3-Year-Old Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes; What This Means For Humanity

Credit: US News

For the first time in history, man’s lifespan is likely to be shortened by self-created illnesses.

Supermarkets overflowing with processed, highly refined ‘junk food’, fast food restaurants on every corner serving preservative-laden, high-sodium offerings, and drinks comprised of nothing more than artificial colorings and refined sugar make the bulk of the standard American’s diet. Never has such a diet been proven to be healthful, and in fact, it’s becoming very clear how detrimental it is to the human body.

As Healthline reports, 29.1 million people in the United States alone have been diagnosed with Diabetes, and 8.1 million more are likely unaware of their condition. Largely self-created by dietary choices high in trans fat and refined sugars, the trend is not decreasing, and is actually on the rise.

People are being diagnosed with Type II diabetes younger and younger, and recently, a three-year-old girl from Houston, Texas was found to have already developed the disease.  The 70-pound tot was already obese when she received the diagnosis, and is so far believed to be the youngest patient ever to develop the illness. 

Type II diabetes is usually associated with middle-age adults who have poor dietary and lifestyle habits. While genetic predisposition does play a role in the likelihood of an individual developing Diabetes in their lifetime, it is well-accepted that food choices and exercise play a major role in warding off the disease or welcoming it.

In fact, it was found that those who adopt a predominantly unprocessed, plant-based diet have a 60% reduced risk of developing the disease than those on the Standard American diet (SAD).

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, a diagnosis at such a young age is rare indeed, but the unfortunate trend is increasing. Usually, if a young individual is diagnosed with diabetes, it is Type I, which is caused by the immune system attacking cells responsible for controlling blood sugar.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the 77-pound toddler was diagnosed with adult-onset Diabetes at the University of Texas Health Science Center. The director of pediatric endocrinology, Michael Yafi, presented details of the case at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Stockholm.

Doctors aren’t certain if the child is the youngest person ever to develop Type II Diabetes due to the lack of global registry, but it is the youngest case they are aware of.

Yafi told Reuters:

“I’m sure there probably are others but they are either undiagnosed or not reported yet. The incidence of type 2 diabetes [another name of adult-onset diabetes] has increased dramatically worldwide in children due to the epidemic of child obesity. 

The child’s symptoms tipped doctors off, as she was exhibiting classical Type II diabetes symptoms such as  excessive thirst and urination. Being 77 pounds at 3 years of age, her weight and body-mass index also put her in the top 5% of children her age. Finally, after testing negative for antibodies that signal Type 1, it was determined she had Type II diabetes.

The toddler and her family were found to have “poor nutritional habits”, as their diets were high in fat and calories. 

Credit: StopChildhoodObesity.com
Credit: StopChildhoodObesity.com

The story doesn’t end there, however. Dr. Yafi worked with the toddler and her family and was able to help her lose weight and begin to reverse the illness. Reportedly, after six months, she began to lose weight and started talking liquid Metformin, her treatment was able to be halted completely.

Yafi is urging clinics to be more aware of the possibility of Type II diabetes, “even in very young obese children.” 

As has been reported multiple times, childhood obesity is a serious concern. Approximately 17% of schoolchildren aged 7 – 19 are obese, and this sets them up for a lifetime of health complications and/or confidence issues. Not only that, being overweight is usually a clear indicator of one’s likelihood to develop diseases of affluence later on in life; it’s not about fat-shaming, it’s just plain unhealthy.

Families and adults need to take action today by choosing to include more unprocessed, plant-based foods to their diets as possible and minimize processed, refined ‘junk’ food from the household. If transition to healthier living is done as a family, the support can help everyone succeed. 

Such a venture needn’t be daunting. There are plenty of delicious, healthy recipes you can make for yourself and your family, and lots of online communities and forums where you can find all the answers you seek.

It is up to every individual to “be the change” and serve as a positive role model for young ones in their life, or else this may not be the first case of a toddler developing such an ugly disease.

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