Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 1, 2007

More teens get diabetes due to taste for sweet life

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:57 pm

NST: PETALING JAYA: Diabetes is on the rise among teenagers.
Government and private hospitals are seeing more cases of those between 13 and 19 coming in with symptoms of the disease.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the government was concerned about the phenomenon as this meant that the next generation of Malaysians would generally suffer poor health.
“Diabetes at that age will lead to complications in their adult life. It can affect their organs, especially their eyes and kidneys,” he said after launching the Diabetes Community Portal of the Malaysian Diabetes Association.
While acknowledging that overall statistics were not available, he said he had received reports that government hospitals and clinics were seeing more cases of teenage diabetics.
“Doctors are seeing a higher number of teenagers with Type 2 diabetes as compared to previous years with many of them being overweight.”
Type 2 diabetes is usually seen in adults with child diabetics normally suffering from Type 1 diabetes, which is often congenital.
Dr Chua attributed the increase to a sedentary lifestyle and over-indulgence in sweetened carbonated drinks and unhealthy food.
Malaysia has the most overweight people in Asia with 25 per cent of the population falling into this category.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital consultant paediatric endocrinologist Prof Dr Wu Loo Ling said Type 2 diabetes among teenagers was definitely on the rise.
“I have seen children as young as seven coming in with this type of diabetes. This was rare five years ago.”
She has had at least 50 teenagers with diabetes in recent months.
“People, especially the Chinese, tend to think that if one is fat, it is a sign of prosperity. They do not realise that it is actually a serious problem.”
On why more teenagers were diabetic, Dr Wu said they were eating food high in sugar and fat.
“They spend more time watching TV and on computer games instead of outdoor games.”
Universiti Malaya Medical Centre director Dr Ikram Shah Ismail said the hospital was definitely seeing a rise in the number of teenagers seeking treatment for Type 2 diabetes.
“This is a worrying trend as we did not have this problem years back.”
He also blamed the phenomenon on an unhealthy lifestyle.

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