The obesity epidemic could increase the rate of teenage girls with irregular periods and painful cramps, new research suggests. Bulging waistlines among children are driving up the rates of type two diabetes.
While obesity is known to cause reproductive problems in adult women, very little research has been done into its effects on young girls.
Researchers from the University of Colorado warned this trend could ultimately lead to a spike in infertility, and current methods of treatment – from medications to lifestyle changes – are near-futile in fixing irregular periods.
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Up until two decades ago, type two diabetes was known as adult-onset diabetes because it only occurred in adults. In the last 15 years prevalence of the disease among children has risen more than 30 percent among children. A National Health Institute study found that the number of children with type two diabetes rose nearly five percent each year between 2002 and 2012.
The number one risk factor for type two diabetes is being overweight, because it typically occurs when fat content in the body becomes so high that it develops a resistance to insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar.
This often happens when someone has been overweight for a long time, which is why it usually does not strike until middle age. In response to the trend, the NIH launched a nationwide study in 2013 focused on improving treatment of young people with type two diabetes called the Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Youth (TODAY) study.
‘Our findings suggest that girls with youth-onset diabetes may need the additional intervention above and beyond their diabetes treatment to improve their menstrual health,’ said lead author Megan Kelsey, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Colorado. source