New study seeks to lower diabetes risk in youth

August 28, 2006

As schools across the country reopen their doors this fall, hundreds of sixth graders in 42 middle schools will begin taking part in a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The HEALTHY study will determine if changes in school food services and physical education (PE) classes, along with activities that encourage healthy behaviors, lower risk factors for type 2 diabetes, an increasingly common disease in youth.

"The alarming rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes in all age groups poses a major public health crisis for this country. This important study is one component of a multi-faceted research agenda to address this dual epidemic, which threatens the health of our youth and the vitality of our health care system," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.

Participating schools will be randomly assigned to a program group, which implements the changes, or to a comparison group, which continues to offer food choices and PE programs typically seen in middle schools across the country. Students in the program group will have After 2.5 years, all students will be tested for diabetes risk factors, including blood levels of glucose, insulin, and lipids. They will also be measured for fitness level, blood pressure, height, weight, and waist circumference.

"The school environment can have a profound effect on the behavior and health of young people. From this study we hope to learn if better food options, improvements in physical activity programs, and education about eating better and moving more result in healthier kids and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes," said study chair Gary Foster, Ph.D., of Temple University. The study is being conducted by researchers at In planning the HEALTHY study, researchers relied on the results of six pilot studies. In one such study, about half of eighth graders in 12 schools were overweight or at risk for overweight. Few had diabetes, but about 41 percent had abnormally high readings of fasting blood glucose, pointing to a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to being overweight, inactive, and having a family history of diabetes. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more. Among youth 2 to 19 years old, 17 percent are overweight (i.e., have a BMI at the 95th percentile or more for their age and sex) -- triple the rate in 1980. About the same percentage of youth have a BMI between the 85th and 95th percentile for their age and sex, putting them at risk for becoming overweight.

Type 1 diabetes, which affects up to 1 million people in the United States, develops when the body's immune system destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. This form of diabetes usually strikes children and young adults, who need several insulin injections a day or an insulin pump to survive. The HEALTHY study is aimed at preventing type 2 diabetes. Other NIH-funded studies are trying to prevent type 1 diabetes in centers nationwide: http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/jun2006/niddk-09.htm.

The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the chances of developing serious damage to the eyes, nerves, heart, kidneys, and blood vessels. "We're already seeing kids in their late teens with early complications from type 2 diabetes," said Francine Kaufman, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Childhood Diabetes Center at the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, where type 2 diabetes accounts for more than 20 percent of new childhood diabetes cases. "As a society, we need to address the obesity epidemic if we're going to have any success containing the rising rate of type 2 diabetes in kids. A logical place to start is in our schools."

Once seen only in adults, type 2 diabetes has been rising steadily in youth. While there are no national data on the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in youth, clinics around the country are reporting that more young people, especially from minority groups, are developing the disease. Studies in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, San Antonio, and other cities conclude that cases of type 2 diabetes in youth have risen dramatically since 1994, when less than 5 percent of new childhood diabetes cases were type 2. By 1999, type 2 diabetes accounted for 8 to 45 percent of new childhood diabetes cases, varying by geographic location. Some diabetes centers are now seeing more new cases of type 2 diabetes than type 1.

Nearly 21 million people in the United States -- 7 percent of the population -- have diabetes, the most common cause of blindness, kidney failure, and amputations in adults and a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Type 2 diabetes accounts for up to 95 percent of all diabetes cases in adults, and about one-third of those affected don't know they have it. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes has risen dramatically in the last 30 years, due mostly to the upsurge in obesity. In addition, at least 54 million U.S. adults age 20 and older have pre-diabetes, which independently raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Results from the HEALTHY study are expected in 2009. Sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the study is part of a broad research initiative, called STOPP T2D (Studies to Treat or Prevent Pediatric Type 2 Diabetes), which seeks to improve the treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes in youth. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) co-sponsors the HEALTHY study, and the Institute for Public Health and Water Research supports the study through a grant to the ADA.
-end-
The NIH has undertaken a rigorous research agenda to enhance new research in areas of greatest scientific opportunity. [http://www.obesityresearch.nih.gov/About/strategic-plan.htm] The NIH also sponsors We Can!--Ways to Enhance Children's Activity and Nutrition, a program to prevent childhood obesity, which encourages parents and children to adopt healthy eating habits, increase physical activity, and reduce leisure "screen time." We Can! materials, including fact sheets, brochures and curricula for adults and children, are available at http://wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov or by calling toll-free 1-866-35-WECAN.

The NIDDK, a component of the NIH, conducts and supports research in diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition, and obesity; and kidney, urologic and hematologic diseases. Spanning the full spectrum of medicine and afflicting people of all ages and ethnic groups, these diseases encompass some of the most common, severe, and disabling conditions affecting Americans. For more information about NIDDK and its programs, see www.niddk.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- The Nation's Medical Research Agency -- includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, see www.nih.gov.

NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.