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Prevalence of Diabetes Rising in U.S. Adolescents

About 134,000 may have diabetes and 2.8 million may have impaired fasting glucose

TUESDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- Some 134,000 U.S. adolescents may have diabetes and another 2.8 million may have impaired fasting glucose levels, according to a study in the May issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Glen E. Duncan, Ph.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, asked 4,370 adolescents, aged 12 to 19 years, if a doctor had ever told them they had diabetes. A subset of 1,496 adolescents who answered "no" was tested for glucose levels after fasting for at least eight hours. Among those who reported having diabetes, subjects were categorized as having type 1 diabetes if they used insulin, having type 2 diabetes if they did not use insulin, and having impaired fasting glucose levels if their fasting plasma glucose levels were at least 5.6 mmol/L.

Of the 0.5 percent of subjects who reported having diabetes, 71 percent had type 1 diabetes and 29 percent had type 2. Of those who reported not having diabetes, 11 percent had impaired fasting glucose levels. Extrapolated to the U.S. population, this translates into 134,071 adolescents with diabetes, 39,005 adolescents with type 2 diabetes and 2,769,736 adolescents with impaired fasting glucose levels, according to the study.

"The prevalence of type 2 diabetes and impaired fasting glucose levels is substantial among U.S. adolescents," Duncan concludes. "These estimates have important implications for public health."

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