Obesity and Insulin Resistance Program

The link between obesity and diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, a disease that was once considered to be exclusive to adults is increasing at an alarming rate among children, in part because of the obesity epidemic that is affecting our youth. The doctors in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at Tufts Medical Center assess children for obesity and their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. We also discuss rare endocrine conditions that can lead to obesity, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease.

Obesity is a major factor in the promotion of insulin resistance and the development of diabetes. If your child is obese, cells in their body can’t respond well to insulin, a hormone that helps move sugars from food (glucose) throughout the body and they begin requiring more and more in order to keep glucose at a normal level. We often explain this to children as an engine that needs to chug harder to get to the same speed. When glucose levels start to build up, your child gets closer to crossing the line and being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Reducing your child’s risk

Our expert doctors in the Obesity and Insulin Resistance Program at Tufts Medical Center work with you and your child to develop a plan to reduce the risk of childhood type 2 diabetes. We are just one aspect of your child’s obesity treatment team and coordinate care between Nutrition, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Nephrology and Ophthalmology. We work side-by-side with these specialists so that your child can have a strong team doing everything possible to help him or her avoid type 2 diabetes and lifelong medication.

If your pediatrician has recommended that you and your child see one of our expert specialists at Tufts Medical Center, you can expect to meet a caring team dedicated to improving your child’s health. Once you are here, we will have a more complete discussion about the risks of obesity and insulin resistance, including type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, inflammatory liver disease and high cholesterol.

Next, we will get started on creating a plan to get your child back on track toward a healthy lifestyle. We will recommend diet and exercise changes, but need your help to provide continued motivation for your child. We partner with you along the way by giving you the tools and empowerment that you need, but often find that family lifestyle changes are the key to success. We will be there every step of the way, seeing your child every 3 months and testing A1C, cholesterol and glucose levels to check on your child’s progress and their risk for developing diabetes.

To make an appointment, please call 617-636-8100.