Diabetes in Children on the Rise

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Type 2 Diabetes on the Rise Among Children

Link To Article | http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20100325/diabetes_children_100325/20100325?hub=Health

Written By: Canadian Press

THURSDAY, Mar 25 2010 (ctv.ca) — What used to be known as adult-onset diabetes is showing up in more and more children, especially among aboriginals, says a recent study by the Manitoba Institute of Child Health.

The study found 345 cases of Type 2 diabetes in children across Canada between April, 2006 and March, 2008. Almost half — 44 per cent — were kids with aboriginal heritage.

“The potential impact of childhood Type 2 diabetes will significantly affect workforce productivity and the health-care system,” Dr. Heather Dean, one of the lead authors, said in a written statement.

Type 2 diabetes has been linked to obesity and other health risks, and until recently, was almost unheard of in children. But as the obesity rate climbs, the disease is showing up among pre-teens. The average age of diagnosis in the new study was 13.7 years, and dozens of cases involved kids under 10.

Ninety-five per cent of the children with Type 2 diabetes were obese.

The rate of diabetes varies widely from one region to another. Manitoba, with its relatively large population of young aboriginals, had a rate of Type 2 diabetes in children that was 10 times higher than anywhere else in the country.

The report’s authors are hoping the findings will lead to new efforts to combat childhood obesity and other risk factors.

“It is our hope that this information will promote increased efforts and allocation of resources for the prevention of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes, especially in children with known risk factors,” said Dr. Shazhan Amed, an endocrinologist at British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital and the other author on the study.

The study, funded by the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the Manitoba Institute of Child Health, involved pediatricians across the country.

It’s not the first to raise the alarm about high rates of diabetes among aboriginals. A study led by researchers at the University of Saskatchewan earlier this year found the incidence of diabetes is more than four times higher in First Nations women than among non-First Nations women. For men, the rate of new diabetes cases was 2.5 times that of non-aboriginals.