Childhood obesity leads to adult diabetes, researcher says

COLLEGE STATION, March 12, 2004 - Ranjita Misra really hates having to give parents something new to worry about, but the Texas A&M University health researcher says parents -- especially minority parents -- now need to be concerned about Type 2 or adult-onset diabetes.

"Childhood obesity and diabetes is a very new area. We did not have this problem a few years ago. Consequently, patients, health providers and family members are at a loss as to how to deal with the situation," Misra notes. Both diabetes and obesity among children has reached epidemic proportions as the fast-food restaurants are geared mostly to children and families. However, in recent days, the fast-food industry has made headlines by modifying their menus to be healthier.

One example of the problem she cites is from a colleague who reported the case of an obese five-year-old diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, a disease that previously had a typical age of onset in the early 40s.

"This child cannot understand diabetes or its consequences," she adds.

The longer one has diabetes, the greater the physical damage is causes. Misra says diabetic patients are expected to be aware and educated about good nutrition, physical activity, knowledge of the disease and its complications and disease management mainly through regular blood tests and medications - all difficult things for a young child to comprehend or learn.

Misra, who specializes in minority health disparities, has conducted extensive research on diabetes. In one of her recent publications in the "Journal of the National Black Nurses Association," on Type-II or adult-onset diabetes, she has shown that management of the disease is complex and difficult even for adults. The disease is the fifth-leading cause of death in America with a greater burden among the minority populations. For African-Americans and Latinos/Hispanics, the incidence of the disease is 1.5 and 1.6 times higher than non-Hispan

Contact: Tura King
Texas A&M University

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