As obesity rates among children climb, so too has the incidence of obesity-related Type 2 diabetes. But a newly-released study shows that treating the disease in youngsters is harder than once thought.
The research marks the first large-scale study of Type 2 diabetes in children. The disease rarely existed in kids before the 1990s, but obesity rates have skyrocketed since then.
Scientists followed nearly 700 kids nationwide, ages 10 to 17, all of whom suffer from Type 2 diabetes. Among the more worrisome findings: the oral drug approved for childhood diabetes failed to work in about half the participants within a few years.
Those kids now must add daily insulin shots to their treatment. Pediatric diabetes expert Dr. Lynda K. Fisher of Children's Hospital, Los Angeles, was among the study's researchers.
"I think this should be a big, huge wake-up [...] that prevention might be a much better path," says Fisher.
Fisher says battling obesity before it takes hold is especially important within minority populations where the rates and risk of Type 2 childhood diabetes are highest.