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Students in Johnson County face a very real risk of developing diabetes. One of the leading risk factors leading to type 2 diabetes is being overweight, coupled with a lack of physical activity. According to the Sycamore Institute, almost 40 percent of Johnson County students are overweight.

In fact, Type 2 Diabetes, in which the body does not process insulin properly, has a relevant link to obesity. Among young people, the disease is expected to surge more rapidly, with an increase of as much as 700 percent in the next four decades, according to a recent report released in Diabetes Care, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) journal.

“Increases in diabetes—especially among young people—are always worrisome, but these numbers are alarming,” said Christopher Holliday, Ph.D., MPH, MA, FACHE, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation.

Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure and blindness in the United States. According to researchers, the disease may progress faster in youths, requiring more medical care. The importance of educating young ones on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes took center stage in the study.

In the recent release, CDC Acting Principal Deputy Director Debra Houry, MD, MPH, warned, “The new research should serve as a wake-up call for all of us. It’s vital that we focus our efforts to ensure all Americans, especially our young people, are the healthiest they can be.”

Not surprisingly, the pandemic did not fail to add to the problem. Houry added, “The COVID-19 pandemic underscored how critically important it is to address chronic diseases like diabetes. This study further highlights the importance of continuing efforts to prevent and manage chronic diseases, not only for our current population but also for generations to come.”

In an effort to help slow the future surge, the ADA has compiled a website on how to prevent type 2 diabetes. Suggestions include maintaining a healthy weight, becoming more physically active, and making healthier food choices.

Researchers are actively investigating ways of preventing type 1 diabetes, and studies in adults have identified steps that can be taken to reduce the risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

To learn more about diabetes and how to prevent type 2 diabetes, visit https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevent-type-2.

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