The deadly diseases skyrocketing among kids

On Tuesday, I told you that Coca-Cola is facing a lawsuit for deceiving people into thinking their sugary drinks can be part of a healthy diet. But soda isn’t the only culprit in our nation’s addiction to sugar (though it plays a big part). The fact is, there’s far too much sugar in our diets in general. That’s a big part of what inspired me to write my new book, The A-list Diet.

And seeing studies like the one I want to tell you about today just reinforces my determination to help this country get its sugar addiction under control.

The study found that the number of children and adolescents diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has more than doubled in recent years. That increase has occurred at the same time as a dramatic spike in obesity rates and other conditions tied to obesity.

While this may come as a shocker to the medical establishment, it certainly comes as no surprise to the rest of us. Diabetes and obesity go hand in hand. But as I’ve said before, we’ve eaten our way into this epidemic, and we can eat our way back out of it. That’s where the A-list Diet comes in (you can find out more — and pre-order your copy today — by clicking here.)

According to the researchers, prevalence varied by state. But there did appear to be a relationship between obesity and pediatric diabetes, they said. They came to this determination after looking at a database including information from more than 21 billion health insurance claims for people between the ages of 0 and 22.

The data showed that claims for people in this age group with type 2 diabetes rose 109 percent. Claims for kids with prediabetes increased 110 percent between 2011 and 2015.

During the same period, claims for obese patients obesity rose too. While they rose across the board, the size of the increase varied among different age groups. Kids between the ages of 3 and five saw the smallest increase — though it was still a hefty 45 percent. The largest jump, 154 percent, occurred among 19- to 22-year-olds.

Take a minute and really let that sink in…The smallest increase was almost 50 percent. And that was among preschoolers! This is absolutely alarming information.

Especially when you consider what it will mean to the health of our next generation, and to the cost of running our already struggling healthcare system.

Of course, this group of researchers is coming under fire because its findings are in conflict with some other groups like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC reports that obesity and diabetes are starting to settle down and stabilize. But you can’t argue with insurance claims. The CDC, on the other hand, gets its information from surveys and interviews, which are notoriously unreliable.

Plus, the truth is probably even worse than it appears, since this study looked only at those holding private insurance. It didn’t account for those on Medicaid, who typically have higher-than-average rates of obesity. Nor does it look at people without any health insurance — another group that tends to be plagued by obesity and diabetes.

No matter whose statistics you believe, the rates are still extremely high…and getting worse in certain groups, particularly late teenagers/young adults. And to make matters worse, the number of patients with severe obesity (BMI > 99th percentile) continues to climb at an alarming rate.

As if diabetes weren’t bad enough in our pediatric population, other obesity-related conditions are also appear to be on the rise. Claims for hypertension increased 67 percent in high schoolers. What kind of nonsense is that? When did you ever hear of kids needing to be on blood pressure medications?

But another obesity-related condition, obstructive sleep apnea, holds first place for the biggest increase in claims, rising 161 percent during the study period.

I don’t know about you, but when I read this, one thing is clear to me: We have got to get serious about obesity…and diabetes…and diet…and exercise.

If we don’t, the next generation is going to pay dearly — in more ways than one.