1 in 5 Adolescents and 1 in 4 Young Adults Now Living with Prediabetes: CDC

Atlanta, GA–Nearly 1 in 5 adolescents aged 12-18 years, and 1 in 4 young adults aged 19-34 years, are living with prediabetes, according to a new CDC study published today in JAMA Pediatrics.

Prediabetes is a health condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. The condition also increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke.

Key study findings:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) adolescents (those aged 12-18) and 1 in 4 (24%) young adults (aged 19-34 years) were living with prediabetes.
  • The percentage of adolescents and young adults living with prediabetes was higher in males and participants with obesity.
  • Hispanic young adults had higher rates of prediabetes compared to white young adults.
  • Adolescents and young adults with prediabetes had 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.

What can be done?

Research shows that adults with prediabetes who take part in a structured lifestyle-change program, including weight management and exercise, can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% (71% for people over 60 years old).

Parents can also help turn the tide on prediabetes by encouraging healthy eating and increased physical activity. They can aim for their children to get 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

There are several ways state and local organizations can create a supportive environment to promote healthy weight and help prevent diabetes related to obesity. States and communities can:

  • Support mothers who choose to breastfeed.
  • Work with early care and education centers and schools to improve healthy food and beverage offerings and opportunities for physical activity for children.
  • Increase access to healthy and affordable foods.
  • Make it easier and safer to walk and bike where families live, learn, work, and play.