Obese children at risk for diabetes and heart disease

June 17, 2008 in Diabetes & Diabetes Prevention, Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News

Obese children at risk for diabetes and heart disease

In Canada, one in four obese children have pre-diabetes and one in ten have metabolic syndrome that increases their risk for heart disease, say researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

In this study, 172 obese children between the ages five and 17 had their blood sugar levels measured using the oral glucose tolerance test.

The oral glucose tolerance test involves consuming of a beverage containing a set amount of sugar after fasting for 12 hours. The subsequent rise in blood sugar is measured using a simple blood test.

Among the children who took the oral glucose tolerance test, 25 percent met the criteria for pre-diabetes.  Pre-diabetes was detected in children as young as five.

Thirteen percent of the children tested were found to have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of heart disease risk factors that include high blood pressure, abdominal obesity and high blood cholesterol.

A child with metabolic syndrome has a fourteen-fold increase in the likelihood of suffering a heart attack in their 30s or 40s, says the study author.

Nutrition researchers cite over consumption of high fat, high sodium fast food and physical inactivity as reasons for this growing problem of children with risk factors for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  

Nutrition strategies for weight management in children include packing them a healthy lunch and snacks for school, and giving them lower fat milk instead of soft drinks. 

For more tips on how to raise a healthy eater, check out The Good Food Cookbook for Families, our June 2007 cookbook review.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.