Presence of Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors in Children
Leslie K. Scott
This study aimed to identify the prevalence of type 2 diabetes risk factors among elementary school-age children and determine eligibility for type 2 diabetes screening. A cross-sectional review of 971 school-based health clinic medical records of children in grades 1 through 5 was conducted. Relationships of risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus were examined to determine the prevalence of these risk factors in elementary school-age children. Screening guidelines for type 2 diabetes were applied to determine the prevalence of students meeting criteria for further screening. Almost 40% of the students had a body mass index (BMI) above the 85th percentile for age and gender. Forty-nine percent of the students belonged to a high-risk ethnic group. Acanthosis nigricans, an indicator of insulin resistance, was identified in nearly 27% of the student records. Forty-eight percent of the records identified the student as having a family history of diabetes. Significant correlations were found between the presence of acanthosis nigricans, high BMI, and a family history of diabetes. According to screening guidelines for type 2 diabetes in children, 39.3% of the elementary school children 10 years of age and older were eligible for type 2 diabetes screening. Almost 40% of children younger than 10 years of age had risk factors associated with screening criteria. These findings support the need for early detection of high-risk children and intervention strategies to decrease modifiable risk factors in elementary school-age children. The school nurse is in a pivotal role of identifying such at-risk students during annual, routine health screening practices.