According to a new U.S. study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, overweight teenagers who develop diabetes have a much more difficult time managing the condition. The study was funded by the federal government and found that prevention was the only reliable way for heavyset teens to avoid complications from diabetes. Almost 700 subjects participated in the study, all of whom were overweight teenagers recently diagnosed with diabetes.
Managing Diabetes in Teenagers
The study evaluated several different treatment procedures for managing diabetes in teenagers. Although health professionals have implemented a number of strategies for treating diabetes, the new research found most of them to be ineffective. This is particularly concerning, because most of the new medications on the market aren’t even approved for teenagers.Â Dr. Phil Zeitler, a pediatricÂ endocrinologistÂ and researcher with the University of Colorado, stated that the only surefire solution is for teens to avoid developing diabetes in the first place.
[box type=”important”]Diabetes among teenagers has clearly become an epidemic. Before obesity became an epidemic in the United States over the last couple of decades, children and teenagers were rarely diagnosed with diabetes. The number of diabetic children has since increased dramatically and doctors are lost on figuring out how to treat it.[/box]
Metformin for Teenage Diabetics?
The study evaluated subjects who had been treating their diabetes with metformin over the course of four years. Although metformin has been effective for treating diabetes in adults, half of the subjects failed to keep their blood sugar in control after taking metformin pills.
The overall health of the study participants was the biggest concern found in the study. Over 20% of the subjects ended up suffering from some health complication brought on by diabetes. Many of the subjects ended up in the hospital for treatment.
The study emphasized the need for teenagers to exercise more and eat more healthily so they can reduce the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes.Â Dr. David Allen said this is going to require a number of social changes to encourage teenagers to follow the lifestyle they need to minimize the risk.
Research on dietary supplements with potential to reverse insulin resistance and prevent obesity such as raspberry ketones suggests that more studies are still needed before recommendations can be made.