JAMA Studies Examine Chronic Disease, Diabetes, Obesity Among Children
The current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association focuses on children and includes studies on chronic disease, diabetes and obesity. The following summarizes news coverage of the studies highlighting findings about minority children.
- Chronic disease: The number of U.S. youth with chronic diseases has quadrupled since the time when their parents were children, according to a commentary piece in JAMA, Bloomberg News reports. Obesity has increased nearly fourfold in the last three decades, while asthma rates have doubled since the 1980s, according to the commentary (Zimm, Bloomberg News, 6/26). While chronic disease rates increased for all children, the commentary notes that black, Hispanic and American Indian youth are disproportionately affected by obesity and asthma (Perrin et al., JAMA, 6/27). An extract of the commentary is available online.
- Diabetes: Diabetes: According to a study in JAMA, rates of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are rising among children, USA Today reports. The study looked at 2,435 youths younger than age 20 who were newly diagnosed with diabetes in 2002 and 2003. The study said that the rate of type 1 diabetes has increased 40% to 60% for white children and 20% to 40% for black and Hispanic children over previous estimates (Manning, USA Today, 6/27). Type 2 diabetes "is still relatively infrequent; however, the highest rates were observed among adolescent minority populations," the study said (Writing Group for the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study Group, JAMA, 6/27). Lead study author Dana Dabelea of the University of Colorado-Denver said, "We found overall rates of type 2 diabetes in kids are relatively low. But 15 years ago, there was no type 2 diabetes in kids. ... In ethnic groups such as American Indians, it is a huge problem" (Steenhuysen, Reuters, 6/26). An abstract of the study is available online.
- Obesity: Children who participated in a weight-loss program involving their parents controlled their weight better than children receiving traditional weight-loss counseling at a clinic, according to another JAMA study (Bloomberg News, 6/26). The study examined the Yale Bright Bodies Weight Management Program, which was designed specifically for minority children living in urban areas and offers family based lifestyle interventions. Researchers examined 209 overweight children from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and randomly assigned the children to the Yale Pediatric Obesity Clinic or the Bright Bodies program. Those in the control group received traditional counseling, while those in the Bright Bodies program participated in exercise, nutrition and behavior modification (Savoye et al., JAMA, 6/27). After one year, children in the family based program maintained their weight and reduced their risk of diabetes, while children in the traditional counseling group had gained weight and showed signs of increased diabetes risk, the study said (Bloomberg News, 6/26). An abstract of the study is available online.