Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% to 95% of all cases of diabetes, but before people develop type 2 diabetes, they usually go through a stage called "prediabetes." A person with prediabetes may have impaired fasting glucose (IFG), which means that the blood sugar levels after not eating for many hours are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
Medical experts know that type 2 diabetes rates have been increasing in teens, but until now it wasn't clear how many teens have IFG levels. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases studied how many teens showed signs of prediabetes and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
In a national nutritional study conducted between 1999 and 2000, 915 12- to 19-year-olds underwent glucose testing to determine the amount of sugar in their blood after they fasted for 8 to 24 hours. They also had blood tests to measure hemoglobin A1c and fasting insulin levels - these two tests can also help determine a person's ability to control the amount of sugar in the blood. The teens had their cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure measured because abnormal levels of these markers can point to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Seven percent of U.S. teens had IFG. Boys had a higher rate than girls, and Mexican Americans and whites had higher rates of IFG than blacks. Almost 18% of overweight teens had IFG, compared with only 5% of normal-weight teens.
Compared with teens with normal fasting glucose levels, teens with IFG&nb had higher hemoglobin A1c, fasting insulin, cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood pressure measurements, which indicates a higher risk for developing problems with the heart and blood vessels.
What This Means to You: One in six teens has IFG, putting them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Because overweight teens are more likely to develop IFG, and being overweight is linked to the development of type 2 diabetes and other health problems, they should try to reach a healthy weight.
Eating healthy foods in proper portion sizes and getting regular exercise may help some kids decrease their risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. If you have questions about your child's weight, talk to your child's doctor, who may recommend that you talk to a registered dietitian.
Source: Desmond E. Williams, MD; Betsy L. Cadwell, MSPH; Yiling J. Cheng, PhD; Catherine C. Cowie, PhD; Edward W. Gregg, PhD; Linda S. Geiss, MA; Michael M. Engelgau, MD; K.M. Venkat Narayan, MD; Giuseppina Imperatore, MD; Pediatrics, November 2005.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: December 2005