Epidemiology of childhood type 2 diabetes and obesity Academic Article uri icon


  • Over the last decade, it has become apparent that type 2 diabetes extends not only into the young adult population but is also found in adolescents and even, occasionally, in children. The limited data that are currently available present a rather uncertain picture, with a rather wide range of prevalences and incidences of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. Not surprisingly, the majority of the cases, and the highest prevalences, have been found among ethnic groups known to be at high risk of adult type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, even in European populations, where the prevalence of type 2 diabetes remains very low among children and adolescents and certainly is considerably smaller than type 1 diabetes, there are several cases reported. The risk factors for type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents are, as expected, similar to those seen in adults, with obesity being almost always present. In utero exposure to hyperglycemia now appears to be an additional risk factor to having a family history of diabetes and suggests that better management of diabetes in pregnancy and prevention of gestational diabetes may reduce the risk of diabetes developing in the offspring.

publication date

  • December 2007