Family in the park

Statistical analysis shows that two out of every five children born between 2000 and 2011 are likely to develop type 2 diabetes at some point in their life.

The estimate comes from a group of CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) researchers who used diabetes incidence data from the National Health Interview Survey. Statistical techniques were then applied to model the likelihood of diabetes development within different age and ethnic groups.

Hispanic boys and girls and non-Hispanic back girls have the highest risks of developing type 2 diabetes in future with the lifetime risk for these groups exceeding 50%.

The figures are a stark warning with particular relevance to parents. Rates of type 2 diabetes have been rising steadily year on year. The exact cause, or causes, of type 2 diabetes are still not so well understood. What is known is that obesity is a strong contributory factor. Inactivity and diets that are heavily reliant on processed foods are also strongly associated with increased likelihood of developing the metabolic condition.

The silver lining of the study is that improvements in medications, blood glucose monitoring technology and screening and treatment for diabetes complications have allowed people diagnosed with diabetes to live longer than used to be the case. Life expectancy with diabetes is expected to improve by 2 years for children born between 2000 and 2011 compared with the life expectancy of children and adults born in the 1990s.