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Type 2 diabetes: an epidemic disease in childhood

Aye, Tandy MD; Levitsky, Lynne L. MD

Current Opinion in Pediatrics: August 2003 - Volume 15 - Issue 4 - p 411-415
Endocrinology and metabolism

Type 2 diabetes mellitus in the pediatric population is now a public health problem. It represents 8 to 45% of all diabetes reported among children and adolescents. Concurrently, childhood obesity has become an epidemic in the United States. Epidemiologic risk factors and diagnostic criteria have largely been established: The incidence of type 2 diabetes increases with age and obesity. Children and adolescents diagnosed with type 2 diabetes usually have a first- or second-degree relative with the disorder. Familial clustering and twin studies have suggested a genetic component for type 2 diabetes. However, the molecular mechanisms that promote diabetes in susceptible individuals, the best treatment plans, and methods of prevention of this disorder are not yet established.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Lynne L. Levitsky, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, Bartlett Hall, Extension 410, Boston, MA 02114, USA; e-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.