Health officials sound the alarm on increase of prediabetes among youth

A recent health study is sounding the alarm on the rise of prediabetes in adolescents and young adults.

(PHOTO: Courtesy MGN)

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — A recent health study is sounding the alarm on the rise of prediabetes in adolescents and young adults.

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, published earlier this month, nearly one in five adolescents, aged 12 to 18, and one in four young adults, aged 19 to 34 years, are living with prediabetes.

Dr. Ann Albright, Director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, said the new findings are “evidence of a growing epidemic and a tremendously worrisome threat to the future of our nation’s health.”

The CDC was not available for comment on whether statewide rates on prediabetes in youth were included in the study.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) does not have information on prediabetes on youth due to the lack of a centralized data system to track the instances of prediabetes, said Sarah Conklin, a VDH official.

The CDC says prediabetes is a health condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

Once a person develops type 2 diabetes, their risk increases in developing chronic kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke, said health officials.

In type 2 diabetes, the body does not process insulin properly, in contrast to type 1 diabetes, where a person’s pancreas does not produce enough or no insulin.

The study found higher rates of prediabetes for adolescents and young adult males and participants with obesity. Hispanic young adults had a higher percentage of prediabetes compared to white young males.

Unlike Type 1 diabetes, in which there is no known cause, Type 2 in most cases is preventable, according to health officials.

A healthy lifestyle including eating fruits and vegetables and exercising regularly can cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes significantly.

The CDC recommends parents ensure their children receive one hour of physical activity a day. You can find more tips on keeping healthy on the CDC website.

To understand your risk of prediabetes, click here for an online test offered by the CDC.


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