Obesity to Blame for Childhood Diabetes
(Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- As children's waistlines grow, so does their risk of developing diabetes. Researchers from the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor report obese children are more than twice as likely to be diabetic than children of normal weight.
Researchers, led by Joyce Lee, M.D., reviewed the results of the National Survey of Children's Health, a population-based survey involving more than 100,000 children. They found for every 1,000 children, 3.2 have either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
When taking into account the children's body mass index, they found those who are obese are more than twice as likely to have diabetes as their counterparts of normal weight. Study authors say this offers "Evidence that obesity may be a significantly contributing factor to the development of childhood diabetes."
With this information, Dr. Lee says public health strategies targeted toward treating obesity could potentially reduce the number of children who develop diabetes in the future.
By extrapolating the data, researchers say nationally, 229,240 children younger than age 19 have diabetes.
Researchers also point out this study did not distinguish between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, even though type 2 is normally associated with obesity in adults. They also note that these numbers may be underestimated due to undiagnosed or pre-symptomatic disease.
SOURCE: Diabetes Care, published online Jan. 30, 2006
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