For the first time in its history, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidelines for the management of type 2 diabetes in children and teenagers ages 10 to 18. Recommendations include treatments that go beyond lifestyle changes, including prescribing Metformin, and to better help family physicians distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In the past, pediatricians mostly saw children with type 1 diabetes, which has a different cause and a different management regimen than type 2 diabetes. However, due largely to the rise in childhood obesity, as many as one in three children diagnosed with diabetes today has type 2.
According to Dr. Janet Silverstein, division chief of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Florida and a co-author of the guidelines, “There has been an increase in overweight and obesity in children and adolescents, with more type 2 diabetes in that population, making it important for general pediatricians, as well as endocrinologists to have structured guidelines to follow.”
The CDC expects the problem to worsen; one CDC report suggests that 17% of U.S. residents under the age of 20—about 12.5 million residents overall—are obese and at an increased risk of developing the disease (Linebaugh, Wall Street Journal, 1/28; AAP Type 2 treatment guidelines, 1/28).
The new guidelines were published online on January 28, 2013, and in the February print issue of Pediatrics. You can read more about the guidelines online.