BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The number of children admitted to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital (OLOLCH) with Type 2 diabetes doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent medical research study.

COVID-19 restrictions led to less exercise, more sedentary habits, abnormal sleeping patterns and a decrease in overall healthy eating for many Americans, including children.

A news release from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) reports data comparison for pediatric Type 2 diabetes between 2019 and 2020 at OLOLCH. Pediatric patients at OLOLCH in 2020 had more severe diabetes with higher blood glucose, higher A1C, and higher indicators of dehydration when compared to 2019 data.

Additionally, in 2020, more children were admitted to the hospital with serious conditions requiring intensive care. The study compared 2019 hospitalization rates for new-onset Type 2 diabetes, which was 0.27% (8 cases out of 2,964 hospitalizations), to last year’s, which yielded 0.62% (17 out of 2,729 hospitalizations).

“While our study examined hospital admissions for Type 2 diabetes in children at one center, the results may be a microcosm of what is happening at other children’s hospitals across the country,” said Daniel S. Hsia M.D., Associate Professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center and lead author of the study. “Unfortunately, COVID-19 disrupted our lives in more ways than we realize. Our study reinforces the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for children even under such difficult circumstances.” 

The study also noted that 23 out of 25 children were Black and 19 of those were male.