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School-based program lowers obesity and risk factors for type 2 diabetes in high risk youth

February 07, 2016

Healthier choices in the cafeteria, snack bars, class events, and vending machines (lower fat, higher fiber foods; more fruits and vegetables; and an emphasis on water, low-fat milk, and drinks with no added sugar) Longer, more intense periods of physical activity, defined as achieving a heart rate of at least 130 beats per minute, with a target of 150 minutes or more over a 10-day period Activities and awareness campaigns that promoted long-term healthy behaviors.

The study was conducted by researchers at the following centers:

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas University of California, Irvine University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Oregon Health and Science University, Portland Temple University, Philadelphia University of Pittsburgh Medical Center University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio George Washington University, Washington, D.C. (Coordinating Center)

About 24 million people in the United States have diabetes. It is the main cause of kidney failure, limb amputations, new onset blindness in adults and a major cause of heart disease and stroke. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the chances of developing serious damage to the eyes, nerves, heart, kidneys, and blood vessels.

Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for up to 95 percent of all diabetes cases, becomes more common with increasing age. The disease is strongly associated with obesity, inactivity, family history of diabetes, history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose metabolism, and racial or ethnic background. The prevalence of diagnosed diabetes has more than doubled in the last 30 years, due in large part to the upsurge in obesity. For more information about diabetes, visit diabetes.niddk.nih/index.htm.

More than two-thirds of U.S. adults age 20 and older are overweight or obese. Among youth 2 to 19 years old, about one-third have a BMI at or above the 85th percentile for their age. Once seen only in adults, type 2 diabetes has been rising steadily in youth. The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NIH, is examining diabetes rates in youth. According to the SEARCH Study, from 2002 to 2005

About 3,700 youth from less than one year of age to 19 years old were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes annually The rate of new type 2 diabetes cases in youth ages 10 to 19 years was 5.3 per 100,000, with higher rates in minority populations.

The NIH sponsors We Can! Ways to Enhance Children's Activity and Nutrition- a program to prevent childhood obesity that encourages parents and children to adopt healthy eating habits, increase physical activity, and reduce leisure "screen time" to prevent childhood obesity. We Can! materials, including fact sheets, brochures and curricula for adults and children, are available at wecan.nhlbi.nih or by calling toll-free 1-866-35-WECAN.

Source: NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases