Introduction

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Just before she turned 17, Katie Haley weighed in at 239 pounds at the pediatrician’s office and she was told that her cholesterol was high. She was on the cusp of diabetes and her insulin level was also a bit elevated. Katie had experienced exclusion and ridicule by her peers in high school, and we now know that 31.8% of youth are overweight or obese.1 At the suggestion of her family physician, Katie’s mom, who was also overweight, scheduled Katie to see a registered dietitian. Katie and the dietitian worked together to modify her lifestyle by making better food choices, being aware of portion size of foods and beverages, and incorporating a plan for regular exercise.

Katie is lucky that her general practitioner cared enough to call her every two to three months to check on her progress. It took about 12 months for Katie to lose the recommended weight, and she continues to follow her new lifestyle to maintain her weight loss.

The aforementioned scenario is all too common today in the U.S. and globally as experts now predict that more than one third of American children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime.2 The prevalence of diabetes in children, adolescents, teens and adults is increasing at a rapid rate in developed countries with an even higher percentage of new cases in developing countries. Even though the epidemic nature of diabetes is well publicized, public awareness remains low.