Markers Predict Kids' Risk of Diabetes as Adults

MONDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that body measurements and laboratory tests may predict the likelihood that a child will develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Researchers analyzed long-term studies of 1,067 black and white girls followed for nine years after the age of 9 or 10, and of 822 black and white children followed for 22 to 30 years beginning in the mid-1970s.

The findings appear in the January issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The authors found that participants in the second study were more likely to have diabetes at the age of 39 if they had high childhood levels of blood pressure, body-mass index, glucose and triglycerides. Low levels of "good" cholesterol also spelled trouble.

"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%," the authors wrote.

Those in the first study had a higher risk of diabetes at age 19 if they had parents with diabetes and higher levels of systolic blood pressure and insulin concentration.

The findings could help encourage prevention efforts in children who appear likely to develop diabetes, the researchers suggested.

-- Randy Dotinga

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SOURCE: American Medical Association, news release, Jan. 4, 2010