Prevalence of Risk for Type 2 Diabetes in School Children


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    Ximena Urrutia-Rojas, DrPH, RN, Assistant Professor, (, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center, 3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth, TX 76107; and 2John Menchaca, MD, Pediatrician (, Cook Children’s Health Care System Physician Network, Fort Worth, 800 8th Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76104.


Abstract: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 children born in 2000 in the United States will become diabetic. The odds are higher for African American and Hispanic children as nearly 50% of them will develop diabetes. Random screening is not effective in identifying children at risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM); therefore, there is a need to apply screening strategies that guide the development of appropriate primary prevention efforts. To assess the prevalence of risk factors for T2DM, 1066 fifth-grade children were screened using American Diabetes Association guidelines. Overall, 22.6% were found at risk; African American and Hispanic children were almost 8 times more likely to be at risk when compared to Caucasians (odds ratio = 7.41 and 7.87). Children who reported watching TV/playing video games 2 or more hours/day were 73% more likely to be at risk. Children identified to be at risk were referred to their primary care provider and were invited to participate in a counseling session. The environmental risk factors for T2DM identified in this study are modifiable and should be targeted in preventive interventions at the school and community level to reduce overweight and consequently prevent T2DM in children, especially among minority children. (J Sch Health. 2006;76(5):189-194)