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Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. Teens Has Diabetes or Prediabetes


According to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 4 teenagers in the United States has diabetes or a form of prediabetes, the precursor condition diagnosed when a patient exhibits some, but not all criteria for the full-blown disease, reports

The research, which was published in this month’s Pediatrics, analyzes health data from approximately 3,400 teens of varying races, in all weight categories (normal weight, overweight, obese).

 PLUS: A New Kind of Diabetes

 In addition to the shocking 1 in 4 statistic, the study reveals an unsettling trend in the growth of juvenile diabetes in this country. The percentage of teens with diabetes or prediabetes jumped 14% in less than a decade, from 9% in 1999-2000 to 23% in 2007-2008. These numbers are high—especially when considering the American Heart Association lists diabetes as a “controllable risk factor” for cardiovascular disease.

“Our ?ndings are concerning given growing evidence demonstrating that [heart disease] risk factors present during childhood may persist into adulthood,” said Ashleigh L. May, primary author of the study and epidemiologist for the CDC.

 PLUS: Obese 9 Year Old Loses 50 Pounds to Return Home

According to the study, normal weight teens were the least at-risk group for heart disease, followed by overweight participants, and obese participants were the most at-risk group. That being said, a shocking 37% of normal weight participants exhibited one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

As a solution, the authors of the study suggest all teens try to implement a healthier lifestyle: “The results presented here indicate that from a population level, a large proportion of adolescents, regardless of weight status, would bene?t from interventions such as Let’s Move and programs that promote overall healthy lifestyles, including physical activity, healthy diet, and healthy weight maintenance.”

Why do you think the rate of teens with diabetes is climbing? How do you get your kids moving?