Obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus in adolescents: What is new?

Tamara S. Hannon, Silva A. Arslanian

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Purpose of review: Obesity is strongly associated with insulin resistance which, when coupled with insulin deficiency, leads to the development of type 2 diabetes. The increasing prevalence of obesity has been associated with the incidence of type 2 diabetes among adolescents over the past two decades. The purpose of this review is to outline (1) recent scientific findings with regard to the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes in youth, (2) strategies for identifying those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and (3) guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of overweight adolescents with type 2 diabetes. Recent findings: Basic science and clinical research studies, applicable to advance our knowledge of the mechanisms contributing to insulin resistance, pancreatic β-cell dysfunction, and the heritability of these conditions are highlighted. Data with regard to outcomes of treatment with medical therapy in adolescents with type 2 diabetes are scarce. Scientific knowledge is expected to advance as more research focuses on prevention and treatment methods for type 2 diabetes in young people. Summary: Significant advances have been made in our understanding of the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes in adolescents. More research is needed, however, to improve our knowledge of the disease's progression and its complications in youth. This will allow the development of the most efficacious treatment strategies. Healthcare professionals should screen adolescents at risk for type 2 diabetes, diagnose the condition expediently, and provide management of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Endocrinology and Diabetes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Impaired glucose tolerance
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • Pancreatic β-cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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