Much has been discussed about the personal health crisis in the US, where once slightly overweight, the trend has become one of wanton obesity for all ages. Adults, children, and the elderly alike due to overeating, eating poorly, and not enough exercise are “super-sizing” themselves.
It is no secret that many teenagers are very fat, which can cause lifelong health problems. But according to recent statistics, that number has significantly increased to the point where now 20% of all teenagers are considered “pre-diabetic”.
Prediabetes — a condition wherein blood sugar levels are elevated, but not high enough to warrant a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes — was estimated at 18% among adolescents ages 12 to 18, and 24% among young adults ages 19 to 34.
Experts say these numbers have risen over the past decade, putting young people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other conditions down the line.
“Until recently, young children and teens almost never got type 2 diabetes, which is why it used to be called adult-onset diabetes,” says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where most of the new study’s authors are affiliated. “Now, about one-third of American youth are overweight, a problem closely related to the increase in kids with type 2 diabetes, some as young as 10 years old.”
More commonly associated with children has been Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition in which the pancreas doesn’t produce much, if any, insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, which develops over years and has been linked to obesity, the body becomes less responsive to insulin, which the body needs to balance glucose in the bloodstream.
Analyzing nearly 5,800 individuals included in a national health survey from 2005 to 2016, the study authors found that “the prevalence of prediabetes in male individuals was almost twice that in female individuals” — 22.5% vs. 13.4% in adolescents and 29.1% vs. 18.8% in young adults.
Prediabetes was also more common among young people with obesity, which is also closely linked to Type 2 diabetes in adults. More than a quarter of obese adolescents and more than a third of obese young adults were found to have prediabetes — versus less than 17% of individuals with normal weight in both age groups. (source)
People in the bracket right now are considered Zoomers. The last of the Millennials was born in 1994, so the bloc in question here spreads from the 2001 to 2007 age range, which is arguably the “younger Zoomers”.
There has been a lot of discussion about what the Zoomer generation would look like and what decisions they would make. A pattern that seems to be emerging is that they, like Generation was for the Boomers, is following in the footsteps of the Millennials. Many are going to college, may seem to have a lot of the either highly leftist or very ultranationalistic beliefs that define Millennials, religion as a whole continues to decline, and the same patterns of depression, impoverishment, drugs, and the spread of social and moral diseases are continuing. This also goes for patterns of obesity, which are essentially on the same time line as Millennials, just modified slightly.
In other words, if Gen Xers were “Boomers-lite”, then Zoomers are increasingly showing themselves to be “Millennials-lite”.
What will be interesting to see is the following generation, which is being called “Generation Alpha”. As the letter suggests, this would be a “new start”. If one will, a “fresh” generation, but for what?
Indeed there are many social problems in the US, and there is the prospect of war coming. We know that a future war could be global, and a lot of people could die. However, just as “alpha” can be used to signal something new, it can also be used to signal something “tough”.
Is this a suggestion that they will be generation “tough”, as it they will fight in a coming war?
Could it be that they are going to “rebuild” America after some sort of (socially engineered) collapse in her current state and from her previous form?
Of course, this is all speculation. One does not know what the future holds definitively.
What we can say is that the current “upcoming” generation- what the Millennials once were- seems to be just a continuation of the Millennials and their problems. One should not expect to see many notable differences between them and the previous, and that the future truly lays with the coming generation- the Alphas -as they will be forced to reckon with the problems of the past and the consequences that have built up as a result even more than the current generations.