Metformin, “the only pill approved in the U.S. for treatment of children with type 2 diabetes is proving surprisingly ineffective, according to a new study, heightening worries about the fast-growing and largely preventable disease,” reports the Wall Street Journal (see here).

The study also included GSK’s Avnadia, which is not approved for use in children and has been linked to an increase of heart attacks, curtailing its use in treatment.

699 children between 10 and 17 years old, essentially all of whom were obese and who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for an average of eight months were randomly assigned to one of three treatments: metformin, the mainstay diabetes medicine; metformin plus a lifestyle-intervention program; or metformin plus Avandia.

52% of those on metformin alone had failed, compared with 47% on metformin plus lifestyle change and 39% on the two-drug regimen. Statistically, only the two-drug treatment was considered superior to metformin.

The results prompted other experts to renew calls for societal efforts to combat diabetes and obesity among young people. Here is a chart showing the prevalence of obesity among young people in the U.S.:

Coincidentally (or maybe not), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) sent out a press release today announcing “The Weight of the Nation” documentary series and public awareness campaign focused on obesity in the U.S. HBO, in association with the Institute of Medicine, NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente Foundation, developed four documentaries focused on obesity. The project also includes a three-part HBO Family series for kids, 12 short features, a social media campaign, and a nationwide community-based campaign to mobilize action to move the country to a healthier weight. See the press release here.