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First cases of adult diabetes found in obese white adolescents in UK

Press release issued: 22 February 2002

First cases of adult diabetes found in obese white adolescents in UK

[Type 2 diabetes in obese white children 2002; 86:207-8]

The first cases of adult type diabetes have been found in very overweight children in the UK, reports a study in Archives of Disease in Childhood. It heralds a worrying trend, say the authors, in view of the rising rates of obesity among children in the UK and other parts of the developed world.

Type 2 diabetes is increasingly common in overweight older adults, who are at significantly increased risk of developing the disease. It occurs when fat and muscle cells in particular lose their sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood glucose. Genes play their part, but it is usually caused by diet.

Type 2 diabetes is rare in children, and so far has only been diagnosed in those from ethnic minority groups, who are known to be at greater risk. The authors describe four cases of white adolescents referred to two treatment centres in the south west of England. The three girls and one boy were aged between 13 and 15; all of them were very overweight.

Normally, children diagnosed with diabetes have the type 1 form, which is an automimmune disease. But the authors warn that type 2 diabetes is likely to become increasingly common in children, who will consequently be more susceptible to premature vascular disease.

'The increasing incidence of childhood obesity in the UK and the inevitable rise in type 2 diabetes from an early age is likely to have a major long term impact on health care systems in the UK,' they conclude.

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Copyright: 2001 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Friday, 22-Feb-2002 12:48:08 GMT

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