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LSUHSC researchers first to document early signs for diabetes in kids as young as 7
Date:6/8/2009

dentified in children prior to puberty.

The LSUHSC researchers found that the child's current fat weight is the strongest predictor for poor insulin sensitivity which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. LDL (bad cholesterol) was also strongly associated with insulin sensitivity in the prediction model. Previously unidentified Metabolic Syndrome markers discovered by Dr. Sothern's team include:

  • Fat in the liver cells and fat in the skeletal (leg) muscle cells also predict poor insulin sensitivity and high insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) along with an impaired fat burning ability in the muscles.
  • These relationships were only found after the researchers considered the child's current fat weight, so the strongest predictor is whether or not these young children are currently overweight or obese.
  • The fat in the skeletal muscle became less important after Dr. Sothern's team considered the mother's weight prior to and during pregnancy, whether the child was breast-fed, and the current physical activity level of these young children.

"This means that if the mother has a healthy weight gain during pregnancy and the child is breast-fed and physically active, the fat may not accumulate in the skeletal muscle and/or liver and the child may not experience an impaired fat burning ability in the muscle. All of these factors are significantly associated with poor insulin sensitivity that may eventually lead to type 2 diabetes in adolescence or young adulthood. We hope to conduct future prospective studies in this cohort of healthy children to confirm this finding," notes Dr. Melinda Sothern, LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans Professor of Public Health and study leader.

Collectively, fat oxidation (how well the body is able to utilize fat as a fuel), blood pressure, and lipids (HDL and LDL) were identified as the best physiologic predictors of insulin sensitivity.

Arlette Soros, MD, an LSUHSC Pediatrics fellow
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Contact: Leslie Capo
lcapo@lsuhsc.edu
504-452-9166
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Source:Eurekalert

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