The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expressed concern on Monday as it released figures that show a significant portion of young Americans are at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
According to CDC findings, 1 in 4 young adults aged 19-34 and 1 in 5 adolescents aged 12-18 suffer from prediabetes. Those with prediabetes have elevated blood sugar levels, but have not reached the threshold to be considered diabetic.
The report from the CDC stated that overweight young people were significantly more likely to have prediabetes. The report found that 25.7% of overweight adolescents had elevated blood sugar levels, compared to 16.4 of adolescents of normal weight. Those figures were even pronounced among young adults. 36.6% of overweight young adults were prediabetic compared to 16.6% of young adults with a normal weight.
“The prevalence of prediabetes in adolescents and young adults reinforces the critical need for effective public health strategies that promote healthy eating habits, physical activity, and stress management,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “These lifestyle behaviors can begin early in a child’s life and should continue through adolescence and adulthood to reduce onset of type 2 diabetes.”
The CDC expressed concerns that young Americans with prediabetes face significantly higher cholesterol levels, systolic blood pressure, abdominal fat and lower insulin sensitivity than those with normal glucose tolerance, which increased their risk of type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases.
All told, 1 in 3 American adults are prediabetic. Another 1 in 4 adult American are diabetic anddo not know it.
The CDC says that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active.
In the last 20 years, the number of adults in the US with diabetes have doubled, according to CDC figures.
Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs or on Facebook .