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Merck Manuals Shares What Parents Need to Know About Adolescent Prediabetes

KENILWORTH, N.J., Oct. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, nearly one in five adolescents are living with prediabetes. Prediabetes is a critical warning sign in children at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is a disorder in which blood sugar (glucose) levels are abnormally high because the body does not produce enough insulin or fails to respond normally to the insulin it does produce.

In a new editorial on, Andrew Calabria, MD, details the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as well as provides parents with important information about prediabetes. Dr. Calabria is Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Perelman School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania and a pediatric endocrinologist and Clinical Director of the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

In the editorial, Dr. Calabria offers five key takeaways for parents in preventing and potentially reversing prediabetes.

1. Prediabetes is Reversible

Prediabetes can be prevented and reversed. However, the lifestyle changes – including weight loss – are often challenging for kids, especially over the long term.

2. There are Warning Signs for Prediabetes

There are several things parents should be on the lookout for when it comes to detecting prediabetes. Obesity in children is one of the biggest red flags. Also, children of Latino, African American, Native American, and Asian American descent are at increased risk. Additionally, some children may have darker patches of skin around the neck, armpit or groin, a condition known as acanthosis nigricans, that is associated with insulin resistance. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and, for girls, polycystic ovarian syndrome.

3. Family History Plays a Significant Role

In addition to the above warning signs, family history can be a significant predictor. About half of children with prediabetes have a first-degree relative with diabetes, and that percentage climbs to 90 percent when you include grandparents.

4. Healthy Eating is Essential

Here are a few actionable steps parents can encourage to help reduce obesity and the risk of prediabetes in their children:

  • Don’t drink your calories – limit fruit juices, soda and other sugary beverages.
  • Avoid processed foods – opt for fresh, whole foods over fast food and packaged snacks.
  • Limit portion sizes – eat smaller meals and save the leftovers. Review suggestions on
  • Limit snacking between meals – focus on the main meals of the day.
  • Limit eating out at restaurants – avoid the temptation of high-calorie or fried foods. 

5. Routine Physical Activity is More Important than Ever

COVID-19 has disrupted our daily routines in so many ways. To prevent and reverse prediabetes, it’s important to help kids establish healthy physical activity routines throughout the day.

You can read more about prediabetes in adolescents in Dr. Calabria’s editorial on

About The Merck Manuals and MSD Manuals

First published in 1899 as a small reference book for physicians and pharmacists, The Merck Manual grew in size and scope to become one of the world’s most widely used comprehensive medical resources for professionals and consumers. As The Manual evolved, it continually expanded the reach and depth of its offerings to reflect the mission of providing the best medical information to a wide cross-section of users, including medical professionals and students, veterinarians and veterinary students, and consumers. In 2015, The Manuals kicked off Global Medical Knowledge 2020, a global initiative with the goal to make the best current medical information accessible by up to three billion professionals and patients around the world by 2020. The Manuals achieved that goal, and today its medical information is available in more than 241 counties and in nearly a dozen languages. It’s continuing its ambitious mission through outreach, education and creating new reliable medical resources. For access to thousands of medical topics with images, videos and a constantly expanding set of resources, visit or and connect with us on social media:
For Consumers in the U.S. and its territories: Twitter and Facebook
For Professionals in the U.S. and its territories: Twitter and Facebook

About Merck

For more than 125 years, Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals – including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases – as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world.  For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

SOURCE The Merck Manuals

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