obesity

Second study confirms obese children face higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on April 27, 2017

Obese children face four times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to children with a body mass index (BMI) in the normal range, according to a new study.

A link has already been found in the United States where the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study found 3,600 cases of type 2 diabetes were diagnosed in children and teenagers each year between 2002 and 2005.

Now, the new research has found a similar trend in 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 the one of the study’s authors, Ali Abbasi, of King’s College London.

‘A child with obesity faces a fourfold greater risk of being diagnosed with diabetes by age 25 than a counterpart who is normal weight,’ Abbasi pointed out.

The cohort study used electronic health records from one of the largest primary care databases worldwide, the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, to pull data from 375 general practices. The researchers examined BMI measurements, diabetes diagnosis records, and other data for 369,362 children between the ages of two and 15.

Examining data recorded between 1994 and 2013, the researchers found 654 children and teenagers were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and 1,318 were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Children and teenagers with obesity constituted nearly half of the type 2 diabetes cases, some 308 in all.

However, the study found no association between obesity and increased incidence of type 1 diabetes, which is linked to an underlying autoimmune disorder.

‘Diabetes imposes a heavy burden on society because the condition is common and costly to treat. Estimates indicate one in 11 adults has type 2 diabetes, or about 415 million people worldwide,’ Abbasi explained.

‘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,’ Abbasi added.

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