Prediabetes rising among US adolescents and teens, study finds

A new study suggests prediabetes is rising among the country’s youth. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

The study, comprised of researchers from New York, Georgia, and China, was published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics

Scientists gathered archived data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey involving more than 6,500 youths between 12 and 19 years old from 1999 to 2018. The survey also included fathering blood samples. 

RELATED: Diabetes in children has nearly doubled over past two decades

Researchers found that prediabetes among youths in the U.S. increased significantly from 11.6% to 28.2% between 1999 and 2018. 

"These numbers are striking, and it's pretty clear that, if we don't do something to bring down these numbers, we are going to see a significant increase in diabetes in the United States," study co-author Junxiu Liu told UPI in a phone interview.

According to the CDC, approximately 96 million American adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes. More than 80% don’t know they have it, the agency added.

RELATED: Lowering risks for diabetes and pre-diabetes

Having prediabetes increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

The CDC has outlined symptoms of prediabetes such as being overweight, being 45 years or older, having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes, being physically active less than 3 times a week.

If you have prediabetes, CDC health officials said losing a small amount of weight and getting regular physical activity can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.