Obesity in children, adolescents fuelling early onset: study

Obesity is a known culprit among adults, but now obesity in children seems to be fuelling early onset of Type 2 diabetes. A Chennai-based study shows an increasing trend of Type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents.

Under 15 years of age

About 26 per cent of them were diagnosed before 15 years of age.

A total of 368 patients were registered between January 1992 and December 2009, according to a report published in Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics.

“In the private sector schools, we see a lot of children, some as young as seven years old with Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 is uncommon among children, Type 1 being the more common condition traditionally. However, this seems to be changing,” says V. Mohan, Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre.

More among young girls

It was also noticed that the prevalence was more common among young girls (with 200 of the total 368 cases documented by the paper) than boys.

Besides a strong family history of Type 2 diabetes – usually both parents had it – a higher body mass index was a contributing factor, Dr. Mohan explains.

Lifestyle factors

Lifestyle factors play a huge role. “If there was a high genetic load and the children had a healthy lifestyle, they are not likely to get Type 2 Diabetes at this age.” But obesity is indeed on the rise among children in private schools, various studies in the city have revealed.

While this is by itself is cause for concern, researchers also observed a high prevalence of micro-vascular complications typical of Type 2 Diabetes – retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy – among the children.

Mostly from affluent homes

While the numbers are still growing, it continues to be a phenomenon of children from affluent homes.

“The problem has not yet come down to the lower income groups, but our guess that it is only a matter of time,” Dr. Mohan explains.

This worrying trend will be part of the deliberations at the 40th annual meeting of the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India (RSSDI) to be held in the city between October 26 and 28, says Dr. Mohan who serves as the president of the Society and organising chairman of the conference.

The conference comes to Chennai after a gap of 15 years.

The focus will also be on other recent management related issues in the field of diabetes and hence will be of immense benefit to the participating physicians, according to C.R. Anand Moses, Organising Secretary, RSSDI 2012 and Director, Institute of Diabetology, Madras Medical College.

Workshops

Workshops will also be organised on various aspects including medical writing, insulin pump, monitoring, diabetic foot, and the diabetes educator programme, which will benefit young researchers in the field of diabetes and related complications, he adds.

For details check the website: http://www.rssdi2012.com/

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