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Adult Onset Diabetes: Does It Need a New Name?

Adult Onset Diabetes: Does It Need a New Name?

For years there were two distinct forms of diabetes (not including gestational diabetes, which occurs solely in pregnant women). They were Type 1, also referred to as “juvenile diabetes” because patients are either born with it or develop it very early in life, and there was something called “adult-onset diabetes” which occurred later in life and was sometimes caused by poor nutrition and/or obesity. While both forms of diabetes still very much exist (in increasing numbers), the “adult-onset” terminology needs to be modified due to the ever-increasing numbers of children being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

According to a New York Times report:

“Nearly one in four American adolescents may be on the verge of developing Type 2 diabetes or could already be diabetic, representing a sharp increase in the disease’s prevalence among children ages 12 to 19 since a decade ago, when it was estimated that fewer than one in 10 were at risk for or had diabetes, according to a new study.”

The presumed cause for this Type 2 diabetes spike is obesity, which has reached epidemic proportions. Researchers analyzed data from 3,383 youths ages 12 to 19 who participated in a federal survey and found that the proportion of those with diabetes or “prediabetes” increased from 9 percent in 1999 to 23 percent in 2008, according to a paper published in the journal Pediatrics. While Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, until recently it was a relative rarity among children under the age of 18. Now, with the prevalence of junk food, lack of exercise, and the rise in childhood obesity, it is not uncommon to see Type 2 being diagnosed in children age 10. Diabetes is linked to all sorts of problems in adults and children alike, including blindness, nerve damage, heart attacks and strokes. And the difference between a 45-year-old and a 12-year-old being diagnosed with Type 2 is that the disease progresses far more rapidly in children than in adults and is harder to treat.

The figures and reports are sobering, and not really something we, as parents, ever thought we would have to contend with. Two or three generations ago parents were dealing with polio, small pox and Nazis. Now, when we drop our kids off at school, we look at the unfortunate children, struggling with weight issues, snacking on chips, and drowning themselves in sodas the size of wastepaper baskets, and think…”will they live past 21?”

How do these grim figures impact the way you eat, and/or feed your children? Is this an issue of education or self-control? Can we really reverse the trend?

Related:
Top 7 Risk Factors for Diabetes
Childhood Obesity and Emotional Eating
Should We Ban Junk Food from Our Kids?

Read more: Blogs, Children, Diabetes, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Family, Food, General Health, Health, Healthy Schools, High Blood Pressure, Parenting at the Crossroads, Teens, , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

43 comments

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8:23AM PDT on Sep 24, 2012

Thank you

7:49AM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

Niko ništa be želi poduzeti,Djeca vam u školama popiju sedmično tonu šećera u lošim šejkovima,jedu smeće,ali niko ništa ne poduzima.

1:48PM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

It is very sad how many people have this terrible disease and it can be avoided thru proper diet and exercise. There are also many more out there who are pre diabetic and are ticking time bombs because they are not getting treatment.

Marielaina Perrone DDS
http://www.drperrone.com

4:45PM PDT on Jun 3, 2012

I agree with Callie; call them type 1 and type 2.

7:34PM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

Why not just call it Type 1 and Type 2?

10:29AM PDT on May 29, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

9:01PM PDT on May 25, 2012

Thanks for postng.

11:16AM PDT on May 25, 2012

No, it doesn't need a name tag, the cause needs to be addressed, and that's the FOOD. Our digestive tract is a processing plant. It can handle only so much sugar. Overeating causes spikes in blood sugar and no good can come of that. Some people can handle more sugar than others because they are born with more juices to digest sugar. The American Indians lived on nuts and berries and occasional meat for 10,000 years. When they were suddenly introduced to the American diet of fat and sugar and empty carbs, almost all of them became diabetic. This is proof that it's the food.

10:58AM PDT on May 25, 2012

My son developed Type I at age 19. I've heard of many children with Type II. I do believe the different types of diabetes need to be re-defined.

7:36AM PDT on May 25, 2012

This Picture said it all. Toxic Sugar, Toxic High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hormone Milk, Artificial Colors and Dyes. Knocked Out from Toxins on the couch. I bet he is a Good Boy and gives no trouble to his enabler Mommy who goes out and buys all these goodies for her good little boy. Killing him with her Sick So Called Love. This is Child Abuse.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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