Is My Child at Risk for Diabetes?

November 14, 2019

School-based health center at Denver Health doctor's exam

Information for Parents on World Diabetes Day 

At Denver Health, we are proud to care for adolescents at multiple facilities throughout our system: including at the main hospital, family health centers and our school-based health centers. Two of the most common questions we receive from parents as their young people start maturing are:

  • Is my child’s height and weight good for their age?
  • Is my child at risk for diabetes?


Today is World Diabetes Day, which is an opportunity to promote awareness about the risk for developing type 2 (adult onset) diabetes, so we decided to ask our school-based health center doctors and nurses how they typically respond or discuss these concerns with parents. Here are a few helpful tips from our experts in adolescent health:

  • At every well child check, we check to see how your child is growing compared to the previous years and compared to other kids their age. We use “growth curves” to give us an idea if their height and weight are on track.
  • When your child is growing, we expect they will gain weight. However, if they are gaining weight faster than they are growing, this can lead to obesity and a higher risk for diabetes. Additionally, a family history of diabetes puts children at an increased risk for diabetes. 
  • Everyone’s height is determined by our genetics, and your child’s height is following its own pathway. Our weight is most often a result of what we are eating and how physically active we are. If your child has more weight than is healthy for their height, this may put them at risk for health problems, such as diabetes.
  • There is an increased risk of diabetes when the body stores extra body weight. This occurs when the body gets more calories than it needs.
  • It’s important to discuss diabetes risk during adolescence. This is a time during a child’s life when they have an opportunity to make small incremental changes that can allow them to avoid or delay diabetes.


If you have concerns about your child’s weight or their risk for diabetes, schedule an appointment with your health care provider. If your child is a student in Denver Public Schools, they can access care AT NO COST at one of our 18 school-based health centers across Denver.