The number of teens in the United States with type 2 diabetes continues to rise. This is driven by teen obesity. The increase in type 2 diabetes in teens threatens the wellbeing of America’s youth. Until now, we have known little about how teens perceive their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers recently studied this in teens aged 12-19 years who were overweight or obese. They found that African American and Hispanic American teens with obesity were much less likely to think they were at risk for diabetes or prediabetes compared to non-Hispanic Whites. Overweight or obese teens who were told by their doctor that they were at risk for diabetes were much more likely to think of themselves as at risk. Going forward, we need to focus on preventing the development of diabetes among at-risk teens who do not understand their risk; for example, through more effective healthcare communication.


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