According to a September 2016 report in the journal Cell Physiology, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes can be predicted by the amount and type of fats in an adolescent's blood. Scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, United States, measured blood fats or lipids in 149 children 10 to 14 years of age. They recorded known risk factors such as …

  • ethnicity,
  • family history,
  • weight-to-height ratio,
  • blood pressure and pigmentation called acanthosis nigricans on the neck or underarms.

The participants were placed into two groups depending upon their known risk factors …

  • low-risk children had fewer than three risk factors.
  • high-risk individuals had more than three risk factors.

Sixty percent of the children were at a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes based on the known risk factors. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and triglycerides were abnormal in the high-risk group. The researchers concluded it would be possible to intervene and prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes based upon blood fat levels.

Fasting blood sugar levels is another way to predict the possibility of developing full-blown Type 2 diabetes and stopping it in its tracks according to a report published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes in August 2016. Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, compared …

  • 1620 obese children, and
  • 8046 healthy individuals.

By the time they were at least 18 years of age …

  • the obese participants were more than 24 times likely to have Type 2 diabetes than the healthy group.
  • those with fasting blood sugar levels above normal were 3.73 times more likely to develop the condition.

Type 2 diabetes used to be confined to adults, but for several decades it has often been seen in children. The single largest cause of this condition appearing in children is obesity. Signs and symptoms include …

  • weight gain especially around the central area, creating an “apple-shaped” figure where much fat accumulates around the abdominal area,
  • unusual hunger or thirst,
  • a dry mouth,
  • increased urinating and drinking,
  • tiredness,
  • blurred vision,
  • shortness of breath,
  • slowed healing of cuts,
  • itchiness,
  • a black velvet-like skin on the neck or underarms, and
  • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.

Weight control and increased activity are usually the first things doctors recommend for children, just as they are for adults. Failing that Type 2 diabetes in children under 18 years of age is treated with either injectable insulin or oral metformin. Other drugs are being developed and tested. Children should have an HbA1c measured every three months to check their blood sugar control.