Teens and Type II Diabetes

Author: Shannon Miller

Type 2 Diabetes - a risk for teens

More teens have Type II diabetes now than they ever did before.

With Type II diabetes, insulin or pills may need to be taken in order for the body’s insulin to work properly. 

Your teen may be at risk for Type II Diabetes if they…

  • are overweight.
  • are not getting enough physical activity.
  • have a parent or close relative who has Type II Diabetes.
  • are American Indian, Alaska Native, African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.

Warning signs for Type II Diabetes include:

  • Urinating a lot
  • Being very thirsty
  • Losing weight for no known reason
  • Feeling tired
  • Having patches of thick, dark skin on the neck or under the arms

Your teen is most likely a very busy individual, so they may not even notice these changes.  That’s why it’s important to keep an open dialogue how health within your family and to get regular check-ups at the doctor.

The good news is that your teen can lower their risk of getting Type II Diabetes by:

  • Staying at a healthy weight, which really feeds into the next 2 points…
  • Being physically active.  If your teen isn’t one to play sports or do physical activity, encourage them to find an activity that they enjoy and can stick with.
  • Eating the right amounts of healthy foods on a daily basis: vegetables (2.5 to 3 cups); fruits (1.5 to 2 cups); meat, fish, poultry, dry beans, eggs, and nuts (5-6 ounces); milk, yogurt, and cheese (3 cups); breads, cereals, rice, and pasta (6-7 ounces).  Make eating healthy a family priority, rather than just an individual one.

TIP:  Help your teen make healthy lifestyle choices this week! 

Source:  “Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes.”,  National Institutes of Health’s National Diabetes Education Program.  

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