Diabetes Among Kids Is on the Rise


A recently published study is revealing that juvenile diabetes is seeing an alarming increase in the United States. According to the report, the rise among kids with specified type one and type two diabetes has shot up to disturbing numbers from 2001 to 2009.

The information, gathered by the Colorado School of Public Health and published on Saturday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, revealed that approximately 21 percent or 167,000 children up to age 19 are afflicted with type one diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. Minors age 10 to 19 with type two diabetes, commonly referred to as adult-onset diabetes, is said to be approximately 20,000, up 30 percent according to the study. The research reveals that the numbers of children with diabetes are equally disbursed among gender, racial and socio-economic lines.

While pinpointing the actual reason behind the spike in juvenile diabetes is baffling health professionals, many are concerned over what these new numbers will mean from a public health standpoint as kids grow older. As more children contract diabetes, those in the public health sector believe the ramifications of this growing epidemic could be dire. Health care professions anticipate that today’s children will grow into becoming the adults of tomorrow with ongoing costly treatment and advanced complications like amputations, eye and kidney problems. Diabetes currently affect 25.8 million, 8.3 percent, of Americans. Health officials are convinced that these numbers will continue to rise exponentially. Healthcare professionals are also identifying the possibility of juvenile diabetes as a genetic predisposition if a mother developed diabetes during her pregnancy.

With so many reports of obesity rates among Americans continuing to tip the scales in comparison to other nations, the ongoing mantra of proper diet and exercise has been reaching the average American kid, but it appears the words are not being heeded. With the abundance of convenience foods, fast foods and sedentary lifestyles, nutritionists say the rise in juvenile diabetes can not be considered too much of a surprise when looking at the habits of today’s modern child and the shopping habits of some American families. For many years, the U.S. government has been doing all that it can to make fresh fruits and vegetables available to communities where access to such nutritional staples are a challenge. Government food stamp programs have also made it easier for those on public assistance to purchase fresh produce at local grocery stores and farmer’s markets. To further tie a political bow on the issue, First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative has been implemented to aid and inspire young people to live active lifestyles.

Health care officials involved in the research say that while diabetes is a controllable and treatable condition, the future health of today’s kids hangs in the balance. This next generation growing into adults with diabetes will be among the unhealthiest in a competitive world that has already placed American children at an unfortunate disadvantage on several levels. With proof that American children have fallen behind to compete globally in the realms of education, science and mathematics, those who care about the future of our children say much has to be done to keep the next generation from also falling behind when it comes to their health.

By Hal Banfield

USA Today
New York Times

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