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Issue 128 Item 15 Family History is a Better Way to Screen For Type 2 Diabetes i

May 6, 2002

Focusing on children who are obese or who have a family history of the disease appears to be a better way to identify kids at risk. Testing adolescents across the board for type 2 diabetes may not offer much benefit, study findings indicate.

Health experts are concerned that more cases of type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes are being diagnosed in children and adolescents, largely due to rising rates of obesity in this age group. This type of diabetes was previously called adult-onset diabetes because it was rare in children.

In the current study, lead investigator Dr. Wendy J. Brickman of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and colleagues measured blood glucose levels in a group of 255 high school students after they ate a meal. The group hoped to learn if general population screening would be an effective way to identify kids at risk of type 2 diabetes.

None of the children had high blood glucose levels, not even the obese kids.

However, Brickman noted that the students who had glucose levels in the higher range of what is still considered normal tended to be overweight or have a parent or sibling with diabetes.

"The findings speak against population screening of adolescents and children for type 2 diabetes," she added. "Limiting screening to high-risk individuals may better improve efficacy and feasibility." Diabetes Care, Oct 2002