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New Study Suggests Diabetes is Four Times More Common Among Chinese Teenagers than American Teens

Published: 9/20/12
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A new study from the University of North Carolina and the Chinese Center for Disease Control (CCDC) has found that diabetes is four times more common among Chinese teenagers (1.9%) than it is among their American counterparts (0.5%). This is despite the fact that, according to the researchers, type 1 diabetes is virtually unknown among East Asian youth. Although prediabetes remains much more common in American children (20%) than it does for Chinese children (8.4%), and the overall prevalence of diabetes in China (6.9%) is actually lower than that of the United States (9.3%), Hong Kong (9.8%), and South Korea (8.1%), the relatively high incidence of diabetes among China’s youth may point to a serious national health problem down the road for the world’s most populous nation. Worse yet, obesity and prediabetes appear to be significantly more common among Chinese children ages 7-11 than for adolescents ages 12-18, suggesting the country’s youth diabetes crisis is skewed quite young and getting worse.–AW

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