Diabetes Rates Are Increasing Among Youth

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While most children and young adults with diabetes have type 1, soaring obesity rates are making type 2 diabetes, a disease that used to be seen primarily in adults over age 45, more common among young people. To help young people diagnosed with diabetes and their parents, the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) is introducing a new series of tip sheets and an online quiz specially created for teens to help them manage their disease and reduce their risk for complications. NDEP is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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About 154,000 youth under age 20 have diabetes in the United States. According to data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2006, one in 523 people younger than age 20 has diabetes. Among this group, 79 percent are aged 10 to 19 years.

NDEP's new Tips for Teens with Diabetes series, which encourages youth to take steps to manage their disease for a long, healthy life, includes topics such as What is Diabetes?, Be Active, Make Healthy Food Choices, Stay at a Healthy Weight, and Dealing with the Ups and Downs of Diabetes. NDEP also has a tip sheet addressing teens at risk for type 2 diabetes, called Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes. In addition, NDEP has developed an interactive online quiz for teens with diabetes based on information found in the tip sheets, using a question-and-answer format, with direct links to the new series of tip sheets. All of the tip sheets are available at no charge from the NDEP.

The release of NDEP's new educational materials for teens and their parents coincides with National Diabetes Awareness Month in November. The new tools also support the 2007 World Diabetes Day campaign theme "Diabetes in Children and Adolescents," which raises awareness of the rising prevalence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes among youth around the world. World Diabetes Day, November 14, is sponsored by the International Diabetes Federation.

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