Friday, 26 September 2008


Not a single day goes by that we don’t hear warnings about childhood obesity rates soaring causing type 2 diabetes to an ever increasing number of children among other ailments.

Type 2 diabetes having been up to recently qualified as a middle-age and old-age disease, we were most intrigued with what many now call the modern day epidemic and the number of children afflicted by it, so we decided to investigate past the scary headlines.

As often is the case with the obesity issue, before going on a long journey on the world wide web, we first paid a visit to Sandy Szwarc’s health blog to verify if she had written anything on the issue lately and as we have learnt to expect, she in fact has done a thorough investigation and what she discovered doesn’t surprise us in the least.

Some highlights from her article linked at the bottom of the page.

- Type 2 diabetes is said to have alarmingly increased among children and adolescents because rates of overweight and obesity have tripled in the past two decades. But after twenty years, has anyone actually checked to see if this is really true? Is there really an epidemic of childhood diabetes? (…) Incredibly, virtually no one has.

- The importance of this childhood diabetes claim and the massive federal, state and local funds being spent to address it, make it even more incredible that no one has done a simple fact check to see if is even true.

- (…) “despite significant increases in prevalence rates of childhood obesity in the United States during the past two decades,” the medical literature shows that rates of type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents at the population level have remained steady. There is no epidemic of childhood diabetes, or any measurable change at all.

- Here’s the 'epidemic' of type 2 diabetes among America’s youth:
Over the past two decades, the estimated prevalence of type 2 diabetes among U.S. teens has been:
0.12% — 0.15% — 0.12% — 0.04%.
Estimates among children as a whole (age 0-19 years) are lower, 0.02%.

- There is no epidemic of diabetes destroying the lives of children. There’s not even a hint of an impending epidemic in the population data.

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