Diabetes Among Youth

Texas Diabetes Council Diabetes Care Diabetes in childhood is mainly type 1, an autoimmune disorder that destroys insulin-producing cells, requiring multiple daily insulin injections or a pump. About one in every 400 to 600 children and adolescents has type 1 diabetes. Clinically-based reports and regional studies suggest that type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, although still rare, is being diagnosed more frequently, particularly in American Indians, African Americans, and Hispanic/Latino Americans.

While some risk factors for type 2 diabetes cannot be controlled, others can. Type 2 diabetes appears to have a genetic basis, which is beyond an individual’s control. But it also is related to obesity and sedentary lifestyle, which, with few exceptions, can be controlled through diet and physical activity. Studies show that, regardless of ethnicity, more than 20 percent of severely overweight children and adolescents have Impaired Glucose Tolerance, or pre-diabetes. Lifestyle is key to being fit and preventing obesity, and, for many, lifestyle habit changes are urgently needed. The family is primary, but school and community must be included in instituting and supporting positive dietary and physical activity changes. Children are influenced by and limited by their environment. Maintaining a diet balanced in fat calories and nutrients, increasing moderate to vigorous physical activity to at least 30 minutes a day, and limiting sedentary activities are essential lifestyle changes that need reinforcement.


Last updated May 17, 2018