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Type 2 diabetes in children and its association with obesity

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Diet and exercise are key planks in managing T2D Diet and exercise are key planks in managing type 2 diabetes at any age

Emerging as a global public health problem, type 2 diabetes (T2D) occurs when insulin secretion fails to meet the increased demand created by insulin resistance, thus leading to a state of relative insulin deficiency1. It is rare before puberty, but there has recently been a rise in pre-pubescent diagnoses. Diagnosis happens most often during the second decade, with a median age of 13.5 years in girls and boys following a year later. Physiologically, this coincides with a peak in insulin resistance. Young adults diagnosed with T2D tend to come from families where T2D is already prevalent1.

The incidence of T2D in children and young adults has increased worldwide, in direct correlation with the increase in rates of obesity in the same populations2. In the United Kingdom around 31,500 children have diabetes, the majority with Type 1. T2D typically develops in adults over 40, but childhood diabetes (once a rare diagnosis) is now on the rise.T2D was first reported in white adolescents in 2002 and since this time there has been a year-on-year increase. The most recent National Paediatric Diabetes Audit (NPDA) highlights a total of 533 children with T2D presenting to paediatric diabetes units in the United Kingdom.3

Of note children of Asian origin are 8.9 times more likely to have type 2 diabetes than their white counterparts whilst children of black origin were 5.8 times more likely3.

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