COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Doctors are sounding the alarm after conducting a study that predicts the prevalence of diabetes in American youth.

The results reveal an increase in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the next 40 years.

Dr. Amit Lahoti, an endocrinologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, reviews the study, saying the results are concerning, but there are steps parents can take in some cases to keep their child from becoming a statistic.

Despite diabetes being so common still, some people would be surprised that a child would get diabetes when they hear about someone being diagnosed.

Lahoti, also an associate professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University, has made studying the disease his life’s work.

“Diabetes literally means high blood sugar,” he said. “If, for any reason, the sugar in your blood levels are high, that would be considered diabetes. There are different kinds of diabetes and the most common ones we see are type 1 and type 2 diabetes.”

Data released in a study recently published in the American Diabetes Association journal shows the number of children in America with diabetes is expected to increase drastically over the next 40 years.

Using statistics from 2002-2017, researchers found that if the rate of diabetes in youth continues at the rate seen during that time frame, by 2060, researchers estimate there could be a 65% increase in young people living with type 1 diabetes and a 673% increase of youth living with type 2 diabetes.  

“So the most important factor that we do know as a factor that contributes to Type 2 diabetes is obesity in the population right now,” Lahoti said.

While some factors may be out of a person’s control, such as a parent with type 2 diabetes or ethnicity, working on maintaining a healthy diet and exercise are factors a person can control.

“I think recognizing if your child is not in a healthy weight range is step number one,” Lahoti said. “And step two, examining your child’s risk factor and acting proactively as opposed to reactively. So it is important to take it seriously. If you can prevent it, there’s nothing better than that, but if you get diagnosed with it, take the best care possible because this child has a huge life ahead of them.”

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