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Your Healthy Family: Surge in kids diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

Posted at 7:50 AM, Jan 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-13 07:50:25-05

A new study shows a surge in type 2 Diabetes in people age 20 and younger. This is the type of diabetes usually caused by poor diet and not enough exercise.

"Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, meaning basically the cells in the pancreas that make insulin were attacked by the body's immune system. People with type 1 Diabetes are on injected insulin for the rest of their life," Angela Hepner, a Licensed Diabetes Educator, said. "Type 2 tends to be more lifestyle induced. People who tend to be more overweight and obese."

Hepner said typically, younger people are in the type one category. But the American Diabetes Association says there’s been a big increase in type 2 Diabetes diagnoses in people 20 and younger.

"As a general rule, our kids are getting a little bit larger across the board. They're very sedentary," Hepner said.

It's a shift in kids’ health that researchers say could lead to a 675 percent increase in type two Diabetes cases in our youth by the year 2060.

The study says if the rate of diabetes grows as rapidly as it did from 2002-2017, there will be 526,000 patients 20 and younger with either type of diabetes by the year 2060. That’s up from 213,000 in 2017. As scary as the statistics may seem, Hepner said there are two ways to try and bring the numbers down.

"Number one is physical activity. Without a shadow of a doubt, get them active in some form or fashion," Hepner said. "And then number two is get rid of the soda, get rid of the juice. The liquid carbohydrates and liquid sugars. Those are really hard on your body."

She said teaching kids to take care of their bodies now is key, so it doesn't become more life-threatening in the future.