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Have Diabetes Rates Among Teens Really Tripled?

ladytaz, Flickr

Health experts have been buzzing this week after a new study seemed to show a dramatic rise in the number of teenagers who have diabetes or are at risk for developing it. But are the research findings really cause for alarm?

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of more than 3,000 individuals revealed that although obesity levels among kids between 12 and 19 years old have leveled off, the percentage of teenagers testing positive for diabetes and pre-diabetes almost tripled in less than a decade, going from 9 percent in 2000 to 23 percent in 2008.

Those numbers are certainly startling, but doctors say they may not tell the whole story. The kids in the study were only given one test, and it didn’t account for the last time they ate or whether or not they were going through puberty, which by itself increases insulin resistance.

“Nationwide, this is the best sampling of youth to inform us about cardiovascular risk factors,” said Dr. Lori Laffel of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, but she added further studies are needed in order to give true credence to the results.

[The New York Times]

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