The first-ever guidelines for the management of type 2 diabetes in children and teenagers in the United States has been introduced by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
With childhood obesity rates in the US continuing to rise, doctors across the country are now seeing more children with type 2 diabetes, a metabolic condition which is strongly linked to body size and weight and usually develops later in adulthood, compared to type 1 diabetes which is generally diagnosed at a young age.
Dr. Janet Silverstei, co-author of the new AAP’s guidelines on diabetes, said: “Many pediatricians were never trained in managing type 2 because it just wasn’t a disease we used to see. It was a disease of adulthood. But as we’re seeing more obesity in kids, we’re seeing adult diseases in childhood.”
The new guidelines on how to treat kids aged 10 to 18 with type 2 diabetes start by recommending that all obese children are screened for diabetes. They also highlight the importance of distinguishing between type 1 and type 2 when diagnosing diabetes to determine a suitable treatment plan.
If type 2 diabetes is confirmed, lifestyle changes, including at least one hour a day of exercise, and metformin medication are recommended along with HbA1c (long-term blood glucose readings) checks every three months.
If it’s not clear which type of diabetes a child has, doctors should start them on insulin therapy until a more refined diagnosis can be made.
The guidelines, which appear in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics, also include recommendations for monitoring pediatric patients’ glycemic control, implementing insulin regimens, and diet and physical activity.
Furthermore, they stress that both doctors and parents can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by advising and encouraging overweight/obese children to lose weight through regular exercise and healthy diet changes.

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