For years, diabetes has been hitting Americans of all ages hard.
Now, young people are taking an even tougher hit.
According to the journal, Pediatrics, diabetes and pre-diabetes has had a huge increase in teens ages 12 to 19, and the percentage of teenagers in the U.S. with the disease has more than doubled in the last decade.
The new study also reported nearly one in four teens in the country have diabetes.
Dr. Leslie Burt of Harrisonburg Pediatrics said when he first started working in the Valley over 30 years ago, he would see roughly one new diabetic a year.
He said now, almost monthly, he would see a teenager or child who is at risk, or starting to develop signs and symptoms of the disease.
"I think it's come to a point where physicians are beginning to realize that this is a culture-wide problem and needs to be taken care of by the entire culture. We as physicians can only make recommendations and emphasize what's important for good health," said Burt.
Burt recommends to start making lifestyle adjustments by staying away from the wrong foods, and being especially careful when eating at restaurants.
He also said schools need to reintroduce physical education and encourage young people to get back outside instead of sitting in front of the television.
Burt said children and teenagers are averaging at least 38 hours a week in front of the television or computer.
He said since these teens are so young, as long as they make these lifestyle changes and take the proper medications, there is a good chance to reverse some of the problems that have started to develop.
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