Diabetes shows dramatic surge in US teenagers

Tue, 22 May 2012
A recent study has revealed that nearly a quarter of teenagers in the United States are facing health challenges from pre-diabetes, full diabetes or high levels of so-called bad cholesterol (LDL), and that the situation is rapidly worsening.

The research, based on information from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2008, which was reported in the journal Pediatrics, examined the changing health patterns of teenagers who were 12 to 19 years old. It was shown that 14 per cent had high blood pressure or were at risk from it, that 22 per cent had borderline-high LDL cholesterol levels, while 6 per cent experienced low levels of the good (HDL) cholesterol.

During the period of the study, it was also found that 15 per cent of the teenagers had pre-diabetes or diabetes, and that the rate of pre-diabetes or diabetes was the only risk factor that went up consistently through the study. On analysing year-by-year differences, the researchers noted that the rate of pre-diabetes or diabetes started at 9 per cent, but had increased to 23 per cent by the end of the study.

The rates for pre-diabetes and diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors also were shown to increase as the teenagers weight increased. Lead author on the project, Ashleigh May, pointed out "Pre-diabetes and diabetes increased over time among adolescents."
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