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Kids' Obesity May Lead to Epidemic of Adult Diabetes
Date:7/8/2008

Impact has yet to be felt, since type 2 course may take 10 years to show, study says

TUESDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- The current childhood obesity epidemic in the United States may lead to large numbers of young adults developing type 2 diabetes in the future, along with serious diabetes-related health complications, warns a University of Michigan researcher.

"The full impact of the childhood obesity epidemic has yet to be seen, because it can take up to 10 years or longer for obese individuals to develop type 2 diabetes. Children who are obese today are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes as young adults," Dr. Joyce Lee, a pediatric endocrinologist at the university's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, said in a prepared statement.

The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely he or she is to develop serious complications such as kidney failure and blindness, Lee noted. That means that young adults with type 2 diabetes are much more likely to develop such complications during their lifetime than older people with the disease. She added that babies born to young women with type 2 diabetes are at greater risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes.

"Recent studies suggest that there have been dramatic increases in type 2 diabetes among individuals in their 20s and 30s, whereas it used to be that individuals developed type 2 diabetes in their late 50s or 60s. This may be the first indication of a type 2 diabetes epidemic among young adults who were obese during childhood," Lee said.

More needs to be done to fight childhood obesity, she urged in an article in the July issue of the journal Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.

"Our society heavily invests in the treatment and management of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes for adults. But it spends very little for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity to stave off the onset of type 2 diabetes," Lee said.


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