Significant increase in cases of type 2 diabetes in children during the COVID 19 pandemic:



In a cross-site review of medical records, US researchers observed that the COVID-19 pandemic type 2. duringdiabetes Children and adolescents grew rapidly.


A paper published in the Journal of Pediatrics reports an increase in diagnoses of type 2 diabetes in children. It is not clear whether the viral infection itself was a factor in the increase. The authors noted that homeschooling and skipping sports and school activities as “environmental factors” are likely to increase risk.

Sheila N., associate professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and first author of the paper. Magee said low physical activity and weight gain are risk factors for type 2 diabetes. “During the COVID-19 lockdown, children have been disrupted from their normal daily routine of school, sports and other hobbies,” Magee said. “Not only were they less physically active, they had to stay home and spend more time watching TV, playing video games, or interacting with other electronic devices.”

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the body’s ability to control, use, and process sugar in the body. Without treatment and control, it can lead to heart disease, nerve and kidney damage, blurred vision and other irreversible organ damage. Magee said previous research from other institutions has shown that children with diabetes develop complications more quickly than adults.

77% increase in new diagnoses

For the current study, US scientists compared the rates of new type 2 diabetes in people aged 8 to 21 in the two years before the pandemic (03/01/2018 to 02/29/2020) until the first year of the pandemic. Of. (03/01/2020 to 02/28/2021).

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Researchers identified 3,113 children, adolescents, and young adults aged 8 to 21 from 24 centers in the United States during this period. The average number of new diagnoses per year increased from 825 in the first year of the pandemic to 1,463 in the two years preceding the pandemic, an increase of 77%.

During the pandemic, more boys got type 2 diabetes than girls

In the first year of the pandemic, records showed that more boys (55%) than girls (45%) were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes – a reversal of the percentage in the years before the pandemic. “This was one of the more unusual findings of our study,” commented pediatric endocrinologist Risa Wolf, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the study’s second author. “We typically see more girls than boys with newly developing type 2 diabetes, although it’s not clear why.”

Minorities particularly affected

Compared to rates in previous years, the number of diagnoses in young patients of South American descent nearly doubled in the first year of the epidemic and doubled in younger patients of African descent. In patients of Caucasian (European) origin, investigators observed a reduction in cases.

Type 2 diabetes is already known to disproportionately affect minorities and families with socioeconomic burdens, and the new study shows that such disparities deepen, Magee explained.
Children probably received medical treatment later in the pandemic year
In addition, more young patients were recorded as outpatients in the years before the epidemic (57%) than in the year of the epidemic. More adolescents with the disease were hospitalized in the epidemic year (57%). This indicates that they were already suffering from more severe symptoms at the time of diagnosis.
Overall, the researchers found that 21% of the youth already had an “acute metabolic imbalance,” which was their most severe symptom. vomit, lethargy (apathy), confusion and rapid breathing. Before the pandemic, only 9% of children with new-onset type 2 diabetes had such symptoms. However, since the study evaluated medical records retrospectively, it is possible that some of the information was not complete, the authors qualified.

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“We have to make sure we identify patients early so that we can treat them early and prevent complications,” Wolf stressed.

Wolf also recommends that parents talk to their children’s pediatricians about weight gain. “Now is the time to give kids extra attention to exercise and a healthy diet,” Magee said.

Source: EurekAlert, johns hopkins medicine, Pediatric Journal

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