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Is Extreme Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Becoming More Common Among American Children?

About one-third of the cases of diabetes found in juveniles are now type 2 diabetes. The typical age for a child being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is thirteen and a half years, but the disease has been found in children as young as four. It has also been estimated that more than 4% of adolescents in the US, aged from 12 to 19, have metabolic syndrome which is associated with type 2 diabetes.

If you live in the US, it’s hard to escape news stories featuring the struggles of children as young as 5 who live with extreme obesity. Whether it is the parents of the fourteen year-old-girl seeking court permission to have gastroplasty (removing part of her stomach to try to control her type 2 diabetes), or if it’s the story of the mother put in jail for overfeeding her six-year-old, extreme obesity would seem to be becoming very common in the US. Indeed, a full 5% of all American children under the age of 14 are classified as extremely obese. Obesity is the greatest risk factor for type 2 diabetes in children, particularly obesity of the central type… the type that creates an “apple-shaped” figure, where fat accumulates around the abdominal area.

However, even if they were skinny as rails, they would still be classified as “extremely obese.” That’s because the US Centers for Disease Control define extreme obesity as having a high body mass index (BMI) more than 95% of other children in the same age group.

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