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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Millions of US Adolescents Have Impaired Glucose Levels

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) May 01 - Findings from a new study suggest that about 2.8 million adolescents in the US may have impaired fasting glucose levels and another 39,000 have overt type 2 diabetes.

"These estimates have important implications for public health because of the high rate of conversion from impaired fasting glucose level to type 2 diabetes in adults and the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in individuals with type 2 diabetes," study author Dr. Glen E. Duncan, from the University of Washington in Seattle, comments.

The results, which appear in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine for May, are based on an analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for 1999 through 2002.

The study focused on 4370 adolescents with self-reported diabetes and 1496 teens who denied having the disease, but had undergone fasting blood glucose testing. Self-reported diabetics who used insulin were classified as type 1 diabetics, while all others were assumed to have type 2 disease. Among the teens without self-reported diabetes, a fasting blood glucose level of 100 mg/dL or higher indicated an impaired level.

The overall prevalence of diabetes among teens in NHANES was 0.5%. Of these individuals, 71% had type 1 diabetes and 29% had type 2 disease. Eleven percent of teens who reported no diabetes had impaired fasting glucose levels.

Extrapolating the current data to the entire US population suggests that 39,005 teens have type 2 diabetes and 2,769,736 have impaired fasting glucose levels.

"It is to be hoped that the recognition of the public health time bomb reflected in the report by Duncan will lead to a pervasive societal effort to prevent obesity, a daunting task of such magnitude that enormous community and governmental commitments will be required," Dr. Arlan L. Rosenbloom, from the Children's Medical Services Center in Gainesville, Florida, comments in a related editorial.

Reuters Health Information 2006. © 2006 Reuters Ltd.
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