The number of teens in the U.S. with diabetes or prediabetes has skyrocketed in the last decade, jumping from 9 to 23 percent, new data finds.
Other cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure and bad cholesterol, were stable during that period, but remain relatively high.
"This has serious long-term public health implications for this country," said Dr. Vivian Fonseca, president of medicine and science with the American Diabetes Association, who was not involved in the research. "We're likely to see a lot of people get diabetes and have cardiovascular events at a relatively young age over the next 10 to 20 years."
The new data, published online in the journal Pediatrics Monday, includes nearly 3,400 children ages 12 to 19 from the Centers for Disease Control's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, designed to track the health and nutrition of Americans.
The percent of overweight and obese teens did not change significantly from 1999 through 2008, hovering around the current estimate of 34 percent. The prevalence of prehypertension and high blood pressure also stayed relatively stable, at around 14 percent, as did high levels of LDL or "bad" cholesterol, at 22 percent. Low levels of HDL or "good" cholesterol stayed at about 6 percent.
However, the prevalence of prediabetes and diabetes jumped significantly, from 9 percent of teens in 1999-2000 to 23 percent in 2007-2008.