Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rate of Type 2 Diabetes in Children Soars

Doctors today face the challenge of a new pediatric disease: type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). In past decades it was nearly unheard of for a child to be diagnosed with T2DM, often referred to as adult-onset diabetes. But now kids between 10-20 years of age are routinely diagnosed with this serious disease and the numbers are only rising.

Based on data from 2002-2003, approximately 3,700 American youth under 20 years of age were diagnosed annually with T2DM, according to the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study. The same study reports that children between 10-20 years old represented "14.9% of newly diagnosed cases of diabetes in non-Hispanic whites, 46.1% in Hispanic youth, 57.8% in African Americans, 69.7 % in Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 86.2% in American Indian youths."

Research published last October in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism provided some of the first baseline statistics in children afflicted with T2DM. The project, called Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth (TODAY), included 704 American participants between the ages of 10 and 17, all of whom were diagnosed with the disease. Three treatment options were included: "1) metformin alone, 2) metformin plus rosiglitazone, and 3) metformin plus the TODAY lifestyle program, a program of family-based behavioral lifestyle change aimed at promoting weight loss."

The study found that almost half of the participants achieved acceptable control of their diabetes on metformin alone. While analysis continues, the researchers believe that the final outcome data will yield important insight into the treatment of type 2 diabetes in youth.

More research is available on children with type 2 diabetes here, or a recent Washington Post article on the same topic can be found here.



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