KODE — Diabetes can cause a host of health problems for a patient. And now growing concern for young patients, as more and more teens are falling into the pre-diabetes category.

“Pre-diabetes is kind of nebulous thing where they say that your body is not handling insulin like it should and so, you’re on your way to being diabetic. And what they’re really talking about is obesity,” said Dr. Paul Petry, Freeman Pediatrician.

The focus is 12 to 19-year old’s whose body mass index falls in the 95th percentile or higher.

Freeman Dr. Paul Petry points out that takes a tolls on your body.

“Things are happening on the microscopic level in your body that you’re not aware of. Things are happening to your blood vessels. Things are happening in your brain. And eventually it takes a toll and you may be 40 or 50 before it really catches up with you,” he said.

The goal is to identify the problem and help patients make changes while they’re still young.

“It’s not one thing. It’s how this interaction of your genes and your body and you and your brain responds to your environment and the foods you have. And it’s very complex. It’s not easy. It’s not calories in and calories out. It’s much more complex than that,” Dr. Petry added.

He says it’s a good idea to minimize processed convenience foods and focus on nutrition goals like five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.

“By the way, diet sodas are not good for you and they are not a weight loss tool. Water and water and then try to eat three meals and a couple snacks a day. Watch your portions and I think the biggest advice, the best thing you can do for yourself and for your family for your kids is to plan ahead,” he said.