Until recently, the common type of diabetes in children and teens was type 1. It was called juvenile diabetes. With Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose,or sugar, get into your cells to give them energy. Without insulin, too much sugar stays in the blood.
Now younger people are also getting type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes. But now it is becoming more common in children and teens, due to more obesity. With Type 2 diabetes, the body does not make or use insulin well.
Children have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes if they are overweight or have obesity, have a family history of diabetes, or are not active. Children who are African American, Hispanic, Native American/Alaska Native, Asian American, or Pacific Islander also have a higher risk. To lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in children:
- Have them maintain a healthy weight
- Be sure they are physically active
- Have them eat smaller portions of healthy foods
- Limit time with the TV, computer, and video
Children and teens with type 1 diabetes may need to take insulin. Type 2 diabetes may be controlled with diet and exercise. If not, patients will need to take oral diabetes medicines or insulin. A blood test called the A1C can check on how you are managing your diabetes.
Diagnosis and Tests
- A1C: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Diabetes Tests and Diagnosis (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in Spanish
- Ketones in Blood (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Ketones in Urine (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Carbohydrates and Diabetes (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Diabetes -- Know When to Go to the ER (American College of Emergency Physicians)
- Managing Blood Sugars When Your Child Has Type 1 Diabetes (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Meal Plans and Diabetes (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Acanthosis Nigricans (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Managing Diabetes at School (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Monogenic Forms of Diabetes: Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus and Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
Statistics and Research
- Two Diabetes Medications Don't Slow Progression of Type 2 Diabetes in Youth (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Diabetes in Children and Teens (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Prenatal cocaine exposure and its influence on pediatric epigenetic clocks and...
- Article: The Reporting Quality of Machine Learning Studies on Pediatric Diabetes Mellitus:...
- Article: Time trend and costs of hospitalizations with diabetes mellitus as main...
- Diabetes in Children and Teens -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- American Diabetes Association
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- NIDDK Information Clearinghouses and Health Information Center (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
- Eagle Books: Native Diabetes Wellness Program (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)