• usually comes on slowly
  • can develop at any age, but is usually diagnosed in children over 10 years old
  • is treated by maintaining a healthy weight, making healthy food choices, getting regular physical activity, and taking medications (if prescribed by a doctor)

Risk Factors

Children may be at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes if they:

  • are overweight or obese, or have a BMI over 25
  • have someone in their family with type 2 diabetes
  • are African American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander or Native American
  • are not physically active
  • take certain psychiatric medications


Here are some of the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes in children:

  • being very thirsty or very hungry
  • going to the bathroom more often, or at night (wetting the bed)
  • having trouble concentrating
  • feeling tired most of the time
  • patches of darkened skin in the armpits or around the neck ( acanthosis nigricans)

Many children with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms. Talk to your child's doctor if you think they may be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

The biggest risk factor for developing diabetes is being overweight. If your child is overweight, the most important thing you can do is to make changes as a family to help your child develop lifelong healthy eating and exercise habits. Talk to your child's doctor for ideas or a referral to a nutritionist.

Check out the Mass in Motion's Tips for Parents pages to learn how much , and .


  • Easy Eating for Busy People
  • Diabetes and Your Feet
  • Diabetes Can Harm Your Vision
  • Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers
  • Diabetes: Are You at Risk?

Fact Sheets

  • Tips for Teens
  • What is Diabetes?
  • Do I Have Diabetes?
  • I Have Diabetes. What Can I Do to Stay Healthy?
  • Low Blood Sugar, High Blood Sugar, and Sick Days
  • Tips to Help You Feel Better and Stay Healthy
  • What is the A1C Test?

These materials are available from the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse at www.maclearinghouse.com/category/DIAB.html.

This information is provided by Diabetes Prevention and Control Program within the Department of Public Health.