Why was the STOPP-T2D study done?
The STOPP-T2D study, aimed at the prevention of overweight and obesity as major risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes in children and adolescents is conducted in 7 Pilot centers in the US and will involve schools, especially sixth through eighth grade (Middle Schools), for children from 11 to 14 years. The idea is to provide more information and nutrition education to all students, make changes in the school menu, offering healthier meals and also promote the need for increased physical activity and sports at school and at home.
Remember that overweight and obesity in children, whose incidence is growing by leaps and bounds, are primarily responsible for the Type 2 Diabetes epidemic in children and adolescents. Excess fat cells (adipocytes) in adipose tissue, especially around the waist tends to lead to Insulin Resistance among other serious health problems. Insulin resistance is a condition where there’s a certain degree of cell sensitivity loss to insulin signals, preventing glucose from entering the cells to be used as fuel. This in turn makes blood glucose (glycemia) rise, as the cells become more insulin resistant or glucose intolerant. If we don’t take the necessary measures on time, the situation will worsen and glucose levels will reach values which are considered as Type 2 Diabetes in children and adolescents.
Furthermore, excess adipocytes (fat cells) may damage the smooth functioning of the endothelial tissue, which is the layer that lines all of the body’s arteries; this damage to the endothelium decreases the amount of nitric oxide the endothelium segregates to make the arteries flexible, smooth and toned. These will become increasingly rigid, hard and sticky and in turn will facilitate the attachment of bad cholesterol (LDL) molecules which will gradually cause the formation of atherosclerotic plaques that are characteristic of a serious condition called Atherosclerosis, which can cause several cardiovascular problems.
Fortunately, overweight, obesity and diseases associated with them can be prevented and largely avoided if adequate lifestyle changes are introduced in time.
Let us all work together so we can combat Overweight, Obesity, Diabetes and all of the diseases associated with them, and thus be able to offer our children a healthier and happier future.