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October 16, 2001


Question from Poughkeepsie, New York, USA:

Is type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents taught in medical schools? If so, then can this also be a way that type 2 diabetes can be prevented in children and in adolescents?


From: DTeam Staff

Of course medical schools teach type�2 diabetes, and of course, it is understood that obese children are at risk. Hopefully, pediatric health care providers warn families of the risk.

However, preventing type 2 in children and in adolescents won’t happen until families of obese children work on it (and often their own). They need to work hard to lose weight, refrain from “super-sizing” and adding silly carbohydrates, and work on burning more calories with exercise. More real games; fewer video games.

Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

Diabetes is just one of thousands of topics covered in medical school. If somebody is working with pediatrics and specifically with pediatric endocrinologists during medical school, then the topic would most certainly come up in standard lectures. In fact, there is not much difference between type 2 diabetes in kids and in adults, except for the younger age of onset. Treatment is the same: weight loss, increased activity, food changes, monitoring, watching lipids and blood pressure as well as associated hyperandrogen states. This will all increase since the epidemic of type 2 diabetes is well known to all endocrine folks who are teaching medical students.

Additional comments from Dr. Larry Deeb:

I would bet that today [2001] it is. Yesterday, and I mean maybe as recently as last year or the year before, it was not. In 1960 5% of the childhood population was obese — today as much as 15%. Other degrees of overweight are equally high. Just look at home movies of children in the 50’s compared to now — the general chubbiness is overwhelming today and the skinny kids of yesterday equally striking. Microwaves, fast food and no P.E., since we are so focused on education — all contribute.

Additional comments from Dr. Matthew Brown:

There are many, many children that likely have a genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes. Most of the time, this is noticed in retrospect after a child has developed type 2 diabetes. You really cannot say that a child will definitively get diabetes based on history and exam alone — although you can have a suspicion and discuss prevention strategies. Please read more about type 2 diabetes and prevention strategies for type 2 diabetes at What You Need to Know about Type 2 Diabetes in Children.