2 Million U.S. Youths Have Prediabetes
Condition Can Be Reversed; Left Unchecked, May Lead to Diabetes, Heart Disease
Nov. 7, 2005 -- An estimated 2 million American youths have prediabetes, the
CDC and NIH report.
In prediabetes, the body doesn't handle blood sugar as well as it should,
but not as poorly as in
Prediabetes is often a step on the path to type 2 diabetes. It also raises
the risk of heart disease.
But, prediabetes may not be a one-way ticket to those problems. There could
still be time to turn things around. But it takes sustained effort, and the
clock is running.
Kids aren't the only ones with prediabetes. Many grown-ups have it, too.
An estimated 41 million Americans have prediabetes,
, and many don't know they have those
problems, the CDC reported in October.
The new figures are based on a national survey of 471 boys and 444 girls
aged 12-19 years.
The kids represented their peers nationwide. About 16% were overweight,
based on their body mass index (BMI).
The kids took a blood sugar test after fasting for at least eight hours. The
test checked for impaired fasting glucose -- problems handling blood sugar
Seven percent of all participants had impaired fasting glucose. That
translates to about 2 million adolescents nationwide, the researchers
Impaired fasting glucose was more common among boys than girls. It was seen
in one in 10 boys and one out of 25 girls.
Being overweight -- especially around the waist -- raised the odds. Impaired
fasting glucose was seen in one in 16 overweight adolescents and one in four
with large waists.
Mexican-American adolescents were more likely than whites or blacks to have
impaired fasting glucose (13% of Mexican-Americans, 7% of whites, and 4% of
Kids with impaired fasting glucose were also more likely to have other heart
They tended to have higher levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol and lower
levels of HDL "good" cholesterol.
They also were more likely to have higher systolic blood pressure. That's
the first number in a blood pressure reading.
The survey was done in 1999-2000. More recent trends aren't covered. The
researchers included the CDC's Desmond Williams, MD. The study appears in
Another study in Pediatrics raises related concerns.
It tracks metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health conditions that make
diabetes and heart disease more likely.
Those traits include abdominal obesity measured by elevated waist
circumference, high blood pressure, impaired fasting glucose, poor cholesterol
levels, and high levels of blood fats called triglycerides. Metabolic syndrome
means having three or more of those problems.
Approximately 1,200 black and white girls were followed for a decade,
starting at age 9 or 10 years.
At first, only one girl of each race met the clinical criteria for metabolic
syndrome. Ten years later, 20 black girls (3.5%) and 12 white girls (2.3%) had
The researchers included John Morrison, PhD. He works in the cardiology
division of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
Nip Diabetes in the Bud
Adults with prediabetes can cut their diabetes risk by making lifestyle
changes, such as boosting physical activity and upgrading their eating
Is that also true for kids and teens? It's likely but not yet proven, write
the CDC and NIH researchers.
Prediabetes doesn't always show symptoms without a lab test. Consult a
doctor to find, fix, or prevent prediabetes and metabolic syndrome in people of