatrics sent shockwaves through the healthcare community by showing that the rate of prediabetes/type 2 diabetes (not differentiated) among adolescents 12-19 years old has nearly tripled in 10 years.
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which includes a nationally representative sample, did confirm that teenage obesity and overweight rates had leveled off in recent years, and that teenage rates of high blood pressure and high cholesterol had not changed greatly. But the percentage of teenagers testing positive for diabetes and prediabetes had risen to 23 percent in 2007-8 from 9 percent in 1999-2000.
The data was based upon a fasting blood glucose level greater than 99 milligrams (glucose) per deciliter (blood), and some experts caution that the method and puberty status of participants could skew the data some. Still, most acknowledge that the incidence of what was previously called “adult onset” diabetes among youth is troubling in part because “standard” treatment regimens do not seem to work as effectively with younger patients.