Vitamin D deficiency linked to pre-diabetes in children

University of Texas research shows a link between low levels of vitamin D and pre-diabetes in children.

More children than ever are being diagnosed with Type II diabetes primarily because more and more children are overweight and obese.

A new study reported in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services HealthBeat found lower vitamin D levels in obese children than in children whose weight is typical for their age. This research corresponds with other studies that have found that lower levels of vitamin D and calcium may play a role in the development of Type II diabetes in adults.According to Dr. Michelle Hutchison of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, “Those children with the lowest levels of vitamin D in their blood were also the children that seemed to be at the highest risk of having pre-diabetes.”

As explained by the State of Michigan website pre-diabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose level is higher than it should be but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Children who don’t get enough physical activity, are overweight, have a parent or other close relative with Type II diabetes or are American Indian, Alaska Native, African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American or Pacific Islander are at highest risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Research gathered by the State of Michigan estimate that close to a quarter of a million adolescents could have pre-diabetes.

If your child has one or more of these characteristics or has been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, do not despair! For children and adults alike, research has shown that reaching and maintaining a healthy weight will reduce the risk. Equally important are regular physical activity and eating healthy foods. Check out the National Diabetes Prevention Program for helpful tips on maintaining a healthy weight.

For more information on diabetes, visit the National Diabetes Education Program website.

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