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Type 2 Diabetes: Reduce Your Child’s Risk Now

In 2006, 25 percent of children with newly diagnosed diabetes admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan had type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is no longer considered an adult-only disease. More and more children are developing this serious health problem.

Type 2 diabetes develops when the hormone insulin can’t move sugar into the cells of the body. “If a child’s body cannot use insulin properly, sugar levels increase in the blood,” says Kathleen Moltz, M.D., pediatric endocrinologist, Children’s Hospital of Michigan. “Kids with type 2 diabetes have high sugar levels and high cholesterol levels as well. The longer a person has this disease, the greater her risk of heart disease, kidney failure, and other serious conditions.”


Is My Child At Risk?

Most children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are considered overweight. Overweight and obesity are evaluated with body mass index (BMI). Your doctor can help you determine if your child’s BMI is high.

“Besides overweight, inactivity is a common cause of type 2 diabetes in children,“ cautions Dr. Moltz. Other risk factors may include:

  • Being Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, African American, or Hispanic
  • Having higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, called impaired glucose tolerance or pre-diabetes
  • Having conditions linked to high blood sugar levels, such as high blood pressure or a family history of diabetes

 According to Dr. Moltz, “Type 2 diabetes usually causes no symptoms in children. But some children with the disease may have dark, thick skin patches around the neck or in the underarm area.” A simple test can help diagnose type 2 diabetes.  

Kathleen Moltz, M.D.

Can It Be Prevented?
Helping your child reach and maintain an appropriate body weight is the best defense. The following lifestyle measures also can help prevent the disease:
  • Eating a low-fat, healthy high-fiber diet that includes a lot of whole grains and five servings of fruits and vegetables daily
  • Reducing high-calorie fast foods
  • Engaging in regular exercise for about 30 minutes on most, if not all, days of the week

If your child is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the same healthy lifestyle measures can help manage the disease. For some children, certain medications also may be prescribed.

If you only want what’s best for your child, Children’s Hospital of Michigan is where you want them to be. For an appointment, call 313-745-KIDS (5437) or 888-DMC-2500.

What kind of appointment would you like?