Lowering diabetes risk in youth

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Nutrition: Health

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 classes, along with activities that encourage healthy behaviors, lower risk factors for type 2 diabetes, an increasingly common disease in youth. 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 healthier choices from the cafeteria and vending machines (e.g., lower fat foods, more fruits and vegetables, and drinks with no added sugar) longer, more intense periods of physical activity, and activities and awareness campaigns that promote long-term healthy behaviors. 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.

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. This study makes sense to me. Why not attempt to prevent diabetes before it occurs? If the results of the study hold up, it is likely that similar programs will introduced in other school across the country. What do you think?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.