A three-year-old girl in the US is thought to have become the youngest person ever to be diagnosed with type-2 diabetes.
Doctors say an “uncontrolled” calorie intake and “poor” family diet led to the girl weighting 5st 7lb, raising concerns about childhood obesity.
Dr Michael Yafi, from the department of paediatric endocrinology at the University of Texas, was among the first specialists to see the child, who was suffering from excessive thirst and urination.
Dr Yafi said: “Based on symptoms, physical findings of obesity and laboratory results, the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes was made.”
Experts who reviewed the girl’s diet found “poor family nutritional habits with uncontrolled counting of calories and fat”.
Although both her parents were obese, there was no family history of diabetes.
The girl was given a liquid version of the diabetes drug metformin to control her blood sugar levels and her parents were educated on obesity and a healthy diet.
Six months after diagnosis, the girl was at 75 per cent of the weight she had been when she first attended the clinic, and her blood sugar levels had fallen within the normal range.
The case is being presented at the European Association of the Study of Diabetes conference in Stockholm.
Type 2 diabetes is often associated with obesity and tends to be diagnosed in older people. Only 2 per cent of children with diabetes in the UK have type-2. The youngest patients on record are aged between five and nine.
The most common type of childhood diabetes is type-1, a condition unrelated to lifestyle where the pancreas does not produce any insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar.
Type-2 diabetes is increasing globally driven by rising obesity rates. Around 1 in 16 people in the UK has diabetes and this figure is rising rapidly.
Dr Yafi said: “Reversal of Type 2 diabetes in children is possible by early screening of obese children, early diagnosis, appropriate therapy and lifestyle modification.”
Additional reporting by Associated PressReuse content