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During the 81st Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), a poster session during the virtual conference in June 2021 found that there was an increase in incidence and acuity of pediatric type 2 diabetes in the peak months of the pandemic. The time frame was March to December 2020 compared to the same months in 2019. 

From the start of the shutdown in mid-March 2020, many day-to-day changes in lifestyle exacerbated the risk for type 2 diabetes, such as: decreased physical activity, increased screen time, increased sedentary behaviors, disturbed sleep, and increased intake of processed food. The study stated that “more than one in four Americans with diabetes reported the pandemic disrupted their ability to obtain healthy food”.

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The study compared the number and acuity of hospitalizations from March-December 2019 and then the same months in 2020 at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, LA. The data showed that the hospitalization rate for new-onset type 2 diabetes was 0.62% in 2020 compared to 0.27% in 2019. The children admitted in 2020 had more severe diabetes with higher blood glucose, higher A1c, and higher indicators of dehydrations compared to 2019. In 2020 there were 8 cases of diabetes ketoacidosis and 2 cases of hyperosmolar hyperglycemic syndrome compared to 3 and 0 respectively.

Associate Professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA and lead author of the study stated, “While our study examined hospital admissions for type 2 diabetes in children at one center, the results may be a microcosm of what is happening at other children’s hospitals across the country. Unfortunately, COVID-19 disrupted our lives in more ways than we realize. Our study reinforces the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for children even under such difficult circumstances.”

Source: diabetes.org

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