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Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Your Health Resources

Obesity + Type 2 Diabetes = 'Diabesity'

April 08, 2019

My teen daughter is alarmingly overweight. Is she at risk for developing diabetes?

“Being overweight or obese definitely increases her risk for developing Type 2 diabetes,” says Tara Ramsay, M.D., F.A.A.P., a board-certified Pediatrics physician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

“Whereas Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body can’t make insulin, Type 2 diabetes, especially with teens, is often related to an unhealthy weight and occurs when the body can’t use insulin properly.”

Dr. Ramsay says Type 2, formerly considered adult-onset diabetes, has been diagnosed among children and adolescents with increasing frequency – especially if they are overweight.

“There’s a new term for this condition. It’s called ‘diabesity,’ which refers to Type 2 diabetes brought on by obesity,” she says. “Lifestyle adjustments and medications can help manage diabesity.”

To reduce the risk of developing diabesity, Dr. Ramsay recommends:

  • Eating healthy, portion-controlled meals and limiting “fast foods” to once a week without “supersizing.”
  • Making high-fiber food choices that include whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Making water and low-fat milk the main drinks for kids and teens.
  • Being physically active 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week.
  • Limiting TV and video games to less than two hours a day.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight range.
  • Having regular pediatric exams that may include testing blood-glucose levels if the doctor suspects the need.

“Please remember that a pediatrician remains your best source of information about medical options and lifestyle strategies to help young people manage or avoid diabesity,” concludes Dr. Ramsay, who is accepting new pediatric patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Pasadena Clinic.

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