Type 2 diabetes mellitus in children and adolescents

World J Diabetes. 2013 Dec 15;4(6):270-81. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v4.i6.270.


Type 2 diabetes mellitus is emerging as a new clinical problem within pediatric practice. Recent reports indicate an increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in children and adolescents around the world in all ethnicities, even if the prevalence of obesity is not increasing any more. The majority of young people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus was found in specific ethnic subgroups such as African-American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islanders and American Indians. Clinicians should be aware of the frequent mild or asymptomatic manifestation of type 2 diabetes mellitus in childhood. Therefore, a screening seems meaningful especially in high risk groups such as children and adolescents with obesity, relatives with type 2 diabetes mellitus, and clinical features of insulin resistance (hypertension, dyslipidemia, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or acanthosis nigricans). Treatment of choice is lifestyle intervention followed by pharmacological treatment (e.g., metformin). New drugs such as dipeptidyl peptidase inhibitors or glucagon like peptide 1 mimetics are in the pipeline for treatment of youth with type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, recent reports indicate a high dropout of the medical care system of adolescents with type 2 diabetes mellitus suggesting that management of children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes mellitus requires some remodeling of current healthcare practices.

Keywords: Children; Clinical manifestation; Comorbidity; Screening; Treatment; Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Review