Overweight and Diabetes in Children: STOPP-T2D study
At the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in 2004, they presented the results the study STOPP-T2D or “Studies to Treat or Prevent Pediatric Type 2 Diabetes”.
This study was conducted by the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology of the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, in which 1,700 young people between the ages of 13 and 14 from various schools in California, Texas and North Carolina participated. 52% of the participants in this study were Hispanic, 23% African American, 15% White Americans and 10% of other ethnic groups.
In this study, the participants were asked to go to their schools on the following day without having eaten, and their blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol and other lipids levels were checked, as well as their weight, height and blood pressure. The results were alarming, since 49.3% were overweight or obese and 40.2% had prediabetes, and even worse, there were some cases of Diabetes, Hyperinsulinemia, Hypertension and high Cholesterol diagnosed in this study.
Prediabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as Diabetes (between 101-115 mg/dl when fasting).
Another study presented at the 63rd Annual Scientific Assembly of the ADA, shows how in most cases, overweight and obesity go unnoticed and aren’t seen by the public as a public health problem. This study done in England, states how in most cases parents of children who are overweight or obese see it as “normal” or “more or less normal”, even more, some parents with children who have an ideal weight visit the doctor to ask for help, because they think their children are underweight or not eating enough.
The study STOPP-T2D is aimed at preventing overweight and obesity as major risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes in children and adolescents, and is to be held in 7 pilot centers in the US. They have planned to involve schools, especially grades sixth through eighth (Middle Schools), where children from 11 to 14 attend. The idea is to provide greater information and nutritional education to all students, change the school menu to offer healthier meals and also to promote the need for increased physical activity and sports, both at school and at home.
Fortunately, overweight, obesity and their associated diseases are preventable and can be largely avoided if adequate lifestyle changes are introduced in time.
We should all work together so we can fight Overweight, Obesity, Diabetes, as well as all the diseases associated with them, to be able to offer our children a healthier and happier future.