Doctors said the COVID-19 pandemic is having an unexpected impact on some children.
As new COVID-19 cases continue to pop up nationwide, pediatricians said they're seeing another trend: more Type 2 diabetes in children.
Dr. Courtney Sauls is a pediatrician at Ascension St. John Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Since the start of last year, she's seen more kids being diagnosed with the disease.
"Could we have predicted it? I don't think so,” said Sauls. “But it makes a lot of sense given kind of the restrictions that this pandemic has put on our lifestyles and our eating habits."
The American Diabetes Association is also seeing similar trends, reporting that hospitalization rates among diabetic children have doubled during the pandemic, with obesity in children being a factor.
Sauls said last year, a lot of kids were sitting around more and with distance learning, some had more access to sugary snacks throughout the day.
It's something she said parents need to watch closely.
"If kiddos hang on to the Type 2 diabetes, especially the earlier it starts, it can set a child up for diseases down the road as an adult," said Sauls.
To help prevent it, Sauls recommends all parents get active with their kids and encourage healthy eating choices.
"Go outside on a walk,” she said. “It's beautiful right now so that's a great opportunity to go on a walk as a family. Maybe do some exercise videos at home, YouTube is a great resource for all those types of things.”