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A Threat To Kidneys, Life

Author: Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press
Source: USA Today, Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Type 2 Diabetes Riskier For Obese Kids Than Adults, Study Suggests

Chicago – Children who develop obesity-related diabetes face a much higher risk of kidney failure and death by middle age than people who develop diabetes as adults, a study suggests.

The study offers some of the first strong evidence of the consequences of the nation’s growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes in children, says William Knowler, a co-author and researcher with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The research also lends support to warnings that diabetes and other obesity-related ailments are on the verge of shortening average life spans in the USA.

The study involved Pima Indians in Arizona, who have disproportionately high rates of diabetes and obesity. They may be “the tip of the iceberg-letting us know what’s in the future for the rest of America if we don’t do something about the childhood obesity epidemic,” says David Ludwig, director of Children’s Hospital Boston’s obesity program. He was not involved in the research.

The study appears in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

It involved a group of Indians whom National Institutes of Health researchers have been tracking since of 1965. Of the 1,865 participants with type 2 diabetes, 96 developed it in childhood. The average age was 17.

During at least 15 years of follow-up, 15, or 16%, of those with childhood-onset type 2 diabetes developed end-stage kidney failure or died from diabetic kidney disease by age 55. That compared with 133, or 8%, of those who developed diabetes after age 20.

The researchers calculated that the incidence of end-stage kidney failure and death by age 55 was nearly five times higher in people who developed type 2 diabetes before age 20 that in those who developed diabetes during their adulthood.