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Diabetes cases surge among Alabama kids during COVID pandemic

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New-onset rates of type 2 diabetes among children in Alabama nearly doubled during the pandemic, according to a study recently published in the scientific journal by the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Researchers found that boys and Medicaid enrollees were at the highest risk of developing disorders that occur when the body doesn’t make enough insulin to control blood sugar.

If not treated properly, type 2 diabetes can cause nerve and blood vessel damage. It can also damage the kidneys and slow wound healing.

Researchers investigated new cases of type 2 diabetes from March 2017 to March 2021. The average number of new cases per month before the start of the pandemic was 11.1. Since April 2020, the average rate of new cases per month has jumped to 19.3, according to the survey.

“There has been a dramatic shift in youth activity and sedentary lifestyles in the spring of 2020. Other studies have shown that adolescent males gain more weight and are more sedentary than females. ,” said Dr. Ambika Ashraf, Director of Pediatrics. UAB Endocrinology and Diabetes in press release.

“However, we do not know whether these short-term changes are directly related to the increase in diagnoses. We also had no information about previous COVID-19 infections in the patients we studied.”

The increase coincided with school closures across Alabama due to COVID-19. While many schools across the state reopened in his fall 2020, others remained closed until spring 2021, including the districts of Birmingham and Selma.

Weight gain may be a risk factor for diabetes, previous research found that the number of overweight or obese children increased during the pandemic.

The researchers say more research is needed to determine what role lifestyle changes played in the increase in diabetes cases. I don’t know if he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Low-income and minority children are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a press release.

Physical activity and healthy foods can help prevent disease, but they can be more difficult to obtain for those with limited resources. Diabetes was being diagnosed more often.

“Existing research already shows a worrisome increase in childhood type 2 diabetes, especially among low-income and ethnic minorities,” she said. “Our results suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a worrying trend.”

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