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Celiac rates are doubling every 15 years as we eat more and more gluten-filled wheat products. Experts estimate that 20 percent of us have food allergies, many linked to pesticides in our drinking water. And now research shows that type 1 diabetes is skyrocketing in kids under age 5.
If health experts thought the fact that childhood obesity has tripled since 1983 was a public health problem, they consider the increase in diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, among kids to be an immediate emergency.
A study of Philadelphia children shows that the overall incidence of type 1 diabetes in kids in that city has increased by about 30 percent since the 1980s.
“The most rapid increase in type 1 diabetes — in children diagnosed before age 5 — requires immediate attention,” says researcher Terri Lipman. “These young children are at the highest risk for death because of often-delayed diagnosis. The rapidly rising risk of diabetes in black children ages 0-4 years is of particular concern given the marked racial disparities that have been identified in diabetes outcomes and treatment in this population.
“While there are a number of hypotheses related to the causes of the increases in type 1 diabetes, no risk factors have been confirmed,” says Lipman. “It is critical to continue to investigate risk factors that may be associated with the increased incidence of type 1 diabetes overall, and the marked rise in the incidence in young children.”