Common medical data collected from children during routine physician office visits may predict their likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes as adults. According to Charles Glueck, M.D., of the Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati, simple body measurements and laboratory testing can foretell a child’s risk for type 2 diabetes development years later. Their findings appear in January issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
For their analysis, the researchers looked at data from two long-term studies. The first included data on 1,067 black and white females from the National Growth and Health Study who were followed from the ages of 9 and 10 for a nine-year period. Among the young girls in the study, those with higher levels of systolic blood pressure (top number measurement) and insulin concentration, and those whose parents had diabetes, had a greater risk of developing diabetes by age 19. In their report, the authors wrote, “If childhood body-mass index, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure were all lower than the 75th percentile, the likelihood of type 2 diabetes at age 19 years was 0.2 percent, 0.2 percent if the parents were also free of diabetes, and 0.3 percent if childhood insulin was also less than the 75th percentile.
The second study, known as the Princeton Follow-up Study, included data on 822 black and white children followed for 22 to 30 years, beginning in the mid-1970s. The researchers found that chilrden in this study had a greater likelihood of developing diabetes by the age of 39 when having high childhood levels of blood pressure, body-mass index, glucose and triglycerides, as well as those having low levels of HDL, or "good" cholesterol. The report authors wrote, “When body-mass index, systolic blood pressure and diastolic [bottom number] blood pressure were all lower than the 75th percentile and there was no parental diabetes mellitus, the likelihood of children developing type 2 diabetes mellitus 22 to 30 years later was only 1 percent.”