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News Release
Experts predict that by 2060, the number of children with diabetes could more than double.
Experts predict that by 2060, the number of children with diabetes could more than double.
INTERVIEWS: Children with Type 2 Diabetes Surging (Photo) - 11/15/23

PORTLAND, Ore. (Nov. 15, 2023): November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and with a surge in Type 2 diabetes diagnoses in younger populations across America, doctors at Kaiser Permanente Northwest are urging parents to take a proactive approach to educate and prevent diabetes in children.

In just the last two decades, the rate of Type 2 diabetes diagnoses among children has risen alarmingly, according to research by the Centers for Disease Control. Experts predict that by 2060, the number of children with diabetes could more than double. It's crucial for parents and children to be informed and take preventative measures.

First, know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes:

  • Type 1 Diabetes is often diagnosed in childhood or adolescence. This autoimmune disease occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. People with Type 1 diabetes require daily insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump to manage their blood sugar levels.
  • Type 2 Diabetes is traditionally considered an adult disease because it primarily develops in adults due to lifestyle factors, including poor diet, lack of physical activity, and genetics. However, in recent years, we have seen a concerning rise in the number of children diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

“In the past, doctors believed that Type 2 diabetes was primarily an adult disease, and that Type 1 diabetes was more common in children,” said Dr. Eugene Nicholson, pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente Northwest. “However, we are now witnessing a concerning increase in Type 2 diabetes cases among kids. It is essential for parents to be aware of this changing landscape and take steps to prevent it."

“Most children with Type 2 diabetes do not exhibit symptoms when the disease is first detected. If symptoms are present, they are often mild and may include increased urination, excessive thirst, and unexplained weight loss,” said Dr. Nicholson. “But a simple blood test is usually all that is needed to diagnose diabetes. A doctor may do this test if your child has risk factors for diabetes, such as sedentary living or a diet high in processed foods."

Kaiser Permanente Northwest encourages parents and children to adopt a balanced, family-friendly diet and foster active habits. We also provide guidance on resilience strategies, tips for having healthy discussions around potential diagnoses, and the importance of talking with children about coping with Type 2 diabetes.

Children with Type 2 diabetes may encounter mental health challenges due to the demands of managing their condition. The emotional and psychological aspects of living with a chronic illness should not be underestimated. Kaiser Permanente Northwest offers resources and support to help children and their families navigate these challenges.

Interviews: Dr. Eugene Nicholson, pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente Northwest, is available for available for Zoom or phone interviews with media on Thursday, Nov. 16 from 11 a.m.-noon. (Additional interview times possible upon request). Contact Karen Vitt to schedule.

Dr. Nicholson is prepared to discuss:

  • Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes in children
  • The difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
  • How to screen and detect Type 2 diabetes in children 
  • Preventing Type 2 diabetes in children
  • Mental Health challenges faced by kids with Type 2 diabetes


Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.7 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health. For more information, please visit: about.kaiserpermanente.org

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