Type 2 Diabetes Risk 4 Times Higher in Children with Obesity


Policymakers should invest in diabetes prevention efforts, study says.

Children who are obese have 4 times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D) compared with children whose body mass index (BMI) is within the normal rage.

In a study published in theJournal of Endocrine Society, investigators conducted a large-scale analysis of diabetes and obesity rates among British children.

“As the prevalence of obesity and being overweight has rapidly risen, an increasing number of children and young adults have been diagnosed with diabetes in the United Kingdom since the early 1990s,” said author Ali Abbasi, MD, PhD. “A child with obesity faces a 4-fold greater risk of being diagnosed with diabetes by age 25 than a counterpart who is normal weight.”

For the study, investigators used electronic health records from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink, one of the largest primary care databases worldwide.

They pulled data from 375 general practices, and examined BMI measurements, diabetes diagnosis records, and other data for 369,362 children aged 2 to 15 years.

The results of the analysis showed that 654 children and teenagers were diagnosed with T2D and 1318 were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Obesity accounted for nearly half or 308 in total of the T2D cases.

No association was found between obesity and the increased risk of T1D.

“Diabetes imposes a heavy burden on society because the condition is common and costly to treat,” Abbasi said. “Estimates indicate 1 in 11 adults have type 2 diabetes, or about 415 million people worldwide. Given that diabetes and obesity are preventable from early life, our findings and other research will hopefully motivate the public and policymakers to invest and engage in diabetes prevention efforts.”

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