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Healthier cafeteria food, more intense gym classes lower students' diabetes risk
Date:6/27/2010

Irvine, Calif. Healthier cafeteria choices, longer and more intense periods of physical activity and robust in-school education programs can lower rates of obesity and other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, according to a national study called HEALTHY.

The findings will be presented Sunday, June 27, at the American Diabetes Association's 70th Scientific Sessions event in Orlando, Fla., and will appear online and in the June 29 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

UC Irvine was among eight academic medical centers nationwide chosen to participate in the three-year effort, funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive & Kidney Diseases, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, and the American Diabetes Association.

"This is the first-ever study to show you can reduce obesity and other risks for type 2 diabetes in kids and do it in schools with at-risk, high-ethnic-minority populations," said pediatrics professor Dr. Dan M. Cooper, UCI's principal investigator for HEALTHY. "It emphasizes that schools can have a tremendous positive impact on a child's health."

Because type 2 diabetes disproportionately affects minorities and low-income people, the study was conducted in U.S. schools with high enrollments of minority children 54 percent Latino and 18 percent African American, on average and kids from low-income families. UCI partnered with middle schools in the Long Beach Unified School District: Bancroft, DeMille, Hoover, Hughes, Marshall and Stephens.

Nationwide, 4,603 students in 42 middle schools were tracked from the beginning of sixth grade through the completion of eighth grade. Half the schools were randomly chosen to implement the study's "intervention" program of longer gym classes, more nutritious food choices, classroom education units and other schoolwide activities encouraging healthy behaviors.

The "comparison" schools got no specific intervention but did rece
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Contact: Tom Vasich
tmvasich@uci.edu
949-824-6455
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

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