Dr. Elyse Watkins, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA
The number of obese children who are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is on the rise. Type 2 DM, which has typically been a disease primarily seen in adults, is now being seen more commonly at an early age in children and adolescents.¹ Initial treatment may include moderate to intense diet, physical activity, and behavioral childhood obesity treatments.² However, are these initial treatments superior to treatment with medications alone? Unfortunately, there are only two medications available which aids in weight loss and the treatment of T2DM in children and adolescents: orlistat and metformin.² Combination treatment therapy for T2DM in children and adolescents has proven to be more effective than monotherapy alone.³
Type 2 DM has typically been a disease seen primarily in adults; however, that trend seems to be changing. More and more children, as well as adolescents, are being diagnosed with T2DM at an alarming rate in primary care.2 Treatment has been aimed at weight-loss, diet, and exercise since a record number of children receiving this diagnosis are overweight or obese. Evidence-based research has demonstrated a correlation between obesity and T2DM.2 Evidence-based research has also demonstrated a correlation between weight-loss and the resolution of T2DM. Losing as little as 10% (10-15 pounds) of one’s body weight has been shown to reverse diabetes, putting it into remission in some studies.4
Howard V. Diet and Exercise vs. Medication Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Obese Children and Adolescents. University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository. 2019; 1(3).
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