Early Puberty May Raise the Risk for Diabetes Type 2

Recently, a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden explores the association of early puberty and the chances of developing diabetes type 2 while focusing specifically on young boys.

More precisely, the researchers, led by Professor Claes Ohlsson and Associate Professor Jenny Kindblom discovered that signs of early puberty in boys between the ages of nine to thirteen can increase the risk of developing metabolic conditions including diabetes.

Previously, research has identified a number of factors that can contribute to the risk of diabetes type 2 including being overweight or obese, sedentary lifestyle with little to no exercise, poor diets filled with sugary and processed foods, and many others.

Currently, diabetes is one of the fastest rising health conditions in the world. According to the statistics from the World Health Organization, the number of cases of diabetes has increased from one hundred and eight million cases in the year 1980 to four hundred and twenty-two million in 2014.

This means that the global prevalence of diabetes has increased from 4.7 percent to 8.5 percent between 1980 and 2014 in people over the age of eighteen. In addition, this rise in diabetes was the cause of over 1.6 million deaths in 2012.

Out of all the cases of diabetes type 1 and type 2 combined, type 2 forms the majority and is responsible for most of the deaths as it has been linked to the development of further complications and disease including stroke, kidney failure, lower limb amputation, blindness, and heart attacks.

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Therefore, there are ongoing clinical trials and research in order to examine all the possible factors that can contribute to the risk of developing diabetes type 2. The new study, whose findings appear in the journal Diabetologia, looks at the potential role of early puberty in boys.

To do so, the researchers examined data of over thirty thousand Swedish men borns between the years of 1945 to 1961 sourced from the BMI Epidemiology Study Gothenburg. The timings of puberty in these participants was calculated by using peak height velocity.

Additional information on the participants including weight and height were examined alongside national registers up till the year 2016 or till either the time they were diagnosed with diabetes type 2 or they died.

During the thirty-year follow up of the study, the researchers noted that approximately 1,851 participants had developed diabetes at the average age of fifty-seven.

Secondly, it was discovered that for each early year puberty-related changes and growth occurred, the risk for developing early diabetes type 2 increased by twenty-eight percent and late diabetes by thirteen percent.

The findings of the study remained the same even after adjusting for other factors including the Body Mass Index of the men.

Prof Kindblom, one of the leading authors of the study, concluded the study in the words “Our findings suggest that early puberty could be a novel independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes in men.”,

She further added that “Given the apparent higher risk among boys who start puberty before the average age of 14 years, we estimate that 15% fewer men who were diagnosed during the study would have developed type 2 diabetes had they not started puberty early.”


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