Many obese youth have condition that precedes type 2 diabetes

Many obese children and adolescents have impaired glucose tolerance, a condition that often appears before the development of type 2 diabetes, according to researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study findings appear in the March 14 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

"This study suggests that many obese children have a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes," said HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. "Researchers have a lot of information on how to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes in adults, but we need to find better ways to prevent and treat the disease in children."

Once seen only in adults, type 2 diabetes has been rising steadily in children, especially minority adolescents-African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans, according to reports from clinics around the country. Although there are no national, population-based data, studies in Cincinatti, Charleston, Los Angeles, San Antonio, and other cities indicate that the percentage of children with newly diagnosed diabetes who are classified as having type 2 diabetes has risen from less than 5 percent before 1994 to 30-50 percent in subsequent years.

"These results strongly imply that intensive efforts to reduce obesity in children and youth who have impaired glucose tolerance will help to prevent their developing type 2 diabetes," said Duane Alexander, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Both NICHD and the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), another NIH component, funded the study. Both agencies are part of the National Institutes of Health, the HHS agency that sponsors research to uncover knowledge that will lead to better health for everyone.

The scientists from Yale University School of Medicine conducted their study to determine if obese children and teens have impaired glucose tolerance, which, in adults is a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The researchers

Contact: Bob Bock
NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

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