New Study Seeks to Lower Diabetes Risk in Youth
As students around the country head back to class for the new school year, hundreds of sixth graders will find themselves taking part in a study sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Schmalfeldt: As students around the country head back to class for the new school year, hundreds of sixth graders will find themselves taking part in a study sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. It's called the HEALTHY study, and it will determine if changes in school food services and physical education classes along with activities that encourage healthy behaviors will lower risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Dr. Gary Foster of Temple University is the study chair. He said 42 middle schools will take part in the two-and-a-half year study.
Foster: Half the schools will remain as they are. The other half will get a combination of interventions. One will focus on the total food service environment, so that's everything from foods that are served in the cafeteria to fund-raising, to what's served at sporting events, et cetera. But clearly the focus is going to be in the school cafeteria. The other focus will be on increasing both the quantity and the quality of physical education. We're going to do activities that engage more of the kids in moderate to vigorous physical activities. So, for example, instead of having 18 kids watching two kids pass a ball or shoot a basket, we're going to get kids involved more in duos or trios so that all the kids can be more active. And the bottom line is really to do PE in a different way than it's typically done. The third component - education that's done in a fun way through charades or through word searches or in the classroom. It's only 15 to 30 minutes once a week and it will be done during a home room period or its equivalent so it won't take away from any academic instruction, but it will help kids build a fund of knowledge about why it's important to drink water rather than sugar-added beverages, why it's important to be active rather than zoning out in front of the TV.
Schmalfeldt After two-and-a-half years, the students will be tested for diabetes risk factors, including blood levels of glucose, insulin and lipids. They'll also be measured for fitness level, blood pressure, height, weight and waist circumference. Once only seen in adults, type 2 diabetes has been rising steadily in youth. Results from the study are expected in 2009. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Dr. Gary Foster