Historically, diabetes mellitus has been classified as either juvenile-onset
(now known as type 1) or adult-onset (type 2) due to distinct differences
in the usual age of presentation of these 2 conditions. With the increasing
prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in children, these terms have become
inaccurate. Recent estimates suggest that type 2 diabetes mellitus may now
account for as many as half of all new cases of diabetes in certain pediatric
populations. This apparent epidemic, attributable largely to the increased
rates of obesity in children, carries enormous long-term public health implications.
This article will consider these implications, examine the pathophysiology
of type 2 diabetes mellitus in children, and review prevention and treatment
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