Childhood Prediabetes Rates Have Doubled. What Can Parents Do?

by | Apr 6, 2022 | Nutrition

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The prevalence of diabetes among youth ages 12-19 more than doubled between 1999 and 2018. What can parents do?

The prevalence of diabetes among youth ages 12-19 more than doubled between 1999 and 2018, says a new study published by the American Medical Association. The finding is based on analysis of responses to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and data on more than 6,500 males and females. 

Prediabetes became more common in the young people in the study group whether they were of normal weight, overweight or obese—in fact, the increase was greatest among those of normal weight. The trend was also consistent across demographics such as income level, race and education. 

Over the study period, the prevalence of prediabetes among adolescents went from just over one in ten to almost three in ten. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than three in ten adults are prediabetic, though the great majority aren’t aware that this is so. 

Prediabetes is considered to exist when blood sugar levels are elevated, but below the levels associated with diabetes. This is a signal that metabolism is out of kilter, but not so much that changes to diet and lifestyle can’t restore balance.  

“If we do not intervene, the children who have prediabetes have a higher risk of developing diabetes and also have a higher risk of all cardiovascular diseases,” study author Junxiu Liu told CNN. 

Liu, a professor at Mt. Sinai’s school of medicine, recommends strategies such as healthy diet, regular exercise, time spent outdoors and away from screens, and plenty of sleep to help young people reduce their risk of developing prediabetes. 

Diet is an essential part of this tool kit, but food marketers and diet gurus can make it difficult to develop simple rules for healthy eating. eSavvyHealth provides a variety of resources to help you push through confusion and misinformation, from its “Real Food” series of news briefs to courses and free digital guides. 

Fundamentals of Health Alliance

Fundamentals of Health Alliance


The Fundamentals of Health Alliance works to publish useful and reliable information about nutrition and health. Their mission is to empower readers to be informed with honest, non-biased information about food, nutrition and the vital components of health.

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