Lynch said the hormones of puberty, which cause insulin resistance, are likely a main reason for this accelerated progression. Researchers don't know what will happen once the teens are out of puberty.
"We don't know what the progression rates will be," Lynch said. "But we do know that the ages for kidney transplants have been dropping."
Prevention of type 2 diabetes in children is essential, the experts said. "We need to focus on creating good habits rather than trying to reverse bad habits," Lynch said. "The time to start talking is during pregnancy, and it needs to continue in schools."
Chiang agreed that there needs to be a huge push toward educating people about the prevention of diabetes and obesity. "Not all people will be able to prevent diabetes, but there are steps we can take in the right direction, like teaching healthy eating and the importance of physical activity," she said.
Learn more about preventing diabetes in children from the American Diabetes Association.
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