When David "Boomer" Wells was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2007, it wasn't surprising that the heavy-drinking, big-bellied pitcher would be having trouble with his metabolic health. In 1998, 18 years after retiring from basketball, when the 6 feet, 3 inch Hall of Famer Earl "The Pearl" Monroe was diagnosed, it confirmed just how hard it is to stay healthy when you go from superactive to retired. Those guys were 44 (Wells) and 54 (Monroe) when they were diagnosed, and that's about standard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that out of the 1.5 million new cases of Type 2 diagnosed in the U.S. annually, about half those folks are 45 to 64.
But research published in Diabetologia says it's possible to ID signs of Type 2 diabetes in kids as young as 8 years old, even though it won't become full-blown adult diabetes for 30 or more years! It seems a combination of genetic traits and markers, such as low levels of good HDL cholesterol (at age 8) and increased levels of inflammatory markers called glycoprotein acetyls (at age 16) are reliable indicators.
These "tells" happen because of genetics, lack of exercise and overweight/obesity. Luckily, they aren't the last word in your child's health.
If diabetes runs in your family or your child is overweight, ask your doc about getting your child's HDL level checked (it falls before lousy LDL rises). Make sure kids ages 5-17 get at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily and eat a plant-centered, whole-food diet.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.