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J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2000;13 Suppl 6:1395-402.

Emergence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in children: epidemiological evidence.

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  • 1Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA.


There have been numerous recent reports of case series of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) in American Indian, African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American and white children from North America. A similar phenomenon has also been described in several other countries. Prevalence and incidence estimates vary depending on the age and ethnicity of the population, but it is estimated that type 2 DM represents 8-45% of patients with DM currently diagnosed in large US pediatric centers; however, this is likely to be an underestimation and incidence is probably rising. The young patients diagnosed with type 2 DM in the USA were generally overweight, had a strong family history of type 2 DM and often had signs of insulin resistance. The majority belonged to ethnic groups at high risk for type 2 DM. More girls than boys were diagnosed. The few data on follow-up available suggest a high prevalence of microvascular and macrovascular complications among young adults who developed type 2 DM during childhood. Type 2 DM in children has recently been recognized as a potential public health problem in North America. As obesity is currently on the increase in several industrialized or industrializing countries, a similar increase in type 2 DM in children may soon emerge worldwide, and this will require preventative measures.

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