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Study: Nearly 1 in 4 teens has diabetes

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Posted at 5:50 PM, May 21, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-21 18:13:38-04

An alarming statistic for anyone who has a teenager in their home. A new study shows the number of teenagers at risk for developing diabetes is rising sharply.

A new report in the Journal Pediatrics reveals 1 in 4 teenagers between the ages of 12 and 19 either have diabetes or are at risk for it. That equals out to 25% of all teenagers. Back in 1999, only 9% of all teenagers were at risk or had diabetes.

At the same time, obesity levels in teens have leveled off or are about the same.

Researchers attribute the findings to a number of things. Among them? Teenagers eating unhealthy foods, not being active enough and more use of computers and other mobile devices.

"If we don't intervene, younger and younger people could be getting cardiovascular disease. It's a wake up call to work aggressively on treatment and prevention," says Dr. Robin Goland, a diabetic specialist with Columbia University Medical Center.

Doctors say undiagnosed or untreated diabetes can be more dangerous than the disease itself.

Symptoms of diabetes include sluggishness and being overly thirsty.