A toddler diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, usually considered adult-onset, became the focus of a medical case study and an example of how lifestyle choices like poor nutrition and lack of exercise can contribute to a serious health condition.
Dr. Michael Yafi, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center, presented the unusual case at an international diabetes conference in Sweden this week, Medical Daily reported.
Yafi said the 3-year-old Hispanic girl was one of the youngest people ever to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The little girl was 77 pounds and had a body mass index in the top 5 percent of other children her age, and she was referred to the endocrinology clinic to determine whether or not she was obese, the doctor said.
The doctors diagnosed the toddler with the type of diabetes that typically doesn't show up until later in life. The BBC reported that only 2 percent of children
in the United Kingdom have Type 2 diabetes, and the few who do are between 5 and 9 years of age.
In examining the cause of the girl's condition, MD said Yafi pointed to "poor family nutritional habits with uncontrolled counting of calories and fat.”
Although Type 2 diabetes, which can often be controlled through lifestyle changes, used to be considered an adult-onset illness, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
found that between 2001 and 2009, the cases of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes jumped in children aged 10 to 19. Type 2 cases increased 30.5 percent during that time span.
Yafi's team put the little girl in their care on a diabetes drug, and then worked with her family to improve their overall diet and to work on becoming more active, MD said. In just six months, the obese toddler was at 75 percent of her original weight, her medical tests showed no abnormalities indicating diabetes, and she was able to be taken off the drug.
"Reversal of type 2 diabetes in children is possible by early screening of obese children, early diagnosis, appropriate therapy and lifestyle modification," Yafi said, according to MD.
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