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Working together to prevent diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is an increasingly common problem in children and teens who are overweight or obese. However, when we can identify the early stages or precursor conditions that lead to diabetes, many times we can prevent or reverse the condition. 

The Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Clinic at Children’s Mercy brings together specialists from pediatric endocrinology, nutrition services, and the Weight Management Clinic to help your child prevent or reverse Type 2 Diabetes.

Our team members include:

  • A nutrition specialist to assess your child’s lifestyle and eating habits and help identify ways to modify their diet.

  • Pediatric endocrinologists and nurse practitioners to help you:

    • Understand why changes are needed.

    • Screen for any endocrine or genetic disorders that might be causing unusual weight gain.

    • Screen for any co-occurring conditions--such as dyslipidemia, fatty liver disease, elevated blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea or orthopedic disorders--and refer to other specialties if needed.

    • Motivate your child to reach their goals.

  • Social workers to help connect you with community resources related to weight management and diabetes prevention.

What to expect at the clinic

The main goal of our program is to help children and families understand that with the right intervention and lifestyle changes, you can prevent—and in many cases, reverse—Type 2 Diabetes. 

If you’re concerned about your child’s weight, the first step is to visit with your primary care provider. Your provider may refer your child to our clinic if your child’s Body Mass Index (BMI) is above the 85th percentile and they have abnormal laboratory results related to their blood sugar, lipids (fats), liver enzymes or cholesterol levels. 

What do I need to bring?

In addition to your insurance information and photo ID, we recommend that you bring (or ask your provider to send) your child’s growth charts and laboratory tests for the following:

  • Basic metabolic panel

  • HgbA1c

  • Liver enzymes

  • Lipid panel

  • Oral glucose tolerance test, if available (not required)

We may need to do further laboratory testing at your child’s initial visit.

Where do I go?

The endocrinology and diabetes clinics are located at Children’s Mercy Broadway. We’ll give you directions over the phone when we set up your appointment, and there is free parking next to the clinic building.


There are a number of conditions that are precursors to Type 2 Diabetes. If your child has one of these conditions, it means they have an increased chance of developing full-fledged diabetes. 

Insulin Resistance

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps unlock the body’s cells so that sugar (glucose) from the food we eat can be used by the cells for energy. Insulin resistance syndrome is a condition in which the cells in the body are unable to use insulin effectively. This can lead to higher blood sugar, dyslipidemia (high levels of cholesterol or fats in the blood), and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In girls and young women, insulin resistance can also stimulate excessive testosterone production, which can cause an irregular menstrual cycle or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Impaired Glucose Tolerance

Impaired Glucose Tolerance is also sometimes called pre-diabetes. Blood glucose (sugar) levels are above the normal range, but not as high as usually seen in diabetes. A person with impaired glucose tolerance is at a higher risk of developing diabetes. Impaired glucose tolerance is diagnosed using an oral glucose tolerance test.


Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar. High blood sugar happens when the body has too little insulin or when the body can’t use insulin properly.


Dyslipidemia is a condition where the levels of total cholesterol, "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations are elevated, while the level of "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in the blood is too low. Elevated LDL increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and peripheral artery disease.

Diabetes and a healthy diet

Making changes to your family’s lifestyle that include healthier eating and more physical activity will help all of you feel better, including your child. 

Diet modifications include:

  • Eliminating sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda

  • Eating plenty of non-starchy vegetables and lean proteins

  • Eating grains and starches in moderation

Along with healthy eating, physical activity is important because it improves your body’s ability to use insulin and also helps you reach a healthy weight and decrease body fat.

See more ideas on learning to live a healthy, active lifestyle from the Healthy Lifestyles Community Council, where Children's Mercy is a partner.