Health Advice



Improving the lives of adolescents with prediabetes

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

The classic '90s sitcom "Boy Meets World" traces the follies and confusions of a young middle-schooler, Corey Matthews (Ben Savage), as he grows from an awkward kid into a teenager and finally a married man. Many kids today deal with the same challenges that Corey did, but they also have to contend with prediabetes. That makes them vulnerable to early-onset diabetes and all its complications, including heart disease, kidney problems and more.

According to a new study in JAMA Pediatrics, the number of kids aged 12 to 19 who have prediabetes has increased from 11.6% in 1999-2002 to 28.2% in 2015-2018. What accounts for this disturbing trend? There's the evermore availability of blood-sugar-raising fast and processed foods that contain added sugars, syrups and "stripped" carbs. Also, in 1999, only about 18% of kids in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were obese. Today it's 40%. And more than twice the number of kids aged 12 to 19 experience food insecurity today. That means their nutrition is far from optimal. We also know that only about 25% of teens get the minimum recommended daily physical activity of at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activity every day.

The good news is prediabetes is reversible. So have your child's glucose level checked; and if it's elevated or your child is overweight, ask your doctor for help finding an appropriate weight management and exercise program. Make it a family mission to aim for better health now.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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