12:06am Saturday 23 September 2017

Childhood obesity linked to quadrupled risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Children with obesity face four times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to children with a body mass index (BMI) in the normal range, according to a study published today in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

Researchers from King’s College London looked at electronic health records from one of the largest primary care databases in the world, the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink, to pull data from 375 general practices. They examined BMI measurements, diabetes diagnosis records, and other data for 369,362 children between the ages of 2 and 15. They found that 654 children and teenagers were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes between 1994 and 2013.

In addition, the researchers found that the rate of children developing type 2 diabetes increased from an average of six new cases per 100,000 children each year between 1994 and 1998, to an average of 33 new cases per 100,000 children each year, between 2009 and 2013.

Dr Ali Abbasi, lead author from the Division of Health and Social Care Research at King’s College London, said: ‘As the prevalence of obesity and being overweight has rapidly risen, an increasing number of children and young adults have been diagnosed with diabetes in the United Kingdom since the early 1990s. A child with obesity faces a four-fold greater risk of being diagnosed with diabetes by the age of 25, than their counterpart who is of normal weight.

‘Diabetes imposes a heavy burden on society as the condition is common and costly to treat. Estimates indicate one in 11 adults has type 2 diabetes, equal to around 415 million people worldwide. Given that diabetes and obesity are preventable from early life, our findings and other research will hopefully motivate the public and policymakers to invest and engage in diabetes prevention efforts.’

Researchers also found that 1,318 children were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes during the same period. As expected, they found no association between obesity and the incidence of type 1 diabetes, which is linked to an underlying autoimmune disorder.

Criteria to determine obesity in this study was dependent on the child’s age – obesity was classified as having a BMI in the top five per cent of the population for their age, as measured by a 1990 study of UK children.

 

Notes to editors:

 

For more information, please contact the King’s College London press office on 020 7848 3202 or pr@kcl.ac.uk.

‘Body Mass Index and Incident Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Young Adults: A Retrospective Cohort Study’ by Abbasi et al is published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society on Tuesday 25 April 2017 and will be available at https://academic.oup.com/jes/article-lookup/doi/10.1210/js.2017-00044

Study authors were supported by the National Institute Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.

 

About King’s College London

King’s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (2016/17 QS World University Rankings) and among the oldest in England. King’s has more than 29,600 students (of whom nearly 11,700 are graduate students) from some 150 countries worldwide, and some 8,000 staff.

King’s has an outstanding reputation for world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), eighty-four per cent of research at King’s was deemed ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (3* and 4*).

Since our foundation, King’s students and staff have dedicated themselves in the service of society. King’s will continue to focus on world-leading education, research and service, and will have an increasingly proactive role to play in a more interconnected, complex world. Visit our website to find out more about Vision 2029, King’s strategic vision for the next 12 years to 2029, which will be the 200th anniversary of the founding of the university. For further information about King’s, please visit the King’s in Brief web pages.

 

The Endocrine Society

Endocrinologists are at the core of solving the most pressing health problems of our time, from diabetes and obesity to infertility, bone health, and hormone-related cancers. The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest and largest organization of scientists devoted to hormone research and physicians who care for people with hormone-related conditions.

The Society has more than 18,000 members, including scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in 122 countries. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at www.endocrine.org. Follow us on Twitter at @TheEndoSociety and @EndoMedia.


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