Remain Aware of Type 2 Diabetes Risk in Youth, Especially in Children Who Are Severely Obese

JUNE 10, 2017

American Indian children who were severely obese at ages 5 to 9 were 12 times more likely to be severely obese by age 20 than those children who were normal weight, according to data that examined diabetes and metabolic abnormality risk that was presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 77th Scientific Sessions. 

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health examined the incidence of T2D in 2,728 children without diabetes aged 5-9 years, and a partially overlapping group of 4,317 youths aged 10-17 years. The children were followed to age 45 or until the onset of T2D. Age-sex specific BMI percentiles were defined by the 2000 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth charts. 

According to the study results, compared with 5-9-year old nonobese children with BMIs in the middle of the BMI distribution, children of the same age with BMIs at least 40% above the cut-point defining obesity had 12 times the incidence rates of T2D by age 20 years and 3 times the incidence rates of T2D by age 45 years. BMI had similar effects on T2D incidence in those 10-17 years old at baseline.

“Parents and health care providers should be aware of the future diabetes risk associated with obesity in youth, especially as more severe degrees of obesity become more prevalent,” Madhumita Sinha, MD, MHSM, staff clinician at the Diabetes Epidemiology and Clinical Research Section of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Phoenix, Ariz. said in a press release about the study. “Results of our analysis emphasize the importance of developing effective means of preventing or treating obesity in youth, and additional risk factors for type 2 diabetes in youth should be explored for their interactions with severe obesity.” 


Sinha M, et al. Long-term risk of type 2 Diabetes in youth with increasing severity of obesity. Presented at: The American Diabetes Association’s 77th Scientific Sessions, June 9-13, 2017. San Diego.