The girl, from a Hispanic family, was diagnosed in Houston, Texas, by Dr Michael Yafi, a paediatric endocrinologist with the University of Texas. In a written presentation to the European Association for the Study of Diabetes conference in Stockholm, Yafi said she had been brought to his clinic because she was obese.
The girl weighed 35kg (5st 7lbs), putting her in the heaviest 5% of children her age. She was also in the top 5% for height and body mass index (BMI), a measure of obesity.
The child was suffering from excessive thirst and frequent urination, but her medical history was otherwise unremarkable. She was born at term weighing 3.2kg(7lbs). Although both her parents were obese, there was no family history of diabetes.
A review of the family’s diet found they had “poor nutritional habits”, the conference heard. Their food was high in calories and fat. Tests suggested diabetes, but the results ruled out type 1, which usually has its onset in childhood.
“Based on symptoms, physical findings of obesity and laboratory results, the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes was made,” Yafi said.
The child was put on metformin, an oral drug given to people with type 2 diabetes. Her family was asked to change the types of food they most often ate and to eat smaller portions, and to encourage the girl to be more active.
The treatment worked. The girl lost weight and the drugs were gradually reduced over six months, at the end of which she was 75% of the weight she had been when she first arrived at the clinic. Her blood glucose levels had returned to normal and she no longer had type 2 diabetes.
“Reversal of type 2 diabetes in children is possible by early screening of obese children, early diagnosis, appropriate therapy and lifestyle modification,” Yafi said.
What's the betting the diet was also high in carbs, sugar and junk processed food.