Certain characteristics prime diabetic kids for dangerous weight gain

Type 1 diabetes already predisposes children for weight gain, but a new study suggests there may be certain factors that speed up this process.

Research published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood found that gender, age and the length of time a child has type 1 diabetes can all influence the development of obesity.

More than 12,000 children studied

For the study, data from 250 diabetes centers in Germany and Austria were collected on 12,774 children with type 1 diabetes.

The researchers found that being female, being younger at the age of diabetes diagnosis, and having diabetes for a longer time were all factors that were linked to a higher body mass index.

Girls who developed diabetes around the age of puberty, between 10 and 15 years old, were more likely to gain extra weight too.

The team also found the use of short-acting insulin medicine to be linked to greater weight gain in girls, while long-acting insulin was linked to weight gain in boys.

Implications

The researchers note that weight gain can be dangerously detrimental for children with type 1 diabetes, as it can worsen symptoms and set children up for a lifetime of other health problems.

“Higher weights can exacerbate the insulin resistance that comes with diabetes. And obesity has some of the same metabolic issues diabetes does, such as adding to risk factors (for heart disease),” Karen Peterson, a researcher in nutrition at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor told Reuter's Health.

Calling obesity in children a "major global health problem," the authors stress the importance of determining which factors contribute most to higher risk of weight gain in type-1 diabetic children.

And while some weight gain during childhood and adolescene is normal, Peterson said, parents should track a child's health closely, emphasizing an overall healthy diet and plenty of exercise.

Source: Reuters Health

Photo credit: Mindy McGregor/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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