Today’s Headlines: Diabetes Risk Could Start Developing During Adolescence, Household Chemicals Particularly Dangerous For Children, And Efforts To Improve US Outpatient Care Fall Flat

New research suggests that adults who were overweight during their teenage years are more likely to have type 2 diabetes. “Overall, elevated BMI at adolescence, including values within the currently accepted ‘normal’ range, strongly increase risk of diabetes mortality later in life,” explained Hagai Levine, one of the study’s leaders. In analyzing long-term data of more than 2 million people, researchers found that adults who had a BMI of 22.4 or higher as teenagers, were more likely to die from diabetes–and the higher their BMI as a teenager, the greater their risk as an adult. A member of Duke University’s Clinical Research Institute, Ashley Skinner, who was not involved with the study, pointed out a potential limitation: “It’s possible that obesity as a teen itself is not the problem, but rather that teens with obesity are more likely to become adults with obesity.” (Reuters)

One new study indicates that chemicals commonly found in food containers and cosmetics might play a role in causing a variety of medical conditions–and researchers believe that children are the most vulnerable to such chemicals. The leader of the study, Dr. Leonardo Trasande, who’s a professor at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, urged families to avoid plastic bottles with the numerical markers 3,6, and 7. Otherwise, families should “air out their homes every couple of days,” Trasande said. The potential harm comes, specifically, from endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which, at toxic levels, can interrupt the normal functioning of hormones. Ultimately, this means a greater risk for neurobehavioral disorders, reproductive disorders, and diabetes. (CNN)

After a decade of regional and national efforts to improve the quality of outpatient care, the U.S. is hardly better off, according a new report published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers believe that the quality of outpatient care has remained largely flat, having gotten better in some areas and worse in others. The study’s lead author, Dr. David Levine of Harvard University, said the findings reveal a clear take-home message for patients: “There is likely recommended care that you are not receiving but should, and there is likely extra care that you are receiving and could be harmful to you.” A critic of the study said that, “the take-home message for patients is that they should take an active role in identifying the important components of their are and advocating for themselves.” (NBC)