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Diabetes Tops Child Obesity's Health Risks

Children who weigh too much face a broad array of health problems, with type 2 diabetes leading the list.

Closely linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes was once so rare among children that it was called adult onset diabetes. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics executive committee on endocrinology, and physicians nationwide, health professionals are seeing many 12- and 13-year-olds with type 2 diabetes.

Doctors estimate that half of overweight kids will grow up to be overweight adults. Once they've been heavy for many years, experts say, they're at risk for diseases that doctors usually see in people in their 60s, 70s and 80s. 

The average age of kids being treated in obesity clinics is about 12. When these kids grow up and into their most productive years, many of them will be on disability from their diabetes and the many diseases that accompany diabetes, the American Obesity Association says.

 Childhood ailments linked with obesity:

  • Diabetes

  • High cholesterol and other blood fats

  • High blood pressure

  • Gallbladder disease

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

  • Kidney failure from diabetes

  • Blindness as a result of diabetes or other obesity-related illnesses

  • Orthopedic difficulties

  • Psychological problems

  • Social problems

  • Obstructive sleep apnea