Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetesiStock

According to new research from Johns Hopkins University, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, the number of new diagnoses of type 2 diabetes among children almost doubled during the COVID lockdown period as compared to the previous two years.

Between March 2018 and February 2020, 825 children were diagnosed with the illness, as compared to 1,463 new diagnoses between March 2020 and February 2021, a 77-percent increase.

"During the COVID-19 lockdown, children were removed from normal day-to-day routines like going to school, playing sports, and other hobbies," Sheela N. Magge, the director of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and an associate professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said. "Not only were they less physically active, they were confined to their homes and spent a lot more time watching TV, playing video games, or with other electronic devices."

The study's authors analyzed data from over 3,000 patients under the age of 21, and found that all of them were in the 85th percentile for BMI or above. Very few had COVID.

Another finding was that the increase in diabetes cases was confined to black and Hispanic youth where the numbers of new cases doubled; the number of new diagnoses for white children fell.

"Youth with type 2 diabetes are known to be exposed to significant environmental stressors, as evidenced by a high proportion coming from single-caregiver and low-income households, with low parental education attainment," the study's authors noted.