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Teenage Diabetes Rates Soar

We look at the soaring rate of teenage diabetes in this country, and ask what in the world are we doing to our kids?

Judith Garcia, 19, fills a syringe as she prepares to give herself an injection of insulin at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Commerce, Calif., Sunday, April 29, 2012. A major study, released Sunday, tested several ways to manage blood sugar in teens newly diagnosed with diabetes and found that nearly half of them failed within a few years and 1 in 5 suffered serious complications. Garcia still struggles to manage her diabetes with metformin and insulin years after taking part in the study at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. (AP)

Judith Garcia, 19, fills a syringe as she prepares to give herself an injection of insulin at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Commerce, Calif., Sunday, April 29, 2012. A major study, released Sunday, tested several ways to manage blood sugar in teens newly diagnosed with diabetes and found that nearly half of them failed within a few years and 1 in 5 suffered serious complications. Garcia still struggles to manage her diabetes with metformin and insulin years after taking part in the study at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. (AP)

Stunning numbers this week in the journal Pediatrics on teenage diabetes in America. In less than a decade, the numbers testing positive for diabetes or pre-diabetes jumped from nine percent to 23 percent of American teens. Almost one in four. That is shocking. For those kids. And for the country.

People can live with diabetes. But you wouldn’t wish it on them. Vision loss. Nerve damage. Kidney failure. Amputation. All risks. Then there’s the cost, to young lives, and the nation. Of so many teens looking down this road.

This hour, On Point: diet, weight, exercise, teens – and the diabetes epidemic.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Dr. Robin Goland, professor of Clinical Medicine and Pediatrics at Columbia University, directs the patient care and clinical research programs at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center.

Dr. Ashleigh May, epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control. She was lead author of a study of teenage diabetes that was just published in the journal Pediatrics.

Dr. Sue Kirkman, senior vice president for Medical Affairs and Community Information at the American Diabetes Association.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post “Now, yet more evidence that children’s health is in dire need of attention: A new study released today shows that almost a quarter of teens have diabetes or prediabetes.”

CBS News “Half the nation’s overweight teens risk heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems because they have unhealthy blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels, a new government study finds.”

New York Times “Before the 1990s, this form of diabetes was hardly ever seen in children. It is still uncommon, but experts say any increase in such a serious disease is troubling. There were about 3,600 new cases a year from 2002 to 2005, the latest years for which data is available.”

Video: Weight of the Nation

Check out the new HBO series on obesity called The Weight of the Nation. This is the third chapter on children, is particularly compelling.

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